Today we testing Zalman VF900-Cu LED VGA cooler, which has a 90-mm fan, copper heatsink and two heatpipes. Let’s take a good look at this cooler and test it on two different video cards. Check it out!
In Figure 1, you can see the quite small VF900-Cu LED box, with a big transparent window that lets you to see the whole cooler.
In Figure 2, you can see the box contents: the cooler, installation manual, thermal compound, installation hardware and eight heatsinks for memory chips with pre applied adhesive tape, and a fan controller called Fan Mate 2, which can be stuck to any part of your case using an included double-sided adhesive foam tape.
Figure 2: The cooler and its accessories.
In Figure 3, you can see the cooler, which is entirely made of copper. The fan has blue LEDs that glow when it is working.
Figure 3: Zalman VF900-Cu LED.
[nextpage title=”The Zalman VF900-Cu LED”]
In Figure 4, you can see the fan from the top. At first sight it seems there is only one circular heatpipe, but looking carefully you will see that there are two heatpipes connected to the base of the cooler.
Looking it from the side, you will notice that this cooler is quite low. But, after installed, it uses the slot next to your graphics card.
Under the cooler we can see the very well polished copper base, where the heatpipes are connected. Note the retention mechanism, with five different sets of holes where you can install the screws that hold the cooler to the VGA. With so many options, it can be installed on virtually any video card.
[nextpage title=”Installation on a GeForce 9600 GT”]
In order to test Zalman VF900-Cu LED, we first installed it on our PNY Verto GeForce 9600 GT, since it is one of the recommended VGAs for this cooler. We also installed and tested an Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 VGA cooler in order to compare its performance to VF900-Cu LED’s.
Figure 7: Geforce 9600 GT with stock cooler.
Figure 8: GeForce 9600 GT without its cooler.
In Figure 9, you can see our GeForce 9600 GT with the blue heatsinks stuck on the memory chips. A pity the adhesive tape that comes on these heatsinks is not too strong, allowing the heatsinks to fall if something touches them.
Figure 9: Memory heatsinks installed.
[nextpage title=”Installation on a GeForce 9600GT (Cont’d)”]
The installation of Zalman VF900-Cu LED was a breeze, without requiring the use of any tool (except for the Phillips screwdriver used to remove the stock cooler). You just need to put the cooler on the holes from the video card and then fasten four thumbnuts on the solder side of the card.
Figure 10: Installed on GeForce 9600 GT.
In Figures 11, 12 and 13 you can have a complete look of Zalman VF900-CU LED installed on our GeForce 9600 GT.
[nextpage title=”Installation on a GeForce GTS 250″]
After testing VF900-Cu LED with our GeForce 9600 GT, we decided to push it a little farther, testing it on a GeForce GTS 250, which has a 150 W TDP, against 96 W of the GeForce 9600 GT. Even being mechanically compatible, this video card is not on the supported VGA list on the manufacturer’s website.
Figure 14: GeForce GTS 250 with stock cooler.
In Figure 15, you can see our GeForce GTS 250 with the RAM heatsinks installed on the memory chips.
Figure 15: GeForce GTS 250 with memory heatsinks.
In Figure 16 you can check Zalman VF900-Cu LED installed on our GeForce GTS 250. Altought not being officially compatible, installation was easy and perfect – at least physically.
Figure 16: Installed on our GeForce GTS 250.
[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]
We ran some simple tests to check the performance from Zalman VF900-Cu LED, measuring the GPU core temperature with the aid of the SpeedFan software, and sound pressure level (SPL) with a digital noise meter set 4" (10 cm) from the video card, with the GPU at full load running folding@Home GPU client. For this measurement, we turned off the CPU cooler, so its noise wouldn’t interfere. Please keep in mind that sound pressure level measurement is just for comparative purposes, because a precise measurement would have to be done in an acoustically insulated enviroment, which we don’t have.
We performed the described measurements on our PNY Verto GeForce 9600 GT with the stock cooler, with Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 VGA cooler, and with Zalman VF900-Cu LED cooler at minimum and maximum speeds. Room temperature was 21 °C during all tests. You can check the results in the table below.
|Stock cooler||56 dBA||53 °C||–|
|NV Silencer 5||52 dBA||48 °C||–|
|VF900-Cu LED (min.)||43 dBA||46 °C||1300 rpm|
|VF900-Cu LED (max.)||49 dBA||40 °C||2400 rpm|
As you can see, Zalman VF900-Cu LED has done very well, being quieter than the stock cooler and NV Silencer 5 (even at full speed) and keeping the GPU core temperature low (even at low speed).
Tests with our Zotac GeForce GTS 250 were made the same way, also at a room temperature of 21 °C. The results are in the table below.
|Stock cooler||62 dBA||79 °C||–|
|VF900-Cu LED (min.)||43 dBA||95 °C||1300 rpm|
VF900-Cu LED (max.)
|49 dBA||94 °C||
As you can see, on GeForce GTS 250 (which is hotter than GeForce 9600 GT), Zalman VF900-Cu LED was not powerful enough, being worst than the stock cooler. Remember, however, that GeForce GTS 250 is not on the list of compatible video cards for this cooler.
[nextpage title=”Main features”]
Zalman VF900-Cu LED main features are:
- Fan: One 90-mm ball bearing fan.
- Nomina fan speed: 2400 rpm.
- Base: Copper.
- Heatpipes: Two copper heatpipes.
- Heatsink: Copper fins connected to the heatpipes.
- Dimensions: 1 3/16" x 3 3/4" x 3 3/4" (3 cm x 9.6 cm x 9.6 cm) (H x W x D).
- Weight: 5.95 oz (185 g).
- Extra features: Fan controller, memory heatsinks.
- More information: https://www.zalman.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 43.00.
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Zalman VF900-Cu LED is an excellent video card cooler. It cooled our GeForce 9600 GT better than the stock cooler and than Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5, being also quieter than both. Its installation is simple and it looks is very cool.
You must keep in mind that even if you can mechanically install it on video cards not listed on the manufacturer compatibility list it can’t cool down a high-TDP GPU.
The only weak point on VF900-Cu LED is that it does not remove hot air from the inside the computer case. So, it does not help to reduce the PC internal temperature.
Even being a little expensive for the range of video cards it can cool, Zalman VF900-Cu LED deserves the Hardware Secrets Silver Award due to its quality of construction, looks, silence and good cooling performance (on a recommended video card).
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