We would like to thank Zalman for supplying the review sample.
Features: (as listed by the manufacturer)
Powerful Cooling Performance of up to 300W
Axial/Sintered Composite Heat Pipes
Quiet 135mm Blue/Red LED Fan (We're reviewing the red one, here at TPU)
Black-Pearl Nickel Plating
PWM/Voltage Fan Speed Control
High Performance Super Thermal Grease ZM-STG2
Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775
AMD AM3, AM2+, AM2
94(L) x 131(W) x 152(H)mm
100% Nickel-plated Copper
3x 6 mm, Nickel-plated Copper
135 x 135 x 25mm
900~1,700 rpm ± 10%
Maximum Air Flow:
4-pin, supports PWM
Motherboard PWM based, RC7P module provides Voltage-based control
Package and Contents
After spending some time with normal tower-type coolers, we head into Zalman territory with the CNPS9900 MAX. Zalman's cooler comes in a sporty-looking packaging. There is a front-thru-right size cutout that gives you a three-dimensional view of the heatsink. The front bears the CNPS9900 MAX logo, and lists out the most important features. It also lets you know upfront if it's the red LED variant or the blue one. Ours is the red one. Most of the right side is spent in displaying a "powerful cooling performance" caption, some space is lost to the cutout, and four award badges are brandished. On the left side, there's quite some activity. There a graphic is showing you the advantage of the "Composite Heatpipe" used in this cooler, socket and CPU compatibility, and a table with detailed specifications. The back side elaborates the bullet-point features on the front with pictures, and some more.
Upon opening the box, there's a plastic shell holding the heatsink, and a compartment holding the accessories in a packet, the large back-plate loose, and the instruction leaflet.
The accessories packet contains:
A sachet containing all the screws, nuts and bolts you’ll need
Separate retention plates for Intel and AMD sockets
An Allen key to fasten the main screws
Double-sided tape square, loading block (not required for LGA1156/LGA1366 installations)
A syringe with Zalman ZM-STG2 Performance thermal compound
A closer look
Zalman heatsinks invoke a sense of nostalgia. To many who have followed the CPU cooler industry for long enough, it seems like tower-type coolers with aluminum fin towers have overtaken Zalman's copper-fin tunnel type CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) design, on coolers such as the CNPS 9500 and CNPS 9700. The CNPS 9900 is essentially an evolution of this design, with a radical change in the positioning of the fan. From the CPU base emerge three heat pipes, which make an omega (Ω) shaped loop each. Nickel-plated copper fins propagate along the loop making up the fin array, where all the heat is dissipated to air.
Between two such fin arrays, is nested a large 135 mm LED-illuminated fan. The two arrays are dissimilar in size. The array from which the fan draws in air is thinner, only one heat pipe loop passes through it. The fan blows air onto the larger array, through which two heat pipe loops pass through.
The 135 mm fan stays nested between the two arrays. You can detach it for cleaning by pulling out the four screws on the base plate. It is illuminated to a bloody-red color. Visually it should suit motherboards with black+red color schemes, and one or more AMD Radeon graphics cards well.
The fan uses a standard 4-pin power header that allows PWM-based speed control. You can also place the RC7P cable, which is an intermediate cable with a resistor, to slow down the fan using voltage drop.
Zalman CNPS 9900 uses three nickel-plated copper heatpipes. The manufacturer is claiming to use a new composite inner wall of the heatpipe that combines a sintered metal layer with axial grooves to improve a heat transfer by a rated 50%. Here, take some salt.
The CNPS 9900 uses a nickel-plated copper base plate which has a mirror finish. Our sample came with quite some fingerprints.