Zalman VF1000LED and Zalman ZM-RHS88 GPU Cooling Combo

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Product(s): Zalman VF 1000 LED GPU Cooler
Provided By: Zalman

Price: ~$52.00 USD (Amazon.com)

Product(s): Zalman ZM-RHS88 GPU Ram Heatsink
Provided By: Zalman

Price: ~$30.00 USD (Amazon.com)

Today we are going to take a look at the new Zalman VF 1000 LED GPU cooler, which aims to increase performance and reduce noise, even on the newest VGA cards on the market.

We have decided to give the VF1000 LED a try, and have hooked it up to a eVGA 8800GTX video card, however before we go any further, we need to note that in order to fit the VF1000 LED cooler onto the 8800GTX or 8800GTS you are required to also purchase the ZM-RHS88 heatsink from Zalman in order to properly cool all the other heat-producing circuitry on the 8800 series cards.

The Zalman VF1000 LED fits all types of different video cards, dating all the way back to some of the Radeon 9700's and GeForce 4's, and is compatible all the way up to the new offerings from Nvidia and ATI. Head on over here for a full list of compatible cards. Please also note that most cards do not require the additional ram heatsink, only the Nvidia 8800GTX and 8800GTS cards do.

So enough of the details let's move on and see how this cooler performs...

 

First Impressions (Zalman ZM-RHS88 Heatsink):

We will start off by taking a closer look at the Zalman ZM-RHS88 Heatsink. This heatsink kit is designed for the Nvidia 8800GTX and 8800GTS video cards.

 

box
Zalman ZM-RHS88 Heatsink (Box)

 

main front
Zalman ZM-RHS88 Heatsink (Top)
main back
Zalman ZM-RHS88 (Bottom)

 

accessories
Zalman ZM-RHS88 Accessories
packaging
Zalman ZM-RHS88 Packaging

   

heatsink
ZM-RHS88 Ram Sinks Bottom
heatsink
ZM-RHS88 Ram Sinks Top

 

As you can see from the pictures the ZM-RHS88 heatsinks are all nice and shiny, also its worth noting that you are not going to need both the ram heatsinks, the ram heatsink pictured on the bottom is for the 8800GTS and the ram heatsink pictured on the top is for the 8800GTX.

 

closeup
Zalman ZM-RHS88 Heatsink (Close-Up)

 

 

First Impressions (Zalman VF1000 LED GPU Cooler):

 

box
Zalman VF1000 LED (Box)

 

bottom
Zalman VF1000 LED (Bottom)
top
Zalman VF1000 LED (Top)

 

fins
Zalman VF1000 LED (Side)
packaging
Zalman VF1000 LED (Packaging)

 

As you can tell from the above pictures, this is a nice copper cooler, and also looks nice and flashy.

 

 

 

Zalman VF 1000 LED GPU Cooler Specification:

 

Taken from Zalman.com


box
Zalman VF 1000 LED GPU Cooler

 

Features:

1. The product is equipped with Zalman’s patented VFP (Variable Fin Profile) technology. Fan installed inside the heatsink maximizes the cooling efficiency and the product’s maximized dissipation surface area provides excellent performance.
2. Use of four high performance heatpipes maximizes heat transfer.
3. Pure copper thin fins (0.3mm) for excellent cooling performance.
4. Cools not only the VGA chipset and VGA RAM, but all other VGA components as well.
5. 80mm Slim LED Fan for excellent performance and great aesthetics.
6. Newly improved installation structure provides easy installation and broad compatibility.
7. Adjustable fan speed controller(FAN MATE 2) enables control of noise and fan speed.
8. Does not generate noise or vibration in Silent Mode.

 

1Heatsink

Dimensions 160(L) X 80(W) X 30(H) mm
Weight 380g
Materials Dissipation Fins : Pure Copper,
Base : Pure Copper, Heatpipe : Pure Copper

1Fan
Dimensions 80(L) x 80(W) x 15(H) mm
Bearing Type 2 Ball-Bearing
Speed (using FAN MATE 2) Silent Mode 1,400rpm ±10% Normal Mode 2,500rpm ±10%
Noise Level (using FAN MATE 2) Silent Mode 18dBA ±10% Normal Mode 28dBA ±10%

 

 

Compatible Graphics Cards:

 

  • ATI X1600 Series
  • ATI X1300 Series
  • ATI Radeon 9*** Series (except 9550/9600)
  • ATI Radeon X*** Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce4 MX Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5200
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5500
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5600(FX 5700)
  • NVIDIA Geforce 6600 Series (except 6600 AGP Series)
  • NVIDIA Geforce4 TI 4 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5700(Ultra) Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5800 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 6600 Series (except 6600 AGP Series)
  • ATI X1650 Series
  • ATI X1600 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 8600 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 8500 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 7600 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 7300 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 6600 Series (except 6600 AGP Series)
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5900 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce FX 5950 Series
  • ATI X1950 Series, ATI X1900 Series
  • ATI X1800 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 7950 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 7900 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 7600 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 7800 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 6800 Series
  • NVIDIA Geforce 8800 Series

 

Included Components:

 

1) One (1) VGA Cooler
2) Eight (8) RAM Heatsinks
3) Four (4) Nipples
4) Four (4) Fixing Nuts
5) Four (4) Fixing Nuts for SLI/CrossFire
6) One (1) PVC Washer Plate
7) Four (4) Rubber Rings
8) Four (4) Springs
9) One (1) Thermal Grease
10) One (1) Fan Controller (FAN MATE 2)
11) One (1) Cable for FAN MATE 2
12) One (1) Double-Sided Tape (to attach FAN MATE 2)
13) One (1) User’s Manual

 

 

Zalman ZM-RHS88 Ram Heatsink Specification

 

Taken from Zalman.com


box
Zalman ZM-RHS88 Ram Heatsink

 

Features:

1. Die cast heatsink fin design maximizes the surface area for superior cooling performance.
2. Made with aluminum for minimized weight and effective cooling.
3. Noiseless and Durable.
4. All-in-one multi-component cooling solution for RAM, FET and I/O chipset.
5. High performance thermal tapes included for easy installation.

 

Specifications
Dimensions 190(L)×98(W)×11(H) mm
Weight 80g
Materials Aluminum
 
VGA Card Check
Check your VGA Card and select the FET Heatsink according to the table below.
VGA Card FET Heatsink
NVIDIA Geforce 8800 Ultra/GTX FET Heatsink A
NVIDIA Geforce 8800 GTS FET Heatsink B

 

Included Components:

 

1) One (1) RAM Heatsink
2) One (1) FET Heatsink A-For 8800 Ultra/GTX
3) One (1) FET Heatsink B-For 8800 GTS
4) Four (4) Nipples for 8800 Series
5) Five (5) Fixing Nuts
6) Five (5) Fixing Nuts for SLI/CrossFire
7) Three (3) Fixing Bolts
8) Five (5) Springs
9) One (1) PVC Washer Plate
10) One (1) Thermal Grease
11) Four (4) Rubber Rings
12) One (1) User’s Manual

 

 


 

Zalman ZM-RHS88 and VF1000 LED Testing and Installation:

Well on to the fun part, the installation. I have installed a quite a few aftermarket coolers over the years on video cards, and was expecting this to be about the same; however I was in for a little surprise.

Now the installation wasn't terrible and it all worked out in the end, but it definitely takes a bit of time and you are kidding yourself if you think you can have both the ram heatsink kit and the gpu cooler installed in 5 minutes, it's going to take a bit longer than that. Most aftermarket coolers are pretty straight-forward, but this one you're going to want to read the instructions as you go, otherwise you're going to get it half together and realize you've forgot a washer or a spring and have to start over again. I can't really blame Zalman for this too much, as the 8800GTX is a pretty big card and there are a lot of components that need to be installed, but it makes for a few head scratching moments when you're trying to piece everything together and figure out what screws go where, and if you need the bag of screws from the ZM-RHS88 or the bag of screws from the VF1000 LED for certain spots.

I would estimate that the entire installation took about 30 minutes from start to finish, and that included removing the original stock cooler. Your also going to need to refer to the instructions a few times, otherwise it is going to take even longer, if you the kind of person who doesn't need instructions, then maybe do this install when no one is watching and if you just happen to have to peek at the manual, you can keep it your own little secret.

 

card front
Nvida 8800GTX Bare
ramsinks installed
ZM-RHS88 Heatsink (Installed)

 

installed close
VF1000 LED Installed (Bottom)
installed top
Zalman VF1000 LED Installed (Top)

 

installed side
Zalman VF1000 LED (Side View)
back installed full
VF1000 LED Installed (Back View)

 

So there we go, it's all installed and it doesn't look half bad either. Everything went together well, and I must note that the thumb screws for the back of the video card were a nice touch, I'm always a fan of thumbscrews and I really think they make things just a little bit easier.

 

The real question though isn't how nice the cooler looks, or how easy the installation was or was not, but how it performs. As many of you undoubtedly know, the 8800GTX produces a lot of heat, and temperatures can almost reach 80 degrees, which isn't exactly cool.

 

 

Chart

 

So there you have it, the results are in. The biggest surprise was the amount of difference in the memory temperatures, and I would assume that this is due to the stock cooler being a one-piece design and the Memory and GPU core are cooled by the same metal piece, so once you move to a two-piece design like you have with the ZM-RHS88 ramsink and VF1000 GPU cooler those temperatures are naturally going to drop.

I was a bit surprised to see that the GPU full load temperatures were as close as they were, normally when you move to an aftermarket solution the temperatures drop significantly, but in this case it wasn't so dramatic.

The biggest advantage of moving to an aftermarket cooler such as the VF1000 LED is the noise level. The stock cooler running at idle temperatures honestly isn't that bad, but once you start gaming you do notice it rising as the temperatures go up, and that's probably where you will notice the biggest difference going to the VF1000.

Now the only question remains is whether it's worth the money? The temperatures are a bit better than stock cooling (not by as much as you might be expecting) and it is going to be quieter than stock cooling, so I guess at the end of the day if you want a few extra degrees to help with a bit of an overclock, or want a quieter rig, then you're probably going to be interested in this card.


Zalman VF 1000 LED and Zalman ZM-RHS88 Final Conclusion

 

Since we have reviewed two products in this review, I am going to post my final thoughts on both these products together since they are both required for Nvidia 8800 series graphics cards (like the one we tested it on). I am then going to post final thoughts specific to each product and provide individual scores for each product.

Together both of these products work well together, especially on a card like the 8800GTX that produces ALOT of heat. The performance was decent enough, although at full load the GPU temperatures with stock cooling installed weren't all that hotter than with the VF 1000 installed. The major area we noticed improvement on was with the memory temperatures, in which we saw the temperatures drop 20 degrees, which is quite impressive.

The installation wasn't exactly quick, but thanks to the complex design of the Nvidia 8800 series cards, you can't really be expecting anything too simple. You are going to want to read the instructions as you go, and you'll probably scratch your head a few times, but at the end of the day majority of people should be able to figure out the installation and get it installed properly. If you figure you'll have this duo of coolers installed in 5 minutes think again, but if you take your time and follow instructions you should have no problem getting it all installed properly.

Let's move onto the individual scores for each of these products.

 

Zalman VF 1000 LED Final Thoughts

The VF1000 LED is a pretty nice cooler, and the nicest part of it is that its compatible with a ton of different models of cards, while some other aftermarket GPU cooler manufacturers are not. Once again I will add that if you plan on using this cooler on the Nvidia 8800 series cards, you're going to need the Zalman ZM-RHS88 Ramsink kit, for the rest of the specified cards you will not require any additional ramsinks.

I would also think that with the VF1000 performing like it did running a 8800GTX, if you're going to install it on another card that doesn't produce as much heat, you're probably going to gain much more performance benefits than we did with our testing, since you have to remember that the 8800GTX card consumes over 150 watts of power which requires a lot of cooling to keep it running at a reasonable temperature.

The price of the VF 1000 LED isn't too bad at ~$52.00 USD, and when compared to other cooling solutions on the market, it's reasonable, especially for a high quality product such as the VF1000 LED.

At the end of the day I can recommend this heatsink, it does the job and while it might not drop the temperatures by a huge amount, it does make things run cooler, and it helps reduce volume levels in your case, especially when your video card (such as the 8800GTX) is running at full speed and so are the fans.

 

Pros:

  • Compatible with Tons of Different Video Cards
  • Competitively Priced

 

Cons:

  • GPU Full Load temperatures similar to stock cooling on 8800GTX

   

BCCRating

 

 

Zalman RHS88 Final Thoughts

The ZM-RHS88 Ram heatsinks also do a pretty good job, and we noticed that the memory temperatures took a major drop after we installed them. The biggest reason would be that the RHS88 heatsink is independent from the GPU cooler, which is a major reason the temperatures dropped.

However, the price tag of this product is hefty, at $30.00 USD it's an expensive add-on to the VF 1000 LED which itself retails for ~$52.00 USD, so at the end of the day if you want to get rid of that stock cooling on you 8800 series video card, you're going to end up spending ~$82.00 USD, which is not cheap. I think a lot of people who have recently purchased the 8800GTS series cards, which are retailing for just over $300.00 CDN now, aren't going to be too impressed to have to dish out $82 more bucks for a cooling solution. 8800GTX owners might be a little more understanding since it's a top of the line card, and the VF 1000 LED GPU cooler may buy you a few Mhz when overclocking, I'm sure some people will go this route.

At the end of the day I have a hard time scoring this product, it does its job of cooling the memory very well, but it isn't exactly a cheap cooling solution, since after you buy this heatsink, your still going to need to buy the GPU cooler too, and you going to spend over $80 bucks before your done, which it's going to be tough to justify for some people especially since the overall performance with both of these products installed isn't anything spectacular.

But if you want a quieter system or need to run you're card a few degrees cooler to help with a big overclock, then this might just be the product for you. Both of these products perform as advertised and do the job that not many other coolers on the market can do.

 

Pros:

  • Memory Temperatures Dropped Noticeably
  • Compatible with 8800GTS and 8800GTX Graphics Cards

 

Cons:

  • Price (~$30.00 USD)

 

BCCRating

 

We'd like to thank Zalman for allowing us to review both the ZM-RHS88 and the VF1000 LED. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.