Zalman CNPS10X Flex
The Flex is shipped in a compact cardboard box with a picture of its heatsink on the face side and a description of its key features on the back.
The Zalman CNPS10X Flex kit contains all components necessary to install the cooler on any modern platform:
There is no fan in the kit, which is the flexibility of choice provided by the Flex. The user can choose the model and number of fans to use. The heatsink itself hardly differs from the two previous models in the CNPS10X series.
There are five copper heat pipes, 6 millimeters in diameter, soldered to the grooves of a copper base. The pipes carry 53 aluminum plates (133x74 millimeters large and 0.5 millimeters thick) placed at a distance of 1.8 millimeters from each other. The Extreme version of the cooler has 56 plates, 0.45 millimeters thick and placed 1.7 millimeters apart. The Quiet version has 45 plates, 0.45 millimeters thick and 2.4 millimeters apart. Thus, the Flex heatsink is something in between the Extreme and Quiet versions of Zalman’s CNPS10X. The central pack of 17 fins is anodized to match the cooler’s black plastic cap.
The small aluminum piece above the pipes can be easily removed, giving you the view of the grooves in the copper base and of the drops of solder at the places of contact.
As you can see in the photos, Zalman’s soldering is neat and high quality while the cooler’s sole is perfectly flat and polished off.
The cooler’s copper base measures 40x38 millimeters. It is no less than 2 millimeters thick under the heat pipes.
Like its predecessors, the Zalman CNPS10X Flex is compatible with all modern platforms, including LGA1156. The fasteners have been changed, though. Instead of flimsy plastic frames with clamping bars, we now have a versatile back-plate with movable ends and steel plates attached to the cooler’s base.
We guess this fastening is simpler, smaller but no less reliable than before. The only thing we may wish is that the fastening brackets were more rigid (thicker) and did not deform that much as you are screwing the cooler up to the CPU.
To install fan(s) on the heatsink, the Zalman CNPS10X Flex kit includes four soft strips with a gluey side and four wire brackets.
The installation guide does not say anything about the best way to orient the cooler, but we had better results with this orientation:
The cooler looks just as cute without the top plastic cap as with it, but we guess the heatsink would perform better if it had a few fins more instead of the cap. Such fins would be right in the way of the airflow from the fan(s). The Zalman CNPS10X Flex is manufactured in Korea and costs a mere $49, which is a low price for this brand.