Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 Bling - Closer Look, Test System and Installation

Article Index
Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 Bling
Closer Look, Test System and Installation
9500AM2 Performance and Conclusion

Closer Look:

This unit is virtually identical in terms of design and performance as the CNPS9500 LED.  It features the same curved heatpipe design, all copper construction and an LED fan.  What separates this from its predecessors is the fact that it is nickel plated and comes with a green LED fan - not a blue or red fan as has been traditional of Zalman.

Front View
 Front View

Rear View
 Rear View

The design is very clean and because it is so shiny, it is very hard to photograph.  The pictures make it look quite dark and dull, but in reality it's shiny and gleaming.

The base of this HSF is very flat, smooth and is polished to a mirror finish.  This heatsink is all about quality and Zalman is proud enough of it to stamp their name onto each and every fin.

Shiny Bottom View
 Shiny Bottom View

Zalman Pride
 Zalman Pride

Before we jump into the installation process, let's take a look at our test system and see what this cooler must do to keep things under control.

Test System & Info:

We are using our mid-range AM2 Dual Core system with this HSF to see if we can reach Athlon 64 5000+ speeds and beyond.

  • AMD Athlon 64 4200+ X2 Socket AM2 - MemoryExpress
  • MSI K9N Platinum Motherboard - MemoryExpress
  • 2GB Kit of Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 - Crucial
  • eVGA 7600GT KO
  • Seagate 7200.10 250GB SATA HDD
  • nForce 9.16 drivers
  • Windows XP Pro SP2 & all available updates.

We ran this system stock speed - 200x11 = 2.2GHz at 1.35 volts for our stock speed test.  At this speed we used both the stock cooler with static fan speed as well as the Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 at both low fan speed and high fan speed.  Temperatures were recorded using Core Temp.  Idle temperatures were taken 15 minutes after loading Windows.  Load temps were taken after running 2 instances of Folding @ Home at slightly higher than idle CPU setting as well as Prime 95 for about one hour.  We tried to keep ambient temperature around 18C throughout testing.  Overclocked settings were recorded at 250x10=2.5GHz at 1.5v to heat things up a bit.  We have the ability to overclock higher and that will be covered in an upcoming motherboard review.  The high voltage wasn't required for stability, but we wanted to heat things up as much as possible.

Installation:

Normally, installation of large aftermarket heatsinks requires motherboard removal, but thankfully the AM2 version of the CNPS9500 does not.  It requires that you simply remove the small, underpowered stock cooler, place the clip on the CPU base and install the new HSF.

Old Tiny Cooler
 Old Tiny Cooler

Clip Installed
 Clip Installed

Mounted & Ready
Mounted & Ready

If you are slow, this installation should take no more than 7 minutes - including the time it takes to clean off the old Thermal Paste and apply new Thermal Paste.  Because the unit clips onto your motherboards existing AM2 HSF retention bracket, this is a very easy and quick installation.

We will take a look at some performance numbers on the next page.