We measured the acoustic performance of our today’s testing participants in the entire rotation speed range of their fans. The results are summed up on the following graph:
As you can see from the graph, Zalman CNPS7X LED is the quietest of all testing participants. Its fan is acoustically comfortable at up to 1550 RPM and quiet at up to 1290 RPM. Both other coolers – Thermalright True Spirit and Zalman CNPS10X Performa – are about equally noisy, but the former is quieter in the most popular speed range (below 1100 RPM).
Zalman CNPS7X LED stands out due to its small size, unique looks and LED highlighting of the fan, universal design and very simple installation procedure, as well as very low noise at minimal and average fan speed. At the same time, the new Zalman cooler was moderately efficient for a cooler with a 40-dollar price tag. It looks like three heatpipes with 6 mm diameter (even though composite ones with improved efficiency) are not enough to ensure proper cooling of contemporary processors. Moreover, these heatpipes also form part of the base in Zalman CNPS7X LED, but there are very large gaps between them, which imposes additional limitations on their potential. It would be fair to say that Zalman CNPS7X LED will suit those who are looking for a cooler below 135 mm tall and who do not hope to get super-efficient cooling at the lowest possible price.
As for Thermalright True Spirit, things are totally different in this case. While it is only 25 mm taller than the Zalman cooler, it is much more efficient. For as little as $30 this cooler will ensure that even a seriously overclocked processor will be cooled properly under heaviest operational loads. Yes, we do remember that True Spirit is not so new anymore, but Thermalright didn’t just copy the cooler of their daughter company, Cogage. They actually equipped it with enhanced retention compatible with all contemporary processors and at the same time lowered the price by $10, and ended up with a cooler offering unprecedented combination of cost and efficiency. However, there is one thing we could point out as a drawback: Thermalright could have included a second set of wire clips for the cooling fan among the bundled accessories.