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Zalman CNPS5X cooler review


This time we are testing the Zalman CNPS5X which has a tower design, three U-shaped heat pipes and a 92mm fan.

Note that Zalman offers two coolers with similar names, Zalman CNPS5X and CNPS5X SZ. The main difference is that the "SZ" model is only sold in the US and its fan uses a hydraulic bearing, while the other model is distributed elsewhere and uses a conventional bearing.

The CNPS5X is a tower fan that resembles the Zalman CNPS8000A CPU fan. Their heatsinks and fans are almost identical, but the CNPS8000A has a classic horizontal design, while the CNPS5X has a tower heatsink.

Contents of delivery

Zalman CNPS5X comes in a white box.

The package includes the fan itself, a backplate for Intel processors, a thermal interface and installation instructions. Nothing extra.


The black 92mm fan has plastic inserts on the sides to absorb vibration and has a four-pin connector, which means it supports PWM speed control.

If you look from above, you will notice that the top fins of the radiator are smaller than those in the middle. The heat sink of the radiator is made entirely of copper, the tubes are in special grooves and do not have direct contact.

Installing a cooler

Mounting the Zalman CNPS5X on AMD processors is simple: you just need to hook the bracket on both sides, for this there is a special plate on the board. For Intel processors, you must install the plastic plate on the back of the motherboard using the existing holes. It can be noted that when installed on some mat. motherboards may have problems with latches, as they will be interfered with by the chipset heatsink. But this problem will arise only if you follow the instructions, in fact, the cooler can be in all four positions


We tested the cooler with a Core i7 860 (quad core, 2.8 GHz) CPU, socket 1156 with 95 W TDP. To get more heat dissipation, we overclocked it to 3.3 GHz (150 MHz base oscillator and 22x multiplier), keeping the standard voltage (Vcore). This frequency was the highest possible and at the same time completely stable on a given cooling. We measured noise and temperature with the CPU inactive and under full load. To get 100% CPU utilization across all threads, we used Prime 95 and compared the tested cooler with Intel stock cooler with a copper base (sold with the CPU). The temperature was read by the SpeedFan program using the arithmetic average of all thermal sensors in the processor. During the tests, the left panel of the system unit was opened. The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured by a digital sound level meter with a sensor located 10 cm from the cooler. All other fans were turned off so as not to affect the results. This testing was done for comparison purposes only, because an accurate SPL measurement must be done in an acoustically isolated room with no other noise sources, which is almost impossible.

Hardware Configuration

Processor: Core i7 860

Motherboard: P55A-UD6

Memory: Markvision 2 GB (DDR3-1333 / PC3-10700 with 9-9-9-22 timings),

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB

Video card: Zotac GTS GeForce 250

Video Resolution: 1680x1050

monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 2232 BW Plus

Power supply: Seventeam ST-550P-AM

System unit case: 3RSystem L-1100 T.REX

Operating System Configuration

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Software used



Our tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. All measurements were taken with the CPU idle and under full load. On coolers with an integrated controller, the fan was set at the minimum speed during the inactive test and at the maximum speed during the full load test.The lower the difference, the better the cooler performance.

Main Specifications

The main features of Zalman CNPS5X CPU Cooler include:

Compatibility: Socket 775, 1155, 1156, AM2, AM2 +, AM3, 939, and 754

Radiator fins: Aluminum

Base: Copper

Heating media: Three 6mm copper heat pipes

Fan: 92mm

Cooler rated speed: 2 800 rpm

Cooler airflow: NA

Maximum power consumption: NA

Nominal noise level: 32 dBA

Weight: 320 g

More information: //


At first, we didn't expect the Zalman CNPS5X to deliver good performance. First, because it is smaller and lighter than most of the good performance coolers we've tested. Secondly, because its heatsink is very similar to the one we saw with the CNPS8000A, which did not perform well. However, the CNPS5X surprised us by performing in much the same way as some large, heavy coolers.

It is also relatively quiet and inexpensive. Its main problem is a compatibility issue: the part that contains the screws is too long and can be blocked by the chipset heatsink or other parts of the motherboard, and you could even damage your motherboard if you are not aware of this problem.

In any case, the Zalman CNPS5X is a cooler with good performance and a good price / quality ratio.