Zalman CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler - Installation and Testing

Article Index
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler
Features and Specifications
Installation and Testing
Final Thoughts and Conclusion


Zalman CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler Testing and Installation:

Installation was pretty straight forward and we won't waste much time going over all the details, but pretty much if you can read instructions and put in 4 screws you'll be just fine. For Intel installations you'll need to remove the motherboard and install the rear bracket (pictured below) as well as the top bracket (pictured below) so that you can mount the cooler. Installation from start to finish (once you've got the motherboard removed) should take any more than 15 minutes and is pretty standard for all aftermarket cooler installations for Intel.

For AMD installations you will be able to use the stock mounting bracket that came with you motherboard, and won't need to remove your motherboard (providing you have enough room in your case). AMD installation will only take you as long as it takes you to remove the old cooler and then use the clip to attach the cooler to the stock bracket, most likely well under 10 minutes.


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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Top Bracket
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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Rear Bracket


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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Cooler Installed
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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Cooler and Video Card Installed


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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Cooler and Video Card Installed
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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Cooler Installed


As you can see in the pictures above and below, the CNPS10X Extreme cooler is a big cooler, however it fits nicely over top of all the motherboard components and once you add a big video card like we did in the pictures (Radeon HD 4870) it doesn't look so gigantic. Like I've mentioned before (and I'll probably mention at least once more), the CNPS10X Extreme is a heavy cooler and if you're planning on moving your computer around you are going to want to take extra care in making sure that your computer is laying on its side so the cooler isn't bouncing around during transit, because the last thing you want is a dead motherboard.

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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Cooler Installed
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Zalman CNPS10X Extreme - Cooler Installed



Test Setup:

We've recently re-designed our Cooler testing setup to show how new coolers are able to handle the new quad-core CPU's from both AMD and Intel, which produce more heat than traditional Dual and Single Core CPU's. We will be providing test results from both a Intel Quad Core processor (LGA775), as well as a AMD Phenom X4 CPU (AM2+) in all our reviews to give readers a better estimate of how this cooler will work on their CPU, as well as a better estimate of what the cooler being reviewed is capable of.

For Intel (LGA775) testing we will be using the Intel Quad Core Q9400 CPU, which produces 95 Watts of heat. This could be considered a mid-range processor, and while most Dual-Core processors produce ~50-80 Watts of heat, this should give you a pretty accurate estimate of what type of temperatures a cooler will provide you with. Click here to go to Intel's Processor Spec Finder website to find out how many watts of heat your Intel processor produces.

For AMD (AM2+) testing we will be using the AMD Phenom X4 Quad-Core 9950 CPU, which produces 140 Watts of heat and is currently one of the hottest running processors available. This processor should give us a very good estimate of how a cooler will perform with one of the hottest CPU's available. Click here to go to AMD's Processor Spec Finder to find out how many of watts your AMD processor is producing.

For both AMD and Intel testing, we have taken all temperatures using CoreTemp v.0.99.4. CoreTemp takes a temperature from the CPU core, and allows for much more uniform results across different motherboard and CPU platforms. These temperatures may seem higher than other temperature recordings; because chances are they are taking temperature recordings using the diode underneath the CPU, which isn't able to be as accurate, and can really fluctuate between different brands of motherboards.

For all tests we are using the Highspeed PC Top Deck Tech Station , and we are using no additional cooling in our testing. All temperatures are recorded in a controlled environment that is set to 23 degrees Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) to provide fair results between coolers.

For all tests we use Arctic Cooling MX-2 High-Performance Thermal Compound (Paste). We use the same thermal paste in all our testing so that we can keep our results consistent. If a cooler is shipped with thermal paste pre-applied, it will be removed and we will re-apply it with Arctic Cooling MX-2 to provide fair results.




Intel Test System:

AMD Test System:


Here comes the testing results....

Click on Chart for Larger View


In our first round of testing, the Zalman CNPS10X Extreme had a pretty decent performance and edged out all of the other coolers we've tested on this processor. The CNPS10X Extreme cooler really didn't have any issues with the Q9400 processor and it almost felt like it was a little overkill, however if you want low temps and have a lower end dual or quad core processor you should be able to run the CNPS10X Extreme cooler on its lowest settings and still be able to pull off some pretty impressive cooling results.

Click on Chart for Larger View


The interesting thing about the second test is that the Zalman CNPS10X Extreme cooler didn't have any issues when we added a 140 watt processor, and shows a bigger margin of victory over the other coolers than it did in our Intel testing. The Thermaltake Big Typhoon 14 was pretty much the only cooler that really gave it too much competition (and the Big Typhoon 14 is a huge cooler itself).

The good news for the CNPS10X Extreme is that all the new Intel Core i7 processors are now running hotter than previous Intel CPU's did (130+ Watts), and the need for an aftermarket cooler is much more obvious.  The CNPS10X Extreme is a perfect choice thanks to it ability to handle large amounts of heat (as displayed with our 140 Watt AMD X4 9950 Processor).