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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Today we are going to review another CPU cooler from Zalman, CNPS9700 NT. Its design is very different from the ones we are used to see, with three 8-shaped heatpipes, nickel-plated looks and a 110-mm fan. Let’s check if its performance beats coolers based on the "tower" design.

Besides CNPS9700 NT Zalman also offers NPS9700 LED, which has as main difference the absence of the nickel-plated looks, with a plain copper color on its fins, heatpipes and base. The CNPS9500 series have a similar design, but being a little smaller, with a 92-mm fan.

CNPS9700 NT box looks nice in green shades. It is possible to see the fan and part of the heatsink from a plastic transparent window.

CNPS9700NTFigure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the cooler, a user manual, installing hardware, a gray thermal compound tube and a case sticker.

CNPS9700NTFigure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 you can have a general view of CNPS9700 NT. It does not look like any other cooler we have already reviewed. Fins, heatpipes and base are made of pure copper, but nickel-plated for a dark metal looks just like Zalman CNPS10X Extreme we reviewed some weeks ago.

CNPS9700NTFigure 3: CNPS9700 NT.

The 110-mm fan is mounted inside the heatsink, attached to the cooler base by two metallic holders.

CNPS9700NTFigure 4: Front view.

[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]

In Figure 5 we can see the shape from the heatpipes, which looks like the number eight. There are three heatpipes working as if there were six of them. The copper fins are attached to the heatpipes.

CNPS9700NTFigure 5: Rear view.

In a side view we can see how big the cooler is. We can also notice that the fan really stays inside the fins.

CNPS9700NTFigure 6: Side view.

All the tips from the heatpipes are connected to the cooler base. In Figure 7, you can see that all the parts are nickel-plated. The base top plate is the only aluminum part available on this cooler.

CNPS9700NTFigure 7: Heatpipes.

CNPS9700 NT base has a perfect mirror finishing.

CNPS9700NTFigure 8: Base.

Besides the cooler unique design, the thermal compound that comes with it is also unusual, coming in a little glass bottle. It is very liquid and must be applyed with a brush, as you can see in Figure 9.

CNPS9700NTFigure 9: Thermal compound.

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

CNPS9700 NT installation on AMD CPUs is very simple: you just need to attach it to the existing motherboard frame using the clip shown in Figure 10.

CNPS9700NTFigure 10: Clip for AMD CPUs.

For Intel socket LGA775 processors you must install the frame and clip shown in Figure 11. Note that CNPS9700 NT does not fit sockets 1156 and 1366, unless you buy the optional clips for these sockets.

CNPS9700NTFigure 11: Socket LGA775 installation hardware.

This frame must be installed on the component side of the motherbard, using the backplate on the solder side. So, unless your case has an opening on the motherboard tray, it is necessary to remove the motherboard from the case in order to install this cooler.

CNPS9700NTFigure 12: Socket LGA775 frame installed.

After that CNPS9700 NT must be attached to the frame using two screws.

CNPS9700NTFigure 13: Installed on the motherboard.

In Figure 14, you can see the cooler installed in the case. It looks very cool and, even being a big cooler, does not interfere with components from the motherboard.

CNPS9700NTFigure 14: Installed inside theo0 case.

Finally in Figure 15 we can see the green glow of the fan LED. According to the product homepage, however, this LED would be blue on CNPS9700 NT and green on CNPS9700 LED.

CNPS9700NTFigure 15: Fan g
low.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We are adopting the following metodology on our CPU cooler reviews.

First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.

We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.

Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.

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 video board cooler so it wouldn’t interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows XP Professional installed on FAT32 partition
  • Service Pack 3
  • Intel Inf driver version: 8.3.1.1009
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 182.08

Software Used

Error Margin

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

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the Intel stock cooler, Thermaltake BigTyp 14Pro, Akasa Nero, Cooler Master V10, Thermaltake TMG IA1, Zalman CNPS10X Extreme, Thermaltake ISGC-100, Noctua NH-U12P, Noctua NH-C12P, Thermaltake ISGC-200, Scythe Kabuto, Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro, Thermaltake ISGC-300, SilverStone NT06-E and Zalman CNPS9700 NT. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models.

CPU Idle

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 44 dBA 1000 rpm 31 °C 42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 34 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 41 dBA 500 rpm 26 °C 35 °
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 26 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 22 °C 30 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 21 °C 30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-100 18 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 35 °C 49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low speed) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 20 °C 30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 20 °C 28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 23 °C 28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 31 °C 35 °C
Schythe Kabuto 22 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 29 °C 34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
ISGC-300 (min. speed) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 26 °C 30 °C
ISGC-300 (max. speed) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 24 °C 26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 30 °C 41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 28 °C 35 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

Cooler Room Temp.

Noise

Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 48 dBA 1740 rpm 42 °C 100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 43 °C 77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 35 °C 70 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 48 dBA 1500 rpm 34 °C 68 °C
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 54 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 52 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 63 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 25 °C 60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 51 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-100 18 °C 50 dBA 1800 rpm 58 °C 93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low speed) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 28 °C 59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 25 °C 54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 37 °C 76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 48 dBA 1900 rpm 42 °C 68 °C
Scythe Kabuto 22 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 51 dBA 2300 rpm 49 °C 85 °C
ISGC-300 (min. speed) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 36 °C 64 °C
ISGC-300 (max. speed) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 31 °C 56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 39 °C 96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 56 dBA 2600 rpm 34 °C 63 °C

On the graph below you can see the temperature difference between the cooler base and the room temperature with the CPU idle and fully loaded.  The values shown are in degrees Celsius. Remember that the lower the number the better is cooling performance.

CNPS9700NT

The next graph will give you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during the tests.

CNPS9700NT

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Zalman CNPS9700 NT main features are:

  • Application: Socket LGA775, AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754 processors.
  • Fins: Copper.
  • Base: Copper.
  • Heat-pipes: Three 8-shaped copper heat-pipes.
  • Fan: 110 mm.
  • Nominal fan speed: 1,250 to 2,800 rpm.
  • Fan air flow: not informed.
  • Maximum power consumption: 4.8 W.
  • Nominal noise level: 35 dBA.
  • Weight: 1.68 lbs (764 g).
  • More information: https://www.zalman.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 59.00

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

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The cooling performance achieved by CNPS9700 NT was on the same level of the best coolers we tested with this methodology. It kept our CPU temperature in acceptable values even in the worst conditions. The noise level was reasonable, not inaudible but also not annoying. It is in the same price range of its competitors.

What is really unique about this cooler is its looks: it is very different from most coolers, with a nice and appealing looks. Into a case with a transparent side window it will surely catch the eye, avoiding the sameness of tower coolers. If silence is your priority there are better options, but if you are looking for a cooler that looks "cool", this model is one of the best chioces available.

CNPS9700 NT deserves the Hardware Secrets Golden Award seal.