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Performance

Despite the improper contact between the ZEROtherm cooler and the GPU heat-spreaders on both tested graphics cards as seen from the horrific thermal paste imprints, CoolMaxx 4000 did a good job cooling Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 even in FurMark, while the original cooler of this graphics card is unable to handle FurMark load:

In this respect we are mostly interested not really in the difference in cooling efficiency, but rather in the mere fact that ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 can, in fact, cool a graphics card with an uneven base surface like that. Moreover, ZEROtherm cooler not only successfully competed against the original Gigabyte cooler, but also ensured stable graphics card operation in FurMark, which loads the cards very heavily, so that the cards may even stop working at all.

As for the CoolMaxx 4000 performance with an overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti, here ZEROtherm’s performance was significantly more modest. In fact, the cooler passed the test with an overclocked graphics card only when both of its fans rotated at their maximum speed and only in the gaming mode:


ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000
(2710 RPM x2)

Inno3D iChiLL
(1500 RPM x2)

Inno3D iChiLL (3400 RPM x2)
 

In this case the GPU temperature reached 81°C, so it didn’t make much sense to launch FurMark after that, as the outcome was quite predictable. I also have to add that the original cooler of the Inno3D iChiLL GTX 560 Ti graphics card turned out 7°C more efficient than ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 at quiet 1500 RPM and as much as 16°C more efficient at maximum 3400 RPM. We are going to talk more about it in our next review.

As for the acoustic performance of the new ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000, we can say that we could hear this cooler at about 1700 RPM against the background of our fairly quiet system, but up until 2000-2100 RPM the noise remains within the acoustic comfort zone. I doubt that anyone will ever use it at maximum 2700 RPM fan speed, because the noise in this case is pretty loud. At the same time, both of its 80 mm fans didn’t produce any parasitic noises during work, and the heatsink plates didn’t generate any jingling sounds.

Conclusion

Our today’s review of the new ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 VGA cooler left very ambiguous impressions. On the one hand, the results obtained with GeForce GTX 560 indicate clearly that the cooler will cope perfectly fine with GeForce GTS 450 and GTX 460, as promised in the specifications. Especially, since it cooled more powerful graphics accelerators with its uneven base without rally breaking a sweat. Moreover, the new cooler is very compact, easy to install and has bright fan LEDs, which will please modding fans for sure.

But on the other hand, we saw some very obvious quality issues in this ZEROtherm product and its compatibility with AMD Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850 graphics cards, which could use a cooler like that. Another drawback is the lack of a VRM heatsink among the bundled accessories. But the most unexpected thing is definitely the MSRP of CoolMaxx 4000 set at $54.90. In our opinion, a cooler of this size and such small list of compatible products shouldn’t be priced at more than $30. At this time, however, ZEROtherm CoolMaxx 4000 will have really hard time finding its customers.

 
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