The Zalman CNPS7700-Cu LED is one of the largest heatsinks in production by this Korean manufacturer, and like most Zalman coolers it is squarely aimed at low noise operation in a quiet PC. The CNPS7700-Cu LED is an extension of the CNPS7700-Cu series, and the only thing that separate the two is a red LED illuminated fan. The heatsink is compatible with socket 478 & 775 Intel Pentium and Core 2 Duo processors, and socket 754/939/940 AMD Athlon64 chips. Socket AM2 processors are not supported.
Zalman assemble the CNPS7700-Cu LED heatsink from about 60 individual copper fins which are joined together at the center; the metal fins are compressed under great pressure and bolted firmly together to create the resulting heatsink shape, in a form of metal origami.
The CNPS7700-CU LED is Zalman's famed 'flower' heatsink technology at its best, and it's a method of manufacturing that offers very direct thermal pathways between the cooling fins and heat source. Each individual copper fin is in direct contact with the CPU, and that dramatically reduces elements of thermal resistance from entering into the equation. Coupled with a large slow moving fan, the Zalman CNPS7700-Cu LED uses its sheer amount of surface area, and large volume of air, to cool itself quietly above all else.
Where a 90mm fan was used on the CNPS7000-series, the 918gram CNPS7700-CU LED has a 25x120x120mm fan spinning at 1000-2000RPM. While abundant amounts of copper have always been looked upon favorably in heatsink, the abundance of heavy metal does push the CNPS7700-Cu LED pretty close to 1 Kilo in weight.
In typical Zalman fashion, the CNPS7700-Cu LED is a low noise heatsink that can be made even quieter with the use of the included Zalman FanMate 2 fan speed controller. When used, the Fanmate 2 drops the speed of the integrated 120mm fan impeller from 2000RPM to 1000RPM, by varying the voltage from 11V to 5V and in so doing it is made barely audible.
The CNPS7700-Cu LED heatsink comes with mounting brackets for Intel Pentium D/Core 2 Duo, and AMD Athlon64 processors. This means if you plan on upgrading from a Pentium D to an Athlon64 processor in the near future you won't have to buy a whole new heatsink at a later date.
As the Zalman CNPS7700-Cu LED is both a large and heavy copper heatsink, Zalman has developed a strong retention system for it. Spring clips are out, and in their place are two 7mm wide aluminum bars for socket 478 processors, and screw-in-place solutions for Socket 775 and Socket 754/939/940 processors.
The two aluminum bars slide into the clip spaces in a standard Pentium 4 socket 478 heatsink retention frame, after which the entire heatsink is dropped into the socket and screwed down in place. An integrated flat spring mechanism holds the heatsink down and applies the correct mounting pressure to the processor core. With socket 775 Intel processors, a special heatsink retention frame is first installed on the motherboard, before the CNPS7700-Cu LED is attached to it with a pair of screws.
With the Socket 754/939/940 system, two small standoffs screw into the standard metal support plate on every Athlon64 motherboard. The spring clip on the CNPS7700-Cu LED then firmly screws into each mounting post. Rounding out the list of included items are plenty of paper washers to protect the motherboard PCB, and a small tube of thermal compound.
Zalman Fanmate 2 Fan Speed Controller
Zalman bundle in a manual fan speed controller with just about every heatsink it sells these days. The Fanmate 2 gives users an adjustable dial to control the speed of a fan connected to the small device, which is great for individually dialing down the speed of certain fans to suit your environment. The Fanmate 2 unit is rated for fans drawing up to 6W power, and will output ~11V to 5V depending on where the dial is set to. Measuring 70 x 26 x 26mm in size, the black plastic Fanmate 2 box controls a single fan via a 3-pin power connector. It does not support 4-pin PWM fans.
At the Fanmate 2's maximum speed setting (loudest noise, fastest RPM) the unit offers a slight amount of resistance so the fan will not spin quite as fast as if it were not attached (the difference is about 5%). On the lowest speed setting (quietest noise, lowest RPM) the fan should be running essentially silently with just 5V being delivered. It is important to only use the Fanmate 2 with good quality fans that can restart by themselves if the fan stalls.
FrostyTech's Test Methodologies are outlined in detail here if you care to know what equipment is used, and the parameters under which the tests are conducted. Now let's move forward and take a closer look at this heatsink, its acoustic characteristics, and of course it performance in the thermal tests!
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