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CPU Water-Block: Zalman ZM-WB4 Gold

The new water-block ZM-WB4 Gold is included into the box in a separate package. It can actually be bought separately. The transparent package allows you to scrutinize the thing without taking it out.

 

Besides the water-block and braces, there is a small box with accessories. The back side of that box shows the way to install the water-block on the supported CPU sockets.

Here’s everything you will find in the box:

  • Zalman ZM-WB4 Gold water-block
  • Back-plate for LGA775 mainboards
  • Back-plate for Socket AM2 and 754, 939, 940 mainboards
  • Plastic fastening frame for mounting the water-block on LGA775
  • Four braces
  • Screws, barrels, and cardboard spacers
  • Zalman CSL850 thermal grease
  • Sticker with Zalman logo
  • Two aluminum brackets for mounting the water-block on Socket 478
  • Installation guide

The water-block has a gold-sputtered copper base. It has a needle-shaped interior design with additional grooves in the base.

The needles are square in profile. This is easier to manufacture than cylindrical needles, but the circulation of liquid is worse with this design. There are a total of 196 needles (12 x 12) placed 1mm apart, the width of one side is about 1mm. The plate is covered from above with a transparent polycarbonate cap with two fittings. The specification says the fittings are compatible with the following pipe diameters: 14x10mm, 13x10mm, 13x9mm, 12x9mm, 12x8mm, 11x8mm, 10x8mm (internal x external diameter). Two threaded barrels are inserted into the polycarbonate on both sides of the central fitting. These are necessary for attaching mounting clips. The water-block weighs a mere 135g.

Its base is absolutely flat and finished perfectly:

The included manual describes the installation process thoroughly, but the procedure is anyway very simple and intuitive. The Zalman ZM-WB4 Gold can be installed on every modern CPU socket, save for the hopelessly outdated Socket A (462). You should first attach adjustable-length fastening clips to the water-block and then fasten them with included screws either to the plastic LGA775 frame you have installed beforehand (you need to take the mainboard out of the system case for that) or to the back-plate barrels on Socket 754/939/940. A pressure clip fastened to the plastic socket frame is used to mount the water-block on Socket AM2.

Installed on an LGA775 mainboard, the water-block looks like this:

Thanks to symmetrical holes around LGA775 the water-block can be oriented freely, but only one orientation is possible for mainboards for K8 CPUs. This is a significant drawback I’ll tell you more about in the Assembly section below. Here is a link to the water-block installation guide (a PDF file).

 
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