CNPS10X Extreme: Zalman's Extreme Makeover

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MikeC
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CNPS10X Extreme: Zalman's Extreme Makeover

Post by MikeC » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:17 am

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Redzo
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Post by Redzo » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:40 am

Good review but when it comes to quiet cooling equipment I really don't think of Zalman as solution any more. Their stuff last couple of years has been way after other companies. Scythe for instance.

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Post by swivelguy2 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:53 am

- Heavier than a Ninja or HR-01
- More expensive than a Ninja or HR-01 plus a Nexus 120mm fan
- Worse cooling than a Ninja 2 or HR-01

I think this thing is obsolete before it even rolls off the production line.

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Post by MikeC » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:42 am

swivelguy2 wrote:- Heavier than a Ninja or HR-01
- More expensive than a Ninja or HR-01 plus a Nexus 120mm fan
- Worse cooling than a Ninja 2 or HR-01

I think this thing is obsolete before it even rolls off the production line.
Obsolete is a very strong word, a serious overstatement here. You also bend the data to suit your argument - the Ninja 2 is better at only extreme low airflow... and worse by 3C at 16 dBA -- which is very quiet!

One thing not fully covered in the review is that with a hotter CPU (read: i7), the tighter fin spacing and larger fin area would most likely give it an advantage at say 20 dBA/1m w/ the stock fan -- against many of the competitors that do better with very low airflow. It is a model made for the current range of "performance" CPUs -- including the i7s.

It's definitely not the best for super quiet cooling with a modest CPU in the kind of systems hardcore SPCRs aspire to, but for the general enthusiast PC market, it's a very good product... especially as price drops in the next few weeks, as it always does after initial release.
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Post by ACook » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:35 am

MikeC wrote:One thing not fully covered in the review is that with a hotter CPU (read: i7), the tighter fin spacing and larger fin area would most likely give it an advantage at say 20 dBA/1m w/ the stock fan -- against many of the competitors that do better with very low airflow. It is a model made for the current range of "performance" CPUs -- including the i7s.

It's definitely not the best for super quiet cooling with a modest CPU in the kind of systems hardcore SPCRs aspire to, but for the general enthusiast PC market, it's a very good product... especially as price drops in the next few weeks, as it always does after initial release.
when will you start using the i7 platform to test, and could that include the stock heatsink?
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Post by LodeHacker » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:12 am

ZALMAN still kickin butt, I like it :D

Mike, is it possible to take off that plastic toy looking fan controller? I'm looking to swap the fan anyway, but is that plastic thing a necessity?
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Post by lodestar » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:27 am

I think you missed this bit from the review

"...PWM Mate can be installed on the case’s exterior by connecting with the included Extension Cable..."

You just slide the controller out of the cooler and mount it on the case using the double sided sticky pad provided.

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Post by ATWindsor » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:12 pm

MikeC wrote:
swivelguy2 wrote:- Heavier than a Ninja or HR-01
- More expensive than a Ninja or HR-01 plus a Nexus 120mm fan
- Worse cooling than a Ninja 2 or HR-01

I think this thing is obsolete before it even rolls off the production line.
Obsolete is a very strong word, a serious overstatement here. You also bend the data to suit your argument - the Ninja 2 is better at only extreme low airflow... and worse by 3C at 16 dBA -- which is very quiet!

One thing not fully covered in the review is that with a hotter CPU (read: i7), the tighter fin spacing and larger fin area would most likely give it an advantage at say 20 dBA/1m w/ the stock fan -- against many of the competitors that do better with very low airflow. It is a model made for the current range of "performance" CPUs -- including the i7s.

It's definitely not the best for super quiet cooling with a modest CPU in the kind of systems hardcore SPCRs aspire to, but for the general enthusiast PC market, it's a very good product... especially as price drops in the next few weeks, as it always does after initial release.
The most selled i7, the 920, uses around the same power as the tested CPU in D0-revision, doesn't it?

AtW

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Post by MikeC » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:02 pm

ATWindsor wrote:The most selled i7, the 920, uses around the same power as the tested CPU in D0-revision, doesn't it?
AFAIK, there are 2 variants of the i7-920, both rated for 130W TDP. My hands on experience with two samples of the i7-920 convinces me that it does indeed pull something like 130W.

Our Pentium D950, which we'd always thought was a 130W TDP unit, turns out to be a 95W part, and at full load, it pulls at most ~70W DC (after VRM losses in the motherboard). It's closer to 65W TDP processors than 95W TDP ones, afaik. This is explained in an editor's note at the bottom of http://www.silentpcreview.com/article956-page4.html
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Post by K.Murx » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:15 pm

MikeC wrote:
ATWindsor wrote: (...) My hands on experience with two samples of the i7-920 convinces me that it does indeed pull something like 130W.

Our Pentium D950, which we'd always thought was a 130W TDP unit, turns out to be a 95W part, and at full load, it pulls at most ~70W DC (...)
That would explain this report where "Goldy" was unable to cool his/her 920 with a HR-01+ and a "typical" SPCR-setup (Nexus fans at 700 RPM).

As 95W+ CPUs are getting very commonplace by now this is a rather important discrepancy - maybe you should add a corresponding remark to the top of the "recommended heatsinks" page and/or the general "cooling" section?

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Post by ATWindsor » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:24 pm

MikeC wrote:
ATWindsor wrote:The most selled i7, the 920, uses around the same power as the tested CPU in D0-revision, doesn't it?
AFAIK, there are 2 variants of the i7-920, both rated for 130W TDP. My hands on experience with two samples of the i7-920 convinces me that it does indeed pull something like 130W.

Our Pentium D950, which we'd always thought was a 130W TDP unit, turns out to be a 95W part, and at full load, it pulls at most ~70W DC (after VRM losses in the motherboard). It's closer to 65W TDP processors than 95W TDP ones, afaik. This is explained in an editor's note at the bottom of http://www.silentpcreview.com/article956-page4.html
Yeah, but all i7s are rated at a TDP of 130 Watts, and its unlikely that the 920 uses as much power as the 950. Wich leads me to belive that the 920 uses less than 130 Watt.

If you see this article on xbit labs

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... 5xe_4.html

You can see that the diffrence beteen load and idle on C0-stepping is around 90 (80 when you factor in PSU efficiency) watts, i would guess idle usage is 10-20 Watts? So maybe around 100 Watts at load? THe D0-stepping seems to use 10-15 W less than that again. Lets say 90 Watts. Of course this is hardly solid proof, but it does give an indication. At the very least it seems strange that the lowest CPU in the series should be right up to the TDP-limit.

AtW

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:05 am

ATWindsor wrote:Yeah, but all i7s are rated at a TDP of 130 Watts, and its unlikely that the 920 uses as much power as the 950. Wich leads me to belive that the 920 uses less than 130 Watt.
Fair enough, tho as you admit, exactly how much less than 130W is not clear. In any case, my counterpoint to your first point remains -- our Pentium D 950 pulls under 70W, much less than any current i7.

And getting back to the reason for this bit of digression from the main topic, the new Zalman probably cools better than the HR01 or Ninja 2 on an i7 (or some other high power PSU) when all the heatsinks are equipped with fans spinning at say 1500rpm or higher.
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Post by lodestar » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:41 am

Thanks for the excellent review, and I think that the CNPS10X Extreme is an impressive piece of kit. And here in the UK the cheapest price I can find is about the same as the Noctua NH-C12P so for what it is it is reasonably priced.

There is a comment earlier in the thread about the CNPS10X fan controller being a toy. Well I don't think so. Three automatic modes, and a completely manual mode with the ability to change settings from outside the case if required is hardly toy-like.

What I would say to people planning to use this on Core i7 systems is not to immediately swap out the fan for a fixed speed model but to stick with the PWM fan. Leave it on auto, and note what revs it is reaching under load, and load temperatures. You can also play around with the auto settings on the controller, or switch to manual if you prefer but care is needed - start at high settings, work slowly down and keep an eagle eye on system and CPU temperatures.

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Post by Cistron » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:57 am

ATWindsor wrote:Yeah, but all i7s are rated at a TDP of 130 Watts, and its unlikely that the 920 uses as much power as the 950. Wich leads me to belive that the 920 uses less than 130 Watt.
Wasn't the turbo-boost function introduced to utilise the full thermal specification envelope?

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Post by ATWindsor » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:31 am

Cistron wrote:
ATWindsor wrote:Yeah, but all i7s are rated at a TDP of 130 Watts, and its unlikely that the 920 uses as much power as the 950. Wich leads me to belive that the 920 uses less than 130 Watt.
Wasn't the turbo-boost function introduced to utilise the full thermal specification envelope?
I guess, but thats not really anything that causes cooling-problems, as it won't boost unless temps are low enough.

AtW

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Post by lodestar » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:55 am

ATWindsor wrote:Yeah, but all i7s are rated at a TDP of 130 Watts, and its unlikely that the 920 uses as much power as the 950. Wich leads me to belive that the 920 uses less than 130 Watt.

...i would guess idle usage is 10-20 Watts? So maybe around 100 Watts at load?
Intel don't say all i7s are rated at 130watt TDP; they say "... that (the Core i7) uses up to 130 W thermal design power (TDP)...". And bear in mind that TDP does not actually mean maximum power consumption.

And idling at 10-20 watts? How do you know how much of system power consumption at idle is actually going to the CPU. One source on the net reckons the Core i7 memory controller uses 40 watts.

So maybe around 100 Watts at load? Well a difference in system power between 150w (idling) and 270w (loaded) in a 920 system at stock clocks points to 120w over the idle consumption. And since the idle consumption is probably at least 60w, this might well amount to at least 180w. Which ties in with the 920 cooling issues that are being experienced when low-speed fixed fans are used rather than a PWM like the one in the Zalman CNPS10X Extreme.

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Post by ATWindsor » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:06 am

lodestar wrote:
ATWindsor wrote:Yeah, but all i7s are rated at a TDP of 130 Watts, and its unlikely that the 920 uses as much power as the 950. Wich leads me to belive that the 920 uses less than 130 Watt.

...i would guess idle usage is 10-20 Watts? So maybe around 100 Watts at load?
Intel don't say all i7s are rated at 130watt TDP; they say "... that (the Core i7) uses up to 130 W thermal design power (TDP)...". And bear in mind that TDP does not actually mean maximum power consumption.

And idling at 10-20 watts? How do you know how much of system power consumption at idle is actually going to the CPU. One source on the net reckons the Core i7 memory controller uses 40 watts.

So maybe around 100 Watts at load? Well a difference in system power between 150w (idling) and 270w (loaded) in a 920 system at stock clocks points to 120w over the idle consumption. And since the idle consumption is probably at least 60w, this might well amount to at least 180w. Which ties in with the 920 cooling issues that are being experienced when low-speed fixed fans are used rather than a PWM like the one in the Zalman CNPS10X Extreme.
Whos has measured a diffrence of 120 Watts from idle to load on an 920? I also find it higly unlikely that the idle consumptions is at least 60 watts. Thats an extremly high figure.

AtW

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:21 am

ATWindsor wrote:Whos has measured a diffrence of 120 Watts from idle to load on an 920? I also find it higly unlikely that the idle consumptions is at least 60 watts. Thats an extremly high figure.
Going back to xbitlabs, they have. From the charts on the linked page:

i7-920 (C0) -- idle 171W, load 306W
i7-965 (C0) -- idle 171W, load 326W
i7-975 (D0) -- idle 171W, load 319W
xbitlabs wrote:CPUs with D0 processor stepping consume about 10W less than the CPUs with older stepping working at the same frequency. And this is very good for Core i7 that can’t boast being energy-efficient at all. However, it doesn’t change the total score and the verdict remains the same: LGA1366 platform remains one of the most “power-inefficientâ€
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Post by ATWindsor » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:36 am

Heh, this is getting more an more confusing :)

I found this on xbitlabs yet again, here the seem to have done pretty advanced power measurements, and they qoute CPU power for the 920 to be 20 W idle and 120 W load

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cooler ... html#sect0

AtW

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Post by MikeC » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:44 am

ATWindsor wrote:Heh, this is getting more an more confusing :)

I found this on xbitlabs yet again, here the seem to have done pretty advanced power measurements, and they qoute CPU power for the 920 to be 20 W idle and 120 W load

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cooler ... html#sect0

AtW
Note that the above is in DC power drawn by the CPU. That would be on a C0 stepping 920. The difference between min & max power jibes roughly with their other testing, which was 135W AC. Losses due to VRM and PSU efficiency could add up to 35W.
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Post by danimal » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:28 pm

swivelguy2 wrote:- Heavier than a Ninja or HR-01
- More expensive than a Ninja or HR-01 plus a Nexus 120mm fan
- Worse cooling than a Ninja 2 or HR-01

I think this thing is obsolete before it even rolls off the production line.
i tend to agree with that statement in general, but i'll substantiate your claim with the mugen 2, instead of the coolers that you listed there... nothing on the market today can touch the mugen 2 when it comes to bang for the buck, look at the i7 test results from xbit labs:

" Among the highly efficient coolers from a dense group following the leader we should single out Scythe Mugen 2. This cooler not just outperforms its direct rivals if we consider the total score from all the tests, but it is also the cheapest of all! Mugen 2 comes bundled with a high-performance fan that is inaudible in quiet mode and produces moderate noise under high CPU workload."
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cooler ... html#sect0

i'm sure that the zalman is a nice cooler, but why would you want to buy it over the mugen 2?? it's obsolete simply because the overall performance level of these new coolers has risen so much in the last year or so.

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Post by Shamgar » Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:29 am

A kilo of Zalman on my CPU? No thanks :). I'll be staying with Xigmatek for now: top performance for the dollar, fairly light, affordable.

Mugen 2 looks to be a top performer, but price is quite high in my locality, and it's another one of those heavyweights that I try to avoid.

Surely someone can come up with an effective and affordable cooling technology that doesn't wholly rely on mass and/or massive airflow :(.

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Post by danimal » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:44 am

zalman cnps10x: 920grams
mugen 2: 870grams
Noctua NH-U12P: 770grams
xigmatek s1283v dark knight: 660grams

good point about the weight of the cooler... per the xbit lab review, noctua had to put two fans on their i7 cooler to make it perform as well as the mugen2, which only has one fan... here in the states, you can buy a couple of mugen 2's for the same price as one i7 noctua.

the dark knight is easier to install than the mugen 2, especially when it comes to dealing with tall ram sticks on certain motherboards... if your board is small, and you have ram cooling that is tall, you might only be able to use one pair of ram sticks.

serious overclockers know that you shouldn't be using 4 sticks of ram anyway, but it could be a significant issue for a lot of people.

i looked hard at the dark knight, but i ended up getting the mugen 2 because: 1)its cheaper 2)it cools better 3)it's a *lot* quieter, 51db vs 68db(!!)
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/2736/s ... ndex6.html

xigmatek coolers in general are not the best choice for silent computing.

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Post by Vibrator » Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:56 pm

MikeC wrote:
swivelguy2 wrote:- Heavier than a Ninja or HR-01
- More expensive than a Ninja or HR-01 plus a Nexus 120mm fan
- Worse cooling than a Ninja 2 or HR-01

I think this thing is obsolete before it even rolls off the production line.
Obsolete is a very strong word, a serious overstatement here. You also bend the data to suit your argument - the Ninja 2 is better at only extreme low airflow... and worse by 3C at 16 dBA -- which is very quiet!

One thing not fully covered in the review is that with a hotter CPU (read: i7), the tighter fin spacing and larger fin area would most likely give it an advantage at say 20 dBA/1m w/ the stock fan -- against many of the competitors that do better with very low airflow. It is a model made for the current range of "performance" CPUs -- including the i7s.

It's definitely not the best for super quiet cooling with a modest CPU in the kind of systems hardcore SPCRs aspire to, but for the general enthusiast PC market, it's a very good product... especially as price drops in the next few weeks, as it always does after initial release.
But the Ninja 2 isn't $80 nor does it require some modding to change the fan.

For higher heat loads, there's always the Mugen 2, HR-01 Plus, and TRUE right? An HR-01 Plus can be had for about $50 and turns out to be around $60 with a fan. Still $20 cheaper than the Zalman.

Also about the price "dropping", I haven't seen Zalman products drop much in price in the past. CNPS9900's still cost more than TRUE's and CNPS8700's are still like $50.

I don't know about you but I'm fairly disappointed here. The cooler has great aesthetics but that's about it. :/

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Post by Shamgar » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:20 am

danimal wrote:i looked hard at the dark knight, but i ended up getting the mugen 2 because: 1)its cheaper 2)it cools better 3)it's a *lot* quieter, 51db vs 68db(!!)
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/2736/s ... ndex6.html

xigmatek coolers in general are not the best choice for silent computing.
When using the stock Xigmatek rebranded fans, they aren't particularly quiet. When a quieter fan is used, it does the job as good as any other performance heatsink for the price.

The Mugen 2 does look interesting. They finally included a backplate mounting kit as standard, which I think all manufacturers should do, instead of forcing users to pay extra.

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