My first retail purchase of an aftermarket CPU cooler was a Zalman CNPS9500, in all its copper glory. The cooler was rated really well at that time and only bested in the Zalman lineup by the 9700 series of coolers. Back then Zalman was banking on a cooler that radiated fins from the center in a "barrel" style. This has seemed to have worked, as Zalman not too awful long ago released the CNPS9900 LED cooler. This was an adaptation of older tech with improvements made to improve efficiency and looks.
This time around Zalman is stepping out of the circle and into a square. What I mean to say is that they are now taking cooling technology they already had and delving into the more squared tower coolers. This tower cooler has a few already seen features, but debuts a new take on the older Fan Mates that used to ship with their products. That with a basic sturdy cooler design hopefully packs quite a punch for their first forte in tower cooling, to my knowledge, ever.
Zalman's new tower design is the CNPS10X Extreme with a unique and innovative fan controller built right into the cooler itself. I know a bunch of coolers have inline fan controls with a "peg" type dial adapted in and usually offer very rough control of the fans speed. Zalman takes all this a large step forward and builds it into an all black nickel plated cooler. The fins, the heatpipes, the base, everything gets plating. This with a striking blue LED in the 120mm accompanying fan puts on quite a show for the eyes. Let's discuss the specs and get to the images and the testing, as I'm sure you are as eager as I to see what the Zalman CNPS10X Extreme is capable of.