Taking A Closer Look
- Package Contents
The CNPS5500-Cu comes packaged with a syringe of thermal compound, a user's manual and a "Fan Mate 1" device. The fan mate is a baybus-like gadget that allows you to control the amount of power being sent to the fan. Obviously, the lower the power, the slower the fan will rotate, thus creating less noise. That said though, a slower fan means that less air is being pushed over the heatsink which results in decreased performance. Whichever way you look at it, the fan mate is a nice addition for people that are looking for complete silence while they work at their computer, rather than optimal cooling performance.
The User's Manual is written in both Korean and English, and includes full specifications on the unit as well as instructions with diagrams on how to install it. The manual is a handy addition to the package because it saves you the time of messing around with the heatsink, trying to work out the correct way to install it.
Like most stock compound, the thermal compound that came with the CNPS5500-Cu gave rather poor performance. This is why all of our tests were conducted using Arctic Silver II. While the stock compound is adequate for the average user that doesn't intend on overclocking their PC, due to the fact that the majority of people who read this website are overclockers, I recommend that you purchase a third party thermal compound for optimal performance.
- The Heatsink
Firstly, the CNPS5500-Cu is designed for Socket 478 Pentium 4 processors and is made of pure copper. The advantage of using copper over other materials such as aluminium is that it dissipates heat much better. The disadvantage though, is that a copper heatsink usually costs much more than one that is made of aluminium, depending on its size.
The CNPS5500-Cu heatsink is quite large, with dimensions of 74mm(L) x 86mm(W) x 84mm(H), weighing in at a mammoth 540g. This is very heavy compared to most of the other heatsinks I've tested in the past, and if you don't take enough care while installing it, there is a good chance that you can crush your processor. Another problem associated with a heavy heatsink is that during shipping, if it is pre-installed into the PC there is a possibility that the whole heatsink will fall off in-transit. If you decide to purchase this heatsink with a full system, make sure that you ask the reseller to ship it off to you separately so you can install it yourself. This is because resellers do not usually accept responsibility for damage incurred during shipping.
Zalman has used their trademark FHS (Flower HeatSink) design with the CNPS5500. One of the advantages of this design is that because it feautres thin fins and a vortex shape, air can easily pass through it without vibration. This in turn reduces the noise level. The other advantage of having so many thin fins is that more fins results in an increased surface area and thus allows for better heat dissipation.
As you can see in the above image, the area on the base of the heatsink that sits on the top of the processor is a small oval shape. Due to the fact that the heatspreader on the Pentium 4 processor is square and slightly larger than the base of the CNPS5500-Cu heatsink, there will be parts of the heatspreader left uncovered. I was quite disappointed that this was overlooked because it can result in hot/cold spots on the processor and thus reduced it's effectiveness.