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ZALMAN CNPS 9900MAX (300watt) 10 years old but new CPU Cooler

Ever since ZALMAN started making coolers and cases I’ve been using there products. They always seemed to work for me.
I had a ZALMAN 9700 CNPS all copper coooler (you know the one) when I built my first gaming rig back in 2008. It was an eVGA 680i SLI rev.2 with the GO stepping Q6600 and 2 eVGA 8800GT’s with the SLI ready 1200MHz ram in a NZXT Apollo with a NZXT 600watt PSU. I had the Q6600 OC’ed to 3.6GHz with no issues. I built this in 2008 and it still runs to this day. I found that if you pay for premium components, they’ll last. Especially 2nd revisions of MB’s, CPU’s and PSU’s.
Next build in 2012 was an ivy bridge 3770K in a AsRock Extreme4 MB cause the Extreme6 was having issues and the OC Formula wasn’t availible. This ones is still running as well. So when i needed a better cooler for the toasty 3770K i took the old ZALMAN 9700 and dropped it on the Extreme4 cause it had the extra fittings for 775 coolers. The old ZALMAN actually handled the 3770K at 4.6GHz, not passing 80°c at full load.
The time came where I wanted to upgrade and found that the i9 9900K was going to be a bad price to performance build so I went with last years i7 8700K cause I could get the motherboard, ram and CPU for the price of the i9 with a capable cooler . With the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 and 16GB’s of Gskill 3200MHz and the 8700K. I paid $520. I was definitely happy with that but I needed a cpu cooler and wanted to stay away from liquid. So I looked for the best ZALMAN cooler they made and came across a few but none said they could handle 300watts other than the 9900MAX.
I took a chance and found the $80 cooler brand new for $25 and hoped it would fit. It did. I used some old arctic silver 5 and was able to bench CPUZ at 5.3GHz with a single thread score of 630points and a multi score of 4600points. For the single thread, that is the best I’ve seen and the multi score was above the 7820X and other 8c16t chips. Next i went for Cinebench R15 and R20. For R15 I reached a top score of 1700 and in R20 I got a 4000 point result. With the crazy stress test out of the way I came back down to a solid 5GHz at 1.250v using a 10 year old ZALMAN cooler not passing 80°c. So when someone says (you need a liquid cooler for your cpu) you might want to give some of those old coolers a chance.
My Next purchase ill be looking for the 9900MAX DF (dual fan). I found one for $125 but not willing to pay that much. If anyone out there has or knows where one of those DF’s are for a reasonable price, let me know.


Haha nice share. Yeah those old pure copper heatinks are amazing. We mainly moved away because they are expensive to make… Now there are drawbacks to copper. With its superior density its hard to really saturate the cooler… this takes time heat conduction wise… However once you do aluminum actually has the advantage since radiating heat is inversely proportional to the density of the material. That’s why you see a lot of copper heat pipes and blocks going into an alumnimum set of fins. Its the best of both worlds and is cheap but its good to hear your success with those old and beautiful zalman heatsinks!

Nice read!
Yeah, old aircoolers from the days of analogue power stages can certainly kick ass.


I got to wonder: Would a sort of shroud or duct to guide the air the whole way through the cooler help?
Maybe you could put a cardboard or thin plastic shroud over yours and see if it helps.

$125 for a cooler, that is about what the NH-U12A costs, I can see myself spending that much on a cooler :wink:

Yeah i got this monster on my 8700K at 5GHz and it handles it.
When i saw that this had the special pipes on it. I knew it would work. Company’s are just now beginning to use this method.
ZALMAN was doing this 10 years ago. On frostytechs website this one is ranked 10th out of 150 coolers. I think the noctua nh-d14 or 15 is like 6th.

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