Zalman CNPS 10X Extreme Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler Review


When I measured the overclock idle temp on the CNPS 10X Extreme, I was afraid that the cooler’s overclock performance would be mediocre at best, giving the highest OC idle temp by 5C. I decided to bump up the fan controller to Mid mode. The temp immediately dropped to 37C, which was more like it.

[ad#content_main]The CNPS 10X Extreme really shone on the OC load temp though, 3C below the CNPS 9900LED. And that was with the PWM Mate set at Low mode. Bumping it up to Mid mode brought the temp down to 56C, and the fan was still inaudible. Just to see, I set the controller to High mode, and the temp dropped down to 54C. I could hear the fan through the closed case, but it was in no way annoying.

Zalman has a real winner with the CNPS 10X Extreme. It really looks sharp, unlike any tower cooler I’ve seen. The black pearl nickel plating along with the black plastic cover over the top of the cooler definitely gives it a different look. Five heatpipes.’nuff said there!

The CNPS 10X Extreme comes with the most elaborate fan controller I’ve seen, and also the smallest. Three auto modes each with three speeds, along with manual operation, gives total versatility not found with other fan controllers, and no other CPU coolers.

Performance is superior, outperforming the three best air CPU coolers I’ve tested, keeping my highly overclocked i7 at a chilly 56C in total silence. A little fan noise gave me 2C better at 54C.a full 7C below the best of the other coolers tested. I don’t know that any other air cooler on the market can accomplish that.I doubt it.

The CNPS 10X Extreme is tall, sitting about 6.25″ above the motherboard surface. Of course it had no problem fitting in my full tower, but I would imagine that there are midtowers out there that it may not fit in. I highly recommend you measure before purchase.

Also, at just shy of 2 pounds, the 10X Extreme is heavy. As with the 9900LED, Zalman opted not to use a baseplate, instead using 4 screws with inserts. As far as my test rig that never leaves the house, this doesn’t bother me at all. But I think I’d be a little afraid trusting screws in a LAN party rig. Maybe if the inserts were larger, I’d feel a little more comfortable. And my fears may be totally unfounded, I’m sure that Zalman has extensively tested the setup.

At $80, the CNPS 10X Extreme now holds the title as the most expensive air CPU cooler at my favorite online retailer. But this cooler comes with its own fan controller, a very nice one at that, which definitely adds value to the purchase. ThinkComputers gives the Zalman 10X Extreme CPU Cooler a 9 out of 10 score.

rating9 10 small


– Beautiful “Pearl Black” nickel finish throughout
– Cover over fins gives a unique look
– Elaborate removable fan controller is very versatile
– Performs better than anything I’ve tested


At just shy of two pounds, using screws instead of baseplate is a little scary