Author: Frank Stroupe
The 9900LED doesn’t put out a lot of light, it has a low-level blue glow, just enough to highlight it in a windowed case.
Though I’ve been around PCs since their beginning, I’ve only been building for just over seven years. But in that time, I’ve seen enough hardware that I really take note of truly innovative products, they get fewer and fewer as time goes on. The Zalman CNPS 9900LED is definitely innovative enough to hold my attention. As I mentioned earlier, I love the look of shiny copper in a PC case, the more the better. The 9900LED is by far the largest chunk of copper I have ever placed in my rig. I started to count the fins, but I got tired by halfway through the first set.
And not only does the 9900LED look sharp, it does a good job. My 61C load temp was a full 11C lower than the Noctua cooler I previously tested, at the same overclock and VCORE.
The fan was silent until the fan speed reached just below 1800RPM, by then the CPU was over 50C. Even then, the fan noise wasn’t obtrusive, just audible.
I guess the only issue I found with the CNPS 9900LED was the lack of a baseplate. 1.7 pounds is a lot of weight to distribute between only 4 screws. I’m really not worried about this rig as it never leaves my desk, but I think I would be a little afraid if this was a LAN party rig.
The Zalman CNPS 9900LED sells for $89.99 at my favorite online retailer which makes it the most expensive air CPU cooler they sell. At that price, even with its looks and performance, one has to make a tough decision to spend that kind of money on a cooler. But keep in mind if you are using a heavily overclocked i7, there are just a handful of effective coolers out there, and they all are expensive. ThinkComputers.org gives the Zalman CNPS 9900LED a 9 out of 10 score.
- Innovative design, 837 sq in of heat dissipation surface area
- Massive copper cooler looks sharp
- Fan is quiet except at the highest speeds
- Effectively cools a heavily overclocked i7
- Cooler is pretty heavy to be supported by only four screws
- Will be a tight fit in any midtower, will likely not fit in some
- Rather pricey