This may seem like a small thing, but it was the curved part of the heat pipes that prevented me from installing the Zalman CNPS8000 on an ABIT AN8 SLI mainboard (nForce4 SLI, Socket 939) in one of the two possible positions because the memory modules in Slots 1 and 2 got in the cooler’s way. It’s of course no problem to move the memory into Slots 3 and 4, but the AMD Athlon 64’s memory controller is known to be vary capricious about fine settings of memory timings which differ for different slots (this is true for nForce4-based platforms, at least) and putting your memory into Slots 3 and 4 isn’t the best solution if you want to have maximum performance.
Platforms with the LGA775 socket offer twice the freedom in choosing the cooler orientation, but you may find that capacitors or heatsinks near the socket restrict your choice. For example, when we took an ABIT AA8 DuraMAX mainboard (i925XE, LGA775), it was the chipset’s heatsink that acted as an obstacle to installing the CNPS8000 in one of the possible positions. So, if you are going to choose this cooler, make sure nothing will prevent its installation on your particular mainboard.
The cooler’s base is ideally flat and finished, but not to a mirror shine.
The Zalman CNPS800 can be installed on LGA775 and Socket 754, 939 and 940. I guess it is not surprising anymore that modern coolers do not support Socket A (462), but it’s the first time I see a cooler that is not compatible with Socket 478. This is quite logical, though, since older sockets get less attention nowadays, so I don’t count the lack of support for Socket 478 among the CNPS8000’s drawbacks. The new Socket AM2 is not on the list, either, but I dare suppose the cooler is compatible with it.
Except for the above-mentioned problems with the dimensions, it is in fact very easy to install the Zalman CNPS8000 on Socket 939. You don’t need any tools. Just attach the clips to the cooler’s base and hitch it to the standard plastic frame of the CPU socket.
The whole procedure is going to take a mere 2-3 minutes of your time, even counting in the time you’ll unpack the cooler. But if you want to remove the CNPS8000 from the processor, you’ll have to take a wide flat screwdriver and press with it down on a special jut in the fastening.
It’s all even simpler with LGA775, but longer because you have to take the mainboard out of the system case to fasten a special back-plate to it. Then you use the enclosed LGA775 fastener and screw it to the back-plate with a cross-head screwdriver.
You’ll learn about the specification and efficiency of the Zalman CNPS8000 in the next sections of the review. Right now let’s take a look at a cooler that came to our labs from Japan. It’s called Scythe Mine.