As crazy as it may sound, and it certainly seems crazy to me seeing the actual number, this is the nineteenth evaluation and review of a CPU/GPU cooler in the last year and few months. I knew it was quite a few, but probably wouldn’t have guessed quite that many. Put that together with coolers I have purchased, or already owned, and I have had the good fortune of seeing quite a few different designs and theories in what makes a better cooler. Of course, this also led me to be able to answer a question more perplexing than “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”, which is “can one person have enough spare CPU coolers to fill the shipping box of a full tower case?” In this instance, the case (and shipping box) is the mammoth Fractal Design Define XL, and the answer is “yes, and there are still a bunch in the closet and desk that didn’t fit”.
Limiting the discussion to only air coolers, I've been hit with just about every variation - heat pipe arrays, layouts, stacked pipes, slotted fins, pitted fins, bent fins, closed fins, spiral fins, direct contact, hovering three feet over the CPU’s grave contact, fast fans, slow fans, easy and intuitive mounting systems, mounting systems that are literally physically impossible to mount, clips, snaps, screws, allens…..and every single one of these comes with a detailed explanation of how it makes for better cooling. Though, I must admit, I admire the honesty of one manufacturer whose explanation of their cooling advantage was (paraphrased) “It looks damned good doing it”. There is no question that 75% of the “advantages” that I get presented with make only the vaguest amount of highly disputable sense. Now I am staring at the Zalman CNPS 11X Extreme CPU Cooler and its little fins and V-Shaped design, and I am looking at the explanation of this advantage and it actually makes perfect sense.
The Zalman CNPS 11X Extreme CPU Cooler sports a very interesting and unique V-Shaped design. This configuration allows the Zalman CNPS 11X Extreme CPU Cooler to channel more air directly and evenly over the cooler’s heat pipes. Handling the air movement for the CNPS 11X Extreme is a 120mm PWM fan, capable of speeds from 1000-1950rpm, that maintains a quiet 19-33 dBA sound level and blue LED for eye appeal. Adding to the look of the CNPS 11X Extreme is black pearl nickel plating over the copper heat sink array and heat pipes. The contact plate is polished to a mirror finish for best direct contact. The Zalman CNPS 11X Extreme is flexible, with mounts included for Intel 775/1155/1156/1366 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+. Zalman also includes a tube of their new ZM-STG2 Thermal Grease in the package.