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Cooling Efficiency and Acoustic Performance

Cooling Efficiency Tests

You can check out the test results in the following table and diagram:

Click to enlarge

First of all, let’s check out the coolers’ performance with the default fans. In this case the least efficient one is Zaward Vapor120. Even at maximum rotation speed of its default fan it cools the CPU 2°C less than Zalman CNPS10X Performa in moderate fan speed mode at 1100 RPM. I have to say that both new coolers proved to depend a lot on the rotation speed of their fans. The cooling efficiency of Zaward Vapor120 increases by 7°C when we raise its fan speed from 1100 to 2050 RPM. At the same time, even at maximum speed of a single default fan and at pretty high level of noise Zalman CNPS10X Performa can at best catch up with Noctua super-cooler in quiet mode.

Now let’s compare two new coolers against their direct competitors all tested with identical Thermalright fans. The first thing you should pay attention to, is the fact that the cooling efficiency of Zaward Vapor120 increases once you simply replace the default dimpled fan with a Thermalright TR-FDB one. At the  same speed Vapor120 drops the peak processor temperature by 4°C, which allows us to conclude that its original fan is not effective enough. The interesting thing is that Zalman CNPS10X Performa with an alternative fan in quiet mode at 1100 RPM outperforms itself with the default fan by 1°C, while at maximum rotation speed the results are equal. With a second fan installed for air exhaust improves the cooling efficiency of both Z-coolers by 5°C except the quiet mode on Vapor120.

As for the comparison between the new coolers and their competitors, as we have expected, Vapor120 was defeated by Alpenföhn Nordwand. The advantage of the cooler with a cool Scandinavian name varies between 3 and 7 °C. On the contrary, Zalman CNPS10X Performa, it outperforms the Flex model by 2-4 °C in all modes. Taking into account all results obtained previously on Extreme and Quiet Zalman CNPS10X models, we can conclude that Performa solution is the best cooler of the four. We wish we could also compare the Extreme and Performa versions directly against one another, but unfortunately, we no longer had the former at the time of tests.

After that both today’s heroes were tested during maximum CPU overclocking. Both: Zaward and Zalman coolers, were tested inside a closed system case with two Thermalright TR-FDB fans at their maximum speed. As a result, Vapor120 could have Core i7-920 run stably at 3950 MHz at 1.35 V Vcore and peak temperature of 84°C, while CNPS10X Performa allowed us to push our CPU almost to the very ultimate top: it hit 4030 MHz at 1.375 V core voltage and 78°C temperature.

Zaward Vapor120 
(2x2050 RPM)

Zalman CNPS10X Perfoma 
(2x2050 RPM)

In moderate acoustic mode when both fans run at 1100 RPM, Zaward Vapor120 allows the processor to remain stable at 3900 MHz frequency and 1.3375 V core voltage when the peak temperature reaches 85°C. as for Zalman CNPS10X Performa coped with a CPU overclocked to 3990 MHz that was working at 1.36875 V core voltage and maximum temperature of the hottest core at 83°C:

I would like to add that in the same conditions Noctua NH-D14 with two 140 mm fans at 900 RPM cools the CPU 5°C better:

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