[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The CNPS11X Performa is another member of the CNPS11X family, like the CNPS11X Extreme that we already tested. Similar to its brother, it has a V-shaped heatsink and a 120 mm fan, but it has only four heatpipes. Let’s test it and discover which one performs better.

Comparing the CNPS11X Extreme and the CNPS11X Performa, they look pretty much alike at first sight. The only features they actually share are the shape of the heatsink and the size of the fan; while the Extreme has five heatpipes, the Performa has only four. The base is also different, as the Extreme has a nickel-plated base, and the Performa has direct-touch heatpipes. The fan is dissimilar, too.

The box of the CNPS11X Performa is presented in Figure 1.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the cooler itself, a small bag of thermal compound, a manual, and installation hardware.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 2: Accessories

Figure 3 displays the Zalman CNPS11X Performa.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 3: The CNPS11X Performa

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

[nextpage title=”The CNPS11X Performa”]

Figure 4 illustrates the front of the heatsink, where you can see the black, simple 120 mm fan.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 4: Front view

Figure 5 reveals the side of the cooler, where the four heatpipes are exposed.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 5: Side view

The rear of the heatsink is shown in Figure 6.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 6: Rear view

In Figure 7, you can see the top of the heatsink, which is closed by a larger fin. Here is also a clear view of the position of the wire fan holders.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 7: Top view

[nextpage title=”The CNPS11X Performa (Cont’d)”]

The base of the cooler is seen in Figure 8. The heatpipes keep direct contact to the processor.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 8: Base

In Figure 9, you can see the CNPS11X Performa without the fan. Notice that the bottom of the heatsink is closed with a larger fin, but it has folds that direct part of the airflow to the voltage regulator of the motherboard.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 9: Fan removed

Figure 10 shows the PWM fan that comes with the CNPS11X Performa.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 10: Fan

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

The first step in the installation process of the CNPS11X Performa is to screw two metal clips to the base of the cooler. Figure 11 shows the clips to be used with Intel CPUs in place.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 11: Clips installed

Figure 12 reveals the backplate used to install the cooler. You must install the nuts at the backplate in the holes matching the socket used by your CPU.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 12: Backplate

Locate the backplate at the solder side of the motherboard, put the cooler over the CPU, and hold it in place using four screws, as shown in Figure 13.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 13: Heatsink installed

The last step is to install the fan, as you can see in Figure 14.

Zalman CNPS11X PerformaFigure 14: Fan installed

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We tested the cooler with a Core i7-860 CPU (quad-core, 2.8 GHz), which is a socket LGA1156 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base clock and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard core voltage (Vcore), which was the maximum stable overclock we could make with the stock cooler. Keep in mind that we could have raised the CPU clock more, but to include the stock cooler in our comparison, we needed to use this moderate overclock.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all threads, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to the Intel stock cooler with a copper base (includ
ed with the CPU), as well as with other coolers. Note that in the past, we tested coolers with a socket LGA775 CPU, and we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read in the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that accompanies it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings. During the tests, the left panel of the case was open.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4″ (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the case and video board cooler fans so they wouldn’t interfere with the results. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which isn’t the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at idle and at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the minimum speed on the idle test and at full speed on the full load test.

 

Idle Processor

Processor at Full Load

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp.
Intel stock (socket LGA1156) 14 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 46 °C 54 dBA 2500 rpm 90 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 G1 14 °C 47 dBA 2050 rpm 33 °C 56 dBA 2900 rpm 62 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 14 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 27 °C 53 dBA 1950 rpm 51 °C
Thermaltake Silent 1156 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 49 dBA 1750 rpm 69 °C
Noctua NH-D14 14 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 27 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 53 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Performa 14 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 28 °C 52 dBA 1950 rpm 54 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems 14 °C 40 dBA 750 rpm 27 °C 60 dBA 2550 rpm 50 °C
Thermaltake Frio 14 °C 46 dBA 1450 rpm 27 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 50 °C
Prolimatech Samuel 17 14 °C 40 dBA 750 rpm 40 °C 60 dBA 2550 rpm 63 °C
Zalman CNPS8000A 18 °C 43 dBA 1400 rpm 39 °C 54 dBA 2500 rpm 70 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse II 14 °C 55 dBA 2200 rpm 28 °C 55 dBA 2200 rpm 53 °C
Scythe Ninja3 17 °C 39 dBA 700 rpm 32 °C 55 dBA 1800 rpm 57 °C
Corsair A50 18 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 33 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 60 °C
Thermaltake Jing 18 °C 44 dBA 850 rpm 34 °C 49 dBA 1300 rpm 60 °C
GlacialTech Alaska 18 °C 43 dBA 1150 rpm 36 °C 51 dBA 1600 rpm 60 °C
Deepcool Gamer Storm 18 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 35 °C 48 dBA 1600 rpm 62 °C
Corsair A70 26 °C 56 dBA 1900 rpm 40 °C 56 dBA 1900 rpm 65 °C
Deepcool Ice Blade Pro 23 °C 45 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 52 dBA 1500 rpm 64 °C
AC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 23 °C 47 dBA 1750 rpm 44 °C 51 dBA 2100 rpm 77 °C
Corsair H70 27 °C 60 dBA 1900 rpm 37 °C 60 dBA 1900 rpm 61 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max 27 °C 55 dBA 1600 rpm 38 °C 58 dBA 1750 rpm 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP 25 °C 45 dBA 1700 rpm 51 °C 49 dBA 1950 rpm 91 °C
CoolIT Vantage 26 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 37 °C 60 dBA 2500 rpm 62 °C
Deepcool Ice Matrix 600 25 °C 46 dBA 1100 rpm 41 °C 53 dBA 1300 rpm 69 °C
Titan Hati 26 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 40 °C 57 dBA 2450 rpm 68 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 27 °C 49 dBA 1950 rpm 41 °C 53 dBA 2300 rpm 70 °C
Noctua NH-C14 26 °C 52 dBA 1300 rpm 37 °C 52 dBA 1300 rpm 61 °C
Intel XTS100H 26 °C 49 dBA 1200 rpm 42 °C 64 dBA 2600 rpm 68 °C
Zalman CNPS5X SZ 23 °C 52 dBA 2250 rpm 38 °C 57 dBA 2950 rpm 69 °C
Thermaltake SlimX3 21 °C 50 dBA 2700 rpm 46 °C 50 dBA 2750 rpm 99 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 101 21 °C 50 dBA 2600 rpm 38 °C 57 dBA 3300 rpm 71 °C
Antec Kühler H2O 620 19 °C 52 dBA 1400 rpm 34 °C 55 dBA 1400 rpm 58 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pr
o
20 °C 46 dBA 1100 rpm 36 °C 49 dBA 1300 rpm 62 °C
GlacialTech Siberia 22 °C 49 dBA 1400 rpm 34 °C 49 dBA 1400 rpm 61 °C
Evercool Transformer 3 18 °C 46 dBA 1800 rpm 33 °C 51 dBA 2250 rpm 65 °C
Zalman CNPS11X Extreme 20 °C 51 dBA 1850 rpm 34 °C 56 dBA 2050 rpm 61 °C
Thermaltake Frio OCK 15 °C 44 dBA 1000 rpm 27 °C 64 dBA 2200 rpm 51 °C
Prolimatech Genesis 18 °C 49 dBA 1050 rpm 30 °C 49 dBA 1050 rpm 54 °C
Arctic Cooling Freezer XTREME Rev. 2 15 °C 41 dBA 1050 rpm 32 °C 44 dBA 1400 rpm 60 °C
NZXT HAVIK 140 16 °C 48 dBA 1250 rpm 29 °C 49 dBA 1250 rpm 55 °C
Antec Kühler H2O 920 18 °C 41 dBA 650 rpm 29 °C 64 dBA 2500 rpm 49 °C
Zalman CNP7X LED 18 °C 45 dBA 1950 rpm 33 °C 48 dBA 2150 rpm 58 °C
EVGA Superclock 14 °C 43 dBA 1300 rpm 27 °C 58 dBA 2350 rpm 47 °C
Evercool Transformer 4 15 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 53 dBA 1950 rpm 52 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight 18 °C 47 dBA 1700 rpm 30 °C 53 dBA 2150 rpm 57 °C
Xigmatek Aegir 15 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 50 dBA 1950 rpm 52 °C
Cooler Master GeminII S524 16 °C 45 dBA 1300 rpm 29 °C 53 dBA 1800 rpm 58 °C
Enermax ETS-T40-TA 16 °C 40 dBA 1050 rpm 28 °C 48 dBA 1800 rpm 55 °C
Corsair H80 14 °C 42 dBA 2150 rpm 25 °C 52 dBA 2150 rpm 47 °C
Akasa Venom Voodoo 13 °C 40 dBA 1000 rpm 26 °C 48 dBA 1500 rpm 51 °C
Xigmatek Thor’s Hammer 15 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 30 °C 50 dBA 2000 rpm 55 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM 19 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 30 °C 52 dBA 1900 rpm 54 °C
Xigmatek Loki 17 °C 44 dBA 1850 rpm 34 °C 55 dBA 2750 rpm 60 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 14 °C 44 dBA 1250 rpm 26 °C 50 dBA 1750 rpm 50 °C
Xigmatek Gaia 17 °C 44 dBA 1250 rpm 32 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 61 °C
Rosewill RCX-ZAIO-92 21 °C 48 dBA 2050 rpm 37 °C 54 dBA 2600 rpm 68 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 120 16 °C 41 dBA 1000 rpm 30 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 55 °C
Corsair H100 20 °C 55 dBA 2000 rpm 29 °C 59 dBA 2000 rpm 50 °C
Zalman CNPS12X 20 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 31 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 58 °C
Thermalright Macho 23 °C 41 dBA 1100 rpm 36 ° C 44 dBA 1300 rpm 61 °C
NZXT HAVIK 120 21 °C 55 dBA 1800 rpm 37 °C 55 dBA 1800 rpm 66 °C
Zalman CNPS11X Performa 19 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 30 °C 48 dBA 1600 rpm 57 °C

In the graph below, at full load you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

Zalman CNPS11X Performa

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Zalman CNPS11X Performa CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Sockets 775, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, and FM1 processors
  • Dimensions: 5.3 x 3.1 x 6.1 inches (135 x 80 x 154 mm) (W x L x H)
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Direct-touch heatpipes
  • Heat-pipes: Four 6-mm copper heatpipes
  • Fan:120 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 1,600 rpm
  • Fan air flow: NA
  • Maximum power consumption: 2.4 W
  • Nominal noise level: 26 dBA
  • Weight: 1.0 Lb. (450 g)
  • Extra features: None
  • More information: https://www.zalman.com
  • Average price in the US: We couldn’t find this product being sold in the US

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The performance of the Zalman CNPS11X Performa is excellent for a cooler of this weight and size; it is also quiet and beautiful.

In our system, it performed better than the CNPS11X Extreme, which may sound a little strange because the Extreme is probably priced higher, but perhaps the direct touch heatpipes improved the whole design, even with one fewer heatpipe. This may also be the case because the Performa doesn’t have the installation issues that we found with the Extreme.

Because of the cooling performance with good noise level, nice look and low weight, the Zalman CNPS11X Performa receives our Silver Award.