Zalman NBF47 Northbridge HS - Waaay Better
|Zalman NBF47 Northbridge HS - Waaay Better|
|Installation, Test System and Performance|
Let's face it, for the average consumer a new Northbridge Heatsink is not really on their top priority when it comes to making their system run better or quieter. Many mainboard companies today include passive heatsinks that get the job done well enough to remain stable. Other companies use active cooling on their northbridge chipsets in order to provide an extra level of performance - albeit at a cost of added noise to the system. Both of these options should work fine, but there will come a time when that 40mm Sleeve Bearing fan will die and you'll need a new fan. In some cases, the passive heatsink on the motherboard may not provide enough cooling performance, unless there is adequate airflow over the sink. As chipset companies put more and more features into their chipsets, they run hotter and hotter. As of late, stock cooling doesn't always keep up to the heat load. That's why were testing out the Zalman ZM-NBF47 today.
Zalman is known as a leader of quiet/noiseless PC cooling and the unit we are looking at today is noiseless. It is a passive northbridge heatsink that claims to be better than stock heatsinks. Later, we're going to test it out on an Intel nForce 4 SLI chipset and see if it's better than a stock heatsink - but now we're getting ahead of ourselves.
The Package & Bundle:
The ZM-NBF47 comes in a nice retail package that is meant to hang from a peg. It has a nice clear front allowing you to 5 of it's six sides. You get a good look and some appreciation of the design and detail of this unit. Packaged under the "Fanless Northbridge Cooler" text is the mounting hardware and other goodies.
The back of the package is a welcome sight. It lists features, components included in the package, specifications, and even compatible northbridge chipsets. Of course there may be exceptions to the list as far as motherboard compatibility go, but the heatsink should actually work quite well on most motherboards.
While you can't say the heatsink bundle is loaded, it does come with everything you need to get going on many motherboards. It comes with two different types of mounting hardware - one set for motherboards with holes around the chipset, and the other for boards that use mounting loops to secure the heatsink. Both types are supported by the NBF47. Motherboards that have no holes or clips are not supported as Zalman does not recommend thermal tape to attach this unit.
Specs & Features:
This is a relatively short list as this is a passive heatsink. It's nice to know that it won't add to your system noise.
- Dimensions : 81(L) X 37(W) X 47(H)mm
- Heatsink Material : Pure Aluminum
- Weight : 57g
- The ZM-NBF47 does not need electrical power, for it is a fanless Northbridge cooler that operates without noise or vibration.
- It cools the Northbridge chipset to its optimal temperature in absolute silence.
As we carry on, we'll see what Zalman defines as "optimal" temperature.
As a general rule, Zalman puts quite a bit of effort into the fit and finish of their products. We were not disappointed with the ZM-NBF47 cooler. It is made from 20 aluminum fins that are bolted together and machined smooth on the base. These fins are vented to allow more air to pass through them and increase the performance of this passive heatsink.
You'll notice in the picture above and to the right that Zalman has stamped their name into each fin. They show their pride and also protect their product from being retagged by another company.
In the pictures below we take a look at the finish of the base and we start to prep the sink for mounting to our motherboard. While the base does not have a mirror finish, it is certainly flat, smooth and you can feel no machine marks of any kind. In certain light, you can see some machine marks, but they cannot be felt with your finger or your fingernail.
Our installation will use the holes around the northbridge chipset, so we are using the provided hardware for that application. The screws are extremely small and must be handled with care so you don't lose one and then pooch your heatsink installation. We dropped one on the floor during installation, but located it fairly quickly (thanks to a rather strong magnet).
Head on over to the next page as we install this heatsink and fire up the rig to see if this cooler is truly any better.