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Zalman CNPS9900 MAX

The CNPS9900 MAX continues Zalman’s famous series of coolers with radial heatsinks and may even turn out to be its final product. The last cooler with this design that we tested was the Zalman CNPS9900 LED. And that was over two years ago. That cooler didn’t show anything exceptional, so let’s see if the new CNPS9900 MAX can do any better.

It comes in a large and pretty box with a cutout through which you can see some of its heatsink.


On the other sides of the box you can find product specs and some other information. Besides the cooler, the box contains the following accessories:

Included into the box is the highly efficient Zalman ZM-STG2 thermal grease (8 W/K·m) that we tested recently.

The Korean firm should be commended for the high-quality product packaging. Besides being fixed within a rather robust plastic shell, the cooler also has a protective plastic ring around its fan and heatsink.


As opposed to most other coolers, the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX is manufactured in Korea rather than China. Its recommended price is $79.9 which is twice the price of the Arctic Freezer 13.

The CNPS9900 MAX hasn’t changed fundamentally in design from its predecessor. It consists of two radial sections with a fan fitted in between.



The sections are not covered with a plastic casing as before. And there is now a slim chrome line going along each of them, adding more style to the cooler's appearance.

Well, the key change is in the type of the heat pipes. The new cooler has composite pipes with a special coating on the inside that facilitates the movement of the evaporated liquid.

Thus, the heat from the cold end of the heat pipe returns to the hot end along both the capillary channels and that coating. Zalman claims that such pipes are 1.5 times as effective as ordinary ones. That's good but the CNPS9900 MAX has only three pipes which are but 6 millimeters in diameter, rather than 8 millimeters as we might have expected. Using only three heat pipes in a cooler of such a high class and price doesn’t seem appropriate to me, even though the company claims that the CNPS9900 MAX can cope with CPUs that produce up to 300 watts of heat. Well, we’ll check out its performance shortly.

The size and weight of the CNPS9900 MAX have changed but slightly and are 94x131x152 millimeters and 755 grams. By the way, the weight is rather light for a copper cooler of that size. This must be due to the slim fins which are no thicker than 0.25 millimeters. The fins are 1 to 2.5 millimeters apart from each other.


One heatsink section is still thicker than the other and has two pipes rather than one. The two sections are rather far apart from each other, by the way.


It is clear that the manufacturer might have made the heatsink sections wider to increase their useful area (which is 5402 square centimeters now) or installed a thicker fan for higher efficiency at low speeds and low noise. As you can see, the CNPS9900 MAX implements none of that.

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