Zalman VF1000 LED & RHS88

Zalman VF1000 LED & RHS88

Value & Conclusion »

Performance

In order to test how this cooler performs I ran 3DMark06 for an hour and then made a bench round where I recorded the peak temperature of the card. The cooler I will be benching the VF1000 LED against is the standard NVIDIA dual slot cooler provided with almost every 8800GTS card on the market today.
When benching the stock cooler I turned up the fan's RPM by adjusting the fan duty cycle in Rivatuner. All the tests were done in a room where the room temperature was 20° Celsius. All of the temperature data was collected with RivaTuner v2.02.

When benching the VF1000 LED I made two runs one with the fan at low and one with the fan at high. The tests of the VF1000 LED were spread out over two days and obtained by using the exact same methodology.

Bench system specifications:
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 @ 3.2 GHz with Scythe Infinity plus an extra 120 mm fan.
  • 2 x 1GB Cell Shock DDR2-1000 @ CL4-4-4-12 with active cooling.
  • 36 GB Western Digital Raptor.
  • Inno3D 8800GTS (320 MB version) @ 648 MHz Core and 1000 MHz RAM.
  • Antec P182 with a 120 mm medium performance intake fan and two Antec Tricool fans at medium RPM pulling air out of the case.

Nothing left to say but "Wow". The VF1000 LED manages to cool the GPU core to the same temperatures as the stock cooler did at 100% duty cycle, even with the VF1000 LED's fan set at "low". The VF1000 LED is inaudible at this setting which is more than I can say about the stock cooler. With the stock cooler at 100% duty cycle it can easily be heard even through the three layer design of the Antec P182's panels. At 100% duty cycle the stock cooler becomes a pest to be in the room with, the small radial fan screams and the amount of air turbulence makes it dominate every other sound in your room. So the VF1000 LED is a pleasant room mate, and with the fan at "low" it's definitely worthy of being installed in a low noise system.
The stock cooler does a marginally better job at keeping the temperatures of the card low at idle, but the moment you fire up some graphic intensive game or benchmark the VF1000 LED catches up even at "low" fan speed.

Even with the side panel off and all the other fans shut down in my system I could barely hear the VF1000 LED with the 80 mm fan at low setting. All the noise the system was emitting was just a low humming, no high pitched fan noise or anything of the sort.

With the fan of the VF1000 LED at high the sound of it becomes more audible, but is still nowhere near the sound level of the stock cooler even at 50% duty cycle. All in all the VF1000 LED does a good job at keeping the core at a decent temperature without making too much noise. And with the fan at low it becomes almost completely silent. The fact that this cooler can keep the rather hot 8800 GTS cool even with the 80 mm fan only being given about 7V is really a testament to the design of the cooler. Most coolers need a lot of airflow over the fins in order to be effective, but due to the design of the VF1000 LED it can dissipate heat even without as much air going around the fins.


The ambient temperature of the card is measured by another on-board sensor located of the GPU. This means that you can get an idea about how hot the components around the GPU are running. With the VF1000 LED's fan at the low setting the surrounding components run a little hotter than they did with the stock cooler on. This is probably due to the fact that the RHS88 has trouble getting rid of the heat with the fan only at low, but still the temperatures are within an acceptable range far away from where the temperatures will decrease the lifespan of the product.

Overall the cooler does a really good job at cooling both the GPU and the surrounding components. One of the things that I really like about the VF1000 LED is the noise or to be exact the lack of it. This is one of the quietest VGA card coolers capable of cooling 8800-series cards. At low the fan is almost inaudible which is really neat if you plan on building a quiet system. When you turn the knob on the fan mate to the high setting, the fan does make considerably more noise, but it's still way more quiet than the stock cooler and does a considerably better job at cooling the card. Unfortunately the temperatures weren't the limiting factor holding me back from getting more MHz out of the RAM or the core. My 8800GTS can't get over the 648 MHz mark without additional voltage, but who knows I might just voltmod the card know that I have installed such a fantastic cooler.
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