- The Fan
The fan included with the heatsink is rated at 2800RPM and produces a noise level of 30dB. As mentioned earlier, included with the package is a device called the "Fan Mate 1". The fan mate plugs into the fan's power connector, and then into the motherboard. When the knob on the fan mate is turned down to the lowest level, the fan rotates at 1500RPM. This is called "Silent Mode". When the knob is turned to the maximum level, it runs at 2800RPM and is called "Normal Mode".
I found the fan to be extremely quiet, even when running at "Normal Mode". So much so that I couldn't even hear it over the sound of my hard drive. It is slightly quieter than my stock Intel heatsink/fan unit, however, the difference is barely noticeable.
The unit is fairly easy to install. All you need to do is line it up over the heatsink retention device that should have come with your motherboard and slightly push down until it clips in. A fair bit of force is required but make sure you are gentle because the heatsink is very heavy and I doubt you will be happy if you crush the processor that is underneath.
One of the ways that Zalman compensates for the unit being so heavy is that they have placed a flexible piece of metal in between the top of the heatsink and fan. This pushes the heatsink up towards the fan when pressure is applied to the base. It is hard to explain exactly what this does in text, but the end result makes it much harder for you to crush your processor while installing the heatsink and ensures a firm contact between the heatspreader and heatsink.
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