The Fan/Mounting Bracket
Remember before when I told you that the fan wasn't mounted to the heatsink? Well it's now time to see just how this system works.
The picture above shows how the assembly looks when it is removed from the box. It consists of a metal mounting bracket and a large fan. The fan itself measures in at 92mm x 92mm x 25mm, and will spin at a maximum speed of only 2800RPM. I was unable to find an airflow rating on the Zalman website, nor was it listed in the manual. Sound output is an ear pleasing 36dBA at maximum speed.
The fan is a very low-powered unit that sucks up a very meager 3.3 watts of juice. This means that there will be no fear of ruining a fan header on the motherboard when it is hooked up. It also means that we'll be using a fan that is comparatively less powerful than other competitors. To give you an idea what we're talking about here, consider that the mighty Delta (60mm @ 6000RPM) is pulling 4.0 watts of power. The larger 7000RPM model draws 6.6 watts of power, and the 80mm 68CFM fan pulls a thirsty 7.0 watts. We'll see how it handles the stresses that we'll throw at it.
Though it is formally referred to as Fan Mate and a "Adjustable Fan Speed Controller", what this little gem amounts to is a factory included Rheo-bus for a single device. You simply install it between the fan and the motherboard's header, and it allows you to adjust the fan speed by means of a very simple knob. Rotate it counter-clockwise and your fan slows down. Rotate it clockwise and it speeds up. This is how the Zalman company creates a very quiet cooling solution, by allowing you to turn down the fan speed so that it doesn't make noise. They do, however, recommend that you crank it up to max when running an overclocked system.
Another nice thing about this controller is that it works with any fan with a wattage rating of less than 6 watts. So if you get the motivation to install a more powerful fan, then you can still adjust the speeds of it to create a quieter system when you're not out fragging the world.
Installation of Fan Bracket
Now that the fan assembly is expanded, it is a little easier to see how it works…
It is affixed directly to the case of the system by means of three of the peripheral mounting screws. Simply remove the screws (without removing any cards installed), and then put the bracket over the mounting holes. Put the screws back in, and then tighten them down like normal. Depending on where in your system the processor lives, you can just attach the bracket to whichever holes are necessary to allow for the fan to be sitting over the heatsink. These mounting holes in the bracket are also slotted, so adjustments can be made to have the unit installed properly.
From there, it is a simple matter to line up the fan so that it is directly over the heatsink. It would be a good idea to double check the little arrows of the fan to make sure that the airflow is blowing down onto the sink. This will help ensure that the entire unit works as it is supposed to.
Something of note is the slots that run along the edges of the bracket. If you have ideas of adding an extra fan or two to help the overall airflow of the system, then just attach them to the bracket. Or if you don't have a chipset cooler for your video card, you could just add a fan that blows directly down onto it for some added cooling. Whatever your needs, if you are wanting to get the air moving in your case, then the bracket can help in this endeavor.