Zalman VF900-Cu Goes LED - Installation and Test Setup

Article Index
Zalman VF900-Cu Goes LED
Installation and Test Setup
Temperature Results and Conclusion

Installation:

We installed the VF900-Cu LED onto our eVGA 7600GT CO video card and are thankful to be able to replace the stock cooler on this unit.  When running 2D applications the cooler is almost silent but when running 3D applications, it makes quite a bit of noise.  I'm thankful to replace it with something a little quieter.

Installation is fairly straightforward if you can follow along in the guide or if you've replace a video card HSF before.  We pulled the four screws holding the stock cooler in place, cleaned up the core and consulted the guide so we'd know where to put the "nipples".

Why do HSF's have nipples?
Why do HSF's have nipples?

The quick install guide that came with the heatsink didn't list the 7600 series of GPU on it's compatibility list.  We whipped out a caliper and discovered that the heatsink could be mounted using either hole #3 or #5.  We decided to use the hole farthest away from the GPU core to give it more stability.  A quick swing by Zalman's website also shows an update compatibility list where the 7600 series is listed.

As we started to screw the HSF down tight, I noticed that the little rubber washers had extra space and really weren't doing their job to act as a buffer against the card.  On a 7800GT, these washers are squished between the mounting hardware and the PCB to help balance the force as you screw the HSF down.  With the 7600GT, they really aren't doing anything any you'll have to take extra care to tighten the screws evenly to avoid cracking your GPU core.

Washer Space
 Washer Space

Installed
 Installed

The 7600GT 256MB card that we used for testing only has 4 BGA ram modules so we have an extra 4 BGA ram sinks left over.  That is always nice to have too many instead of not enough.  Before we jump into testing this cooler, we'll leave you with one final shot of it installed.

Top View Installed
Top View Installed

Test Setup & Info:

We tested the VF900-Cu LED on the following setup:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 CPU
  • Intel DG965WH Motherboard
  • 2GB 2x1GB Crucial Ballistix PC8000 (DDR2-1000) - Crucial
  • Plextor PX-750A DVDRW - Plextor
  • Seagate 250GB 7200.10 SATA HDD
  • eVGA 7600GT 256MB
  • Windows XP Professional with all available updates
  • Intel 8.0.1.1002 chipset drivers
  • ForceWare 91.31 drivers

Temperatures were recorded using the ForceWare 91.31 driver temperature control panel.  We recorded idle temperatures 15 minutes after we finished running our stress loop.  This idle temperature scenario shows how well the cooler works after running loaded for a while.  Our full load temperatures were taken during the fourth run of 3DMark05.  3DMark05 was run using only game tests at 1280x1024 with 4x AA and 16x AF enabled.  This heated things up more than even F.E.A.R. or Quake 4.

LED Fan - High
LED Fan - High

Keep these things in mind as we run our cooling performance tests on the next page.