The design of Zalman CNPS7700-Cu is already very well known: Zalman has been using this type of heatsinks for about a couple of years now with the CNPS7000-series of coolers and most recently with its graphics cards cooling solutions. The round heatsinks with multitude of fins have deserved great reputation among end-users for their huge efficiency and Zalman’s smartly-engineered fans with reduced noise.
Still, huge coolers have a number of drawbacks. Firstly, they can hardly be installed into small cases and onto mainboards with PCB design that uses high capacitors with CPU power supply circuitry or any other tall components, such as MCH heat-spreaders. Being wider than the CNPS7000-series, the CNPS7700-series imposes additional requirements for sufficient amount of space inside the PC. The second drawback is weight: 700 – 900 grams is a lot and when you transport a system with such cooler inside, you have to be really careful (on the other hand, X-bit labs once had to fly our Intel Pentium 4 testbed to a different location and CNPS7000 along with our mainboard survived the flight fine, being held by some additional materials).
The base of Zalman CNPS7700-Cu is made of pure copper and is able to rapidly absorb heat from the CPU. Given that copper is one of the best conductors, and the fact that fins are basically parts of the base on the CNPS7700-Cu, efficiency of the model should be high.
Retention Mechanism, Installation Procedure
Zalman gives enough accessories for CNPS7700-Cu installation on different platforms, including clips and backplates for setting up the device with different platforms.
The retention mechanism of Zalman CNPS7700-Cu for Socket 478 resembles that used on other coolers from the company, thus, the installation method of the CNPS7700-Cu on mPGA478 chips remains unchanged. When it comes to newer platforms, namely Socket 754, Socket 939 and Socket 775, Zalman has to offer a set of backplates, nipples and bolts for extended reliability.
Zalman CNPS7700-Cu installation on a Socket 478 mainboard is not a problem and takes around 10-20 minutes. By contract, setting up the CNPS7700-Cu on any platform that requires installation of backplates – these are both AMD64 platforms and Socket 775 mainboards – takes much longer, as you need to remove the mainboard from the chassis provided that your computer chassis do not have a special opening on the backside for easier installation of backplates. The whole process is pretty much complex one, it still takes about half an hour. Still, this is not a drawback of Zalman CNPS7700-Cu, but a requirement of modern platforms.
Unfortunately, backplates Zalman supplies did not fit our Intel Desktop Board 925X well: wires from the capacitors that belong to CPU power supply circuitry did not match special openings on Zalman CNPS7700-Cu’s backplate. We had to “modify” those openings to be able to install the cooler.
It should be noted that Zalman provides exceptional manual that guides users through the process of installation.