Zalman ZM80-HP VGA Heatpipe Cooler Review
Recently I was looking around at the heatsinks &
cooling gear of a local computer store to see if they had anything new and
interesting. Aside from the dozen or so CPU heatsinks sitting on the shelves were a few
items for cooling video cards, including the standard assortment VGA card
slot coolers (don't bother, they are a waste of money) and a few BGA fan sinks from
Thermaltake. As I stood looking at this assortment of heatsinks and fans it
struck me first off that there are very few companies actively making cooling
gear for videocards, and secondly that there is only one I know of making
silent cooling gear for videocards.
That one company is Zalman Tech Co. of Korea, and of the five models of silent VGA coolers they have produced, only the recently
released heatpipe series have captivated the mass attention of consumers.
The Zalman ZM80-HP was
one of the first two coolers to be introduced, and subseqent models have
since been released which addressed the shortcomings of this specific model with
regard to the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro GPU. None the less, the ZM80-HP
should still be more than effective on nVidia GPU-based videocards such as the Albatron
Ti4600 which we'll be using today in our tests.
The ZM80-HP is clearly like no other VGA cooler - the large
front heatsinks stands out 15mm millimeters from the surface of the videocard fully
blocking off one entire PCI slot adjacent to the AGP slot. The gold-plated heatpipe has
a diameter of just 5mm, and it is only this thin thermal
conduit which connects the two sets of passive heatsinks together. Each
component in the ZM80-HP package is however, very well finished.
instruction booklet that comes with the unit is clearly written and illustrated pretty well with engineerig drawings.
In addition to the actual heatsinks, core mounting bases, and copper heatpipe, Zalman
also include a small phillips screw driver so you can assemble everything. A pack of spare parts
with spare tube of thermal compound are also included.
actually two sets of base mounts; one for ATI cards which have closely spaced
mounting holes, and the other for nVidia, SIS, etc. cards which have their
mounting holes spaced further apart. In the following examples we'll be using an
Albatron GF4Ti6400 as the main test bed since the mount with the ZM80-HP is not as
ideally suited for ATI R300 GPU's.
go further, I'm sure
many of you are wondering just how a small gold-plated copper tube can
"magically" move heat energy from the front of a video card to the rear...