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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The CNPS7X LED is a CPU cooler from Zalman with two heatsinks in “V” configuration, three U-shape heatpipes and a 92 mm fan. Check it out!

The portrayed cooler looks like a “little brother” of the CNPS11X Extreme, which we already reviewed, as both have twin heatsinks in “V” configuration.

The CNPS7X LED comes in a cardboard box, as you can see in Figure 1.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows what the box contains: The cooler itself, manual, installation hardware, a small bag of thermal compound, and a power adapter.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 2: Accessories

This cooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

[nextpage title=”The Zalman CNPS7X LED”]

Figure 3 reveals the front side of the cooler, where you see the 92 mm fan, which has blue LEDs.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 3: Front view

Figure 4 presents the side of the cooler.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 4: Side view

Figure 5 shows the back of the cooler. Notice that the heatsinks are connected, and the center of the rear side is closed, forcing the air to pass through the side heatsinks.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 5: Rear view

The top of the cooler is shown in Figure 6.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 6: Top view

[nextpage title=”The Zalman CNPS7X LED (Cont’d)”]

Figure 7 shows the base of the cooler. The three heatpipes keep direct contact to the CPU. The base surface is not polished enough for a mirror-like look.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 7: Base

In Figure 8, you can see the heatsink without the fan.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 8: Without the fan

The 92 mm fan is shown in Figure 9. It has a four-pin connector, which means it is compatible with PWM speed control.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 9: Fan

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

Figure 10 shows the frames used to install the CNPS7X LED. The left one fits socket LGA1366 motherboard, while the right frame is intended to be used on sockets 775, 1155, and 1156 systems. You can also see the small bag of thermal compound and a power adapter which can be used to reduce the maximum fan speed.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 10: Frames, thermal compound and power adapter

Figure 11 illustrates the frame installed on our motherboard. On AMD processors, there is no need to install a frame because the clips at the base of the cooler are hooked on the stock motherboard frame.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 11: Holding system installed

In Figure 12, you can see the cooler installed on your computer. Notice we had to install the cooler in an orientation that differs from the position we usually install the coolers we review, since in the other position, the screw that holds the cooler was blocked by the motherboard chipset heatsink.

Zalman CNPS7X LEDFigure 12: Installed in our system

[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 (included 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 oth
er noise sources, which isn’t the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

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< /td>
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 Pro 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

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 CNPS7X LED 

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Zalman CNPS7X LED CPU cooler include:

  • Application: Sockets 775, 1155, 1156, 1366, AM2, AM2+, and AM3 processors
  • Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.5 x 5.3 inches (127 x 90 x 135 mm) (W x L x H)
  • Fins: Aluminum
  • Base: Aluminum, with heatpipes directly touching the CPU
  • Heat-pipes: Three copper heat-pipes
  • Fan: 92 mm
  • Nominal fan speed: 1950 rpm
  • Fan air flow: Not informed
  • Maximum power consumption: Not informed
  • Nominal noise level: 25 dBA
  • Weight: 12.7 lbs (360 g)
  • More information: https://www.zalman.com
  • Average Price in the US*: USD 45.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Zalman successfully combined small size, low noise, and high cooling performance in the CNPS7X LED CPU cooler.

The CNPS7X LED is also easy to install, but keep in mind that the large clip at the base of the cooler can be a problem with motherboards where the chipset heatsink is too close to the CPU socket.

With high cooling performance, silence, and relatively low price tag, the Zalman CNPS7X LED receives the Hardware Secrets Silver Award.