Initial thoughts on the Zalman cooler


Standard Member
Well, I buckled in the end, partially because I needed a new cooler for another machine anyway, so I got a Zalman 6000 CuAl from Extreme Cooling who seemed to be the cheapest taking postage into account. I have noticed, however, that Aria have recently been doing the 6000Cu for £25 inc VAT in their deal of the day - postage is a little more, but if you're getting bits anyway, might be worth a look - they also seem to have some decent looking cheap black cases too (towers only).

Anyway, back to the Zalman. Nice package, cooler a lot smaller than I expected - I guess all those closeups of the pretty fins had given me a false sense of perspective. Fits fine on my ECS K7S6A board, even with a fairly large stick of 256 DDR ram in the slot closest to the CPU. No problem clearing the capacitors on the other side, either.

Fitting the cooler was OK - a bit of a struggle to get the first part of the clip in place - would have been easier if the board was out of the case. Handy little tool they supply to get the second (tensioned) side in place - easy. Feels firm enough. I used Arctic Alumina thermal paste rather than the supplied stuff.

The fan bracket and fan seem OK - the main gripe I have is with the Fan Mate speed controller into which the cooling fan plugs. It comes with a fairly short tail to connect to the mobo fan power connector, and no means of mounting it anywhere solid, so it is hard to avoid it flopping around the place. I have tiewrapped it to a chunk of cables for the moment, but a little unsatisfactory. Would have been nice if the tail had been long enough so the FanMate could attach to the fan bracket - a logical place, surely.

Fired up, the fan is very quiet when in lowest (1500 RPM) position. Turn the revs up, however, and the noise soon mounts. Because of the way the fan is poitioned, I think I'll have to rethink airflow in my case - I did have a rear fan exhausting air from the case, but that did nothing to help temperatures. I have reversed the fan for the moment, so it is bringing cool air in to near the Zalman fan position, but I'm still unconvinced. I'm getting about 39 degrees C at idle (Athlon 1600+). Ideally, I need a duct to bring air directly above the Zalman fan position, I think.

I am currently considering replacing the fan in the power supply with a Papst (thanks Gary Lightfoot for the idea and hints) - had been wondering which fan to get - the low flow 12Db or the higher flow 19Db one. I think I'll go for the higher flow one, as it may help draw air from the Zalman cooler and away out of the case.

If anyone's interested, I'll take some pics and post them so you can see what I'm gibbering about.

All in all, not bad, and certainly quieter than the Volcano 9+ I was using before.


Well-known Member
I have one of these as well and have been running it for a few months now. Generally, I'm happy with it but have found I need to run the fan at high speed to maintain a cool case, particularly on hot days (another reason to investigate air con install!).

As noted above, turning up the fan speed is not a good idea as it really starts to get noisy at even mid point rpms. My solution was to purchase a couple of additional silent fans from quitePC and install them next to the flower. Three low RPM, low noise fans is quieter than one high rev unit.

Another point to watch out for is the position mof your CPU vis a vis the power supply. In my first (cheap) case & mothorboard combo, the CPU was almost directly underneath the power supply. While the flower cooler would fit on OK, the fan was a tight squeeze and half of the fan ended up pressed against the underside of the power supply. (see photos on my website). Not the most efficient configuration, I'm sure you'll agree.

Anyway, just a couple of things to watch out for with this unit.



I used a Zalman heatsink in my HCPC, but did not use the standard fan controller that came with it. I used one with a temperature sensor that clips to the heatsink. The advantage of this is that on hot days the fan runs faster and old cooler days it runs quieter. Unfortunately I cannot recommend where to get this gadget from as I bought it in a market in tiawan (for approx £2 :) )

I also used an Athlon 2200 and underclocked it - the 2200 is made using a 0.13u process and is lower watts than the 0.15u versions for the same clock speed. At 100MHz FSB it claims to be a "PR1600". has the bumf on the various Athlon CPUs and their thermal performance.


Standard Member
As the fan bundled with the Zalman cooler isn't really that quiet except when slowed right down, I had the idea that you could plonk your own fan on the bracket (it accepts 80 or 92mm fans) that is quieter whilst providing more airflow than the bundled fan at minimum speed. I would have in mind the 80mm Papsts (12 and 19dB) and a 92mm Papst (3412NGL) which runs at 23dB with 36cfm airflow (vs 20cfm for the 19dB one).

I then thought that the Zalman heatsink may not be neccessary as it's probably not that much better than your current one and one of the fans mentioned above running at full speed will be able to compensate for a slightly less efficient heatsink by shifting more air. You can buy the Zalman fan bracket on it's own for about £10 with all the fixings included. Therefore, why not buy this plus a fan like the ones above? Should work out around £22 vs £33+ for the whole package.

[edited for grammar]


Active Member
Hi Richard,

I've got one of those Zalman's on order (pure copper version) for my DIGN case so your review was very interesting. Regarding noise levels, anything below 20db should be pretty much inaudible from any reasonanble distance. I'm also planning on putting a YS-Tech 80mm fan (rated 18db / 26CFM) further along the Zalman mount, blowing air on the Radeon (I'm taking the fan off it & replacing it with a Zalman copper heatsink).

I wouldn't worry about your 39 degrees...I have the same cpu in my games machine with a Volcano 9 + Smart Fan 2 (using temp probe) & it idles at 41, which is still 5 degrees lower than my old Coolermaster. I tested the chip's stability a while back & it only started going pear-shaped at about 65 degrees.




Standard Member
Mark, see my other thread on cooling - I've found that a 5v/12v switch for case and PSU fan has done wonders - the Zalman's now the loudest thing in the case - now got to quieten the AE100!!

No, that temp is fine as far as I'm concerned - I may get hold of some CPU loading software to see how it performs when there's a bit more going on....


Standard Member
....More thoughts and comments...
The more I fiddle with the Zalman, the more I think it's a bit of a pain. The speed control is annoying because you need to open the case to adjust it, and the overhead fan, as feet14 comments, is only really quiet when at minimum revs. I'm also at a loss as to how best to direct other case fans for best airflow, as the position of the Zalman fan makes it hard to know whether to blow or suck from a particular case orifice (so to speak).
I'm glad I got it, as it is certainly quieter than the Volcano9 (now doing sterling service in my office machine), but the 5v/12v switch I added to control case and PSU fan speed (see that other thread about cooling linked to above) has made a larger difference to the noise level, and it cost pence to do.

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