Zalman once again has another over-the-top CPU cooler and it does perform very well. With an average idle temperature of 32 degrees and average load temperature of 49.5 degrees you won’t have to worry about your CPU getting hot at all. The average between idle and load temperatures was 18 degrees, which is very good, but with 3 fans I did expect better results.
The Whole-Direct Touch Heatpipes technology is something we have been seeing more of and it seems to really work over the old single CPU blocks with heatpipes built-in. Installing the CNPS12X is very simple and did not take that long at all to do. The three fans while in operation were extremely quiet. They will only run at a maximum speed of 1200RPM.
I was a little disappointed with the resistor cable. For one if someone wants to put the cooler in quiet mode that have to shut down their PC and install the cable. Not to mention the cable is something that can be easily lost. Also we really did not see much of a performance difference when using the cable. I really would have liked to see a dial fan controller that we have seen on previous Zalman CPU coolers. This way you would change the fan speed whenever you wanted. I also would have liked to see more powerful fans on this cooler, 1200RPM is not that fast at all and the fans were very quiet at this speed. Hence why I would have liked to see the dial fan controller so you could turn the fans up on the fly when gaming or overclocking then turn the back down when you wished.
Another thing that needs to be pointed out is that this is quite a large cooler. We were unable to install it the horizontally because our memory was in the way. Then when we installed it vertically it blocked our first PCI-Express slot on our motherboard. You will need to find memory that has heatspreaders that do not cover the top of the memory or this cooler will not fit.
Even though we did have some issues with this cooler you cannot deny its impressive cooling efficiency. The CNPS12X is currently selling at my favorite online retailer for $99, which puts it more at the high end of socket 2011 compatible CPU coolers. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Zalman CNPS12X CPU Cooler an 8 out of 10 score.
– Great cooling performance
– Very quiet
– Easy installation
– Compatible with the latest CPU’s
– Large size makes it hard to install on most systems with enthusiast memory
– Not much of a difference in quiet and performance mode