Articles: Cooling

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Design and Functionality

The first impression from the ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 is that this cooler is fairly small. It is only 165 mm long, 95.4 mm wide and 31 mm thick. It looks very compact and neat:

CoolMaxx 4000 weighs 235 grams and features very simple structure. Copper heatpipes 6 mm in diameter come out of the copper base plate and hold aluminum heatsink plates, with two fans pushed inside the heatsink. That is why when you look at the cooler from the front, it may seem at first that it is a passive (fanless) cooling system.

The sides of the heatsink are covered by the plate edges bent downwards:


The entire heatsink is nickel-plated and looks very finished and stylish.

ZEROtherm has a name for their innovative design when the fans are “hidden” inside the heatsink body. They call it “Stealth Design”. The cooler does actually look very unusual:


The heatsink consists of 52 aluminum 0.3 mm plates with 1 mm gaps between them. Since the heatsink is pretty small and has fans inside, the plates are quite narrow and create small overall effective surface of less than 1000 cm2. In fact, this number is so small that the concerns about the cooling efficiency of this product become totally justified…

It is hard to tell how the heatsink plates are attached to the heatpipes and the heatpipes to the base, because we didn’t see any traces of soldering or thermal glue in any of the contact spots. Nevertheless, the heatsink is put together very solidly and the plates do not wobble even a bit.

There are three heatpipes in this cooler. Once of them actually pierces the base plate twice, so you may get the impression that there are, in fact, four of them.


Each heatpipe lies inside a groove and the thinnest part of the cooler base plate measures 2 mm.

The copper surface of the 50x50 mm base is finished very nicely, even though we can see some texture on it:

In reality the base surface is very smooth and you can’t feel the marks to the touch at all. However, the evenness of the base is seriously flawed. In fact, the base is not just uneven, but has a few different uneven spots. For example, here is the thermal paste imprint left by the GPU heat-spreader on Leadtek GeForce GTX 560 card:


And here is one from Inno3D GeForce GTX 560 Ti:

Note that the heat-spreaders of both these GPUs are even and produced perfect imprints on their original coolers (you are going to see them in our next article). The only card that gave us a good thermal paste imprint was AMD Radeon HD 6870:

However, ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 didn’t do anything for this particular card. We are going to explain why a little later.

ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 cooler comes with two 80x15 mm fans from PowerLogic:

PLA08015S12H fan model is based on the best UFO slide bearing. The fans rotation speed can be adjusted automatically using PWM method between 1300 and 2700 RPM generating 20-33 dBA of noise. The static pressure and airflow aren’t mentioned in the official technical specifications. The maximum power consumption for each fan shouldn’t exceed 2 W. the cooler comes with an adapter cable for the three-pin mainboard connector, if the standard four-pin connector turns out incompatible with your graphics card.

In conclusion I have to add that the fans feature red LEDs:

The LEDs cannot be turned off, and their brightness varies depending on the fan rotation speeds.

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