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Acoustic Performance

The following diagram shows the amount of noise produced by the tested coolers:

Compared to the Thermalright TY-140, the fans of the three other coolers perform quite well. Of course, the two new products and the Zalman CNPS10X Performa are inferior to the Thermalright Archon in terms of maximum noise, but the Arctic Freezer is competitive up to 1800 RPM, the CNPS9900 MAX up to 1350 RPM and the CNPS10X Performa, which has a nonlinear correlation between noise and speed, remains competitive to the leader up to a fan speed of 1450 RPM.

When we talk about the comfortable level of noise, the speeds are lower, of course. It is 1480 RPM for the Arctic Freezer 13, about 1000 RPM for the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX and about 1070 RPM for the Zalman CNPS10X Performa. Subjectively, the 92mm fan of the Arctic Freezer 13 is the most agreeable to the ear among the four. It can increase its speed smoothly, without any rattle, vibrations or anything. The fan of the CNPS9900 MAX is good, too. Despite its large diameter and the fastening system that might arouse one’s apprehensions, it does not produce any unwanted sounds, either. You can only hear the flow of the air as it is being pumped with the impeller’s 11 blades.


Cutting it short, there are now two more CPU coolers available. The new products can hardly be of interest to extreme enthusiasts and definitely do not suit much for people who assemble quiet computers. Anyway, they sell already and that's what they offer:

The Arctic Freezer 13 is a $39.80 cooler that has a simple multiplatform fastening mechanism which allows installing it without taking the mainboard out of the system case. It is compact, supports PWM-based fan speed control, has a rather low level of noise and average efficiency, and comes with Arctic MX-4 thermal grease.

The larger Zalman CNPS9900 MAX is twice as expensive as the Arctic Freezer 13. It has a multiplatform fastening mechanism, too. Besides an original exterior design and pretty highlighting, it delivers good performance at a moderate level of noise. This cooler might be made more effective with certain improvements but the Korean company will hardly develop this product line any further. Judging by the name of the product, they think they have reached the maximum of its potential.

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