The Zalman CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler
When you first open the top of the packaging you are looking at the cardboard tray containing the hardware. Below this and snugly fit into the box is the plastic snap together packaging containing the cooler. Both the plastic on the cooler and the tray separating the parts got the CNPS10X Extreme to my door in excellent condition.
Once the packaging was out of the way it was time to get the mug shots. The CNPS10X Extreme uses a 120mm fan that is attached to the top fan shroud and the fins of the cooler itself. The choice of fan covers the fins nicely and should provide adequate flow to keep temperatures at bay.
From the side you can see there are almost three groups of aluminum fins surrounding the five heatpipes on the Zalman. The middle section's fins are deeper and slightly different in shape as well as the top and bottom groups. The plastic cap that houses the fan controller also cleans up the profile by making a flat surface versus ten tips poking out.
Starting at the top, you can get a peak at the fan controller placement on the CNPS10X. Moving down the cooler you can see that the groupings of fins are different in respect to each other. My take on this is that they use the bigger longer fins in the middle as that is where most of the airflow is concentrated, thus utilizing the physics to work for them. All the way to the bottom there is the origin of the heatpipes from a two piece, screwed together base. The top piece of the base contains the alignment "nub" for the AMD latch, the same as their previous coolers.
The right side of the cooler is the same as the left, except for one thing. This side of the CNPS10X contains the 4-pin PWM connection on the end of over a foot of wire. The wire comes out here due to the implementation of the fan controller and its placement, as it is wires from the controller to the fan under the shroud.
The top of the CNPS10X Extreme is shrouded with this sculpted and shaped plastic shroud. Both the Zalman and CNPS10X Extreme logos are placed on here and boldly standing out is the fan controller. This controller can be used in its current position, in manual and automatic speed control modes, as well as detached which I will show you later.
The fan controller is almost locked into place in the top of the CNPS10X. I had to insert a thumbnail and pry in the gap just above the CNPS10X logo. With gentle pressure the wire connection releases its grip and the controller slides right out the top in this orientation.
Getting in a bit closer, you can see the two tabs, one to each side, that align the controller to place it back into the shroud. With the slots lined up gently push the controller down and the 4-pin connection will make contact for functionality.
This angle is to give you a good look at the layout of the five heatpipe configuration and how they align through the fins. It also accentuates what I said about how the black nickel plating covers every inch of the metal surfaces.
While the screwed on base is made of copper, it is also plated; one, to fight oxidation of the copper and secondly it helps in thermal transfer from the IHS. This base does not only contain a mirror finish, but is flat and level against a razor. I only saw light in the corner to corner test, as the corners seem to deflect from the center, just slightly.