Last I remember from Zalman, I was testing the CNPS10X coolers, of which there were four versions in total - two of which I got to look at personally. There was the Performa and the Extreme, both of which were typical tower based designs with a top cover and other tricks specific to the series. The cooler we are about to see takes on some of the attributes of these coolers, but harks back to the CNPS7 series of coolers for its outer appearance. You might even say both got their concept for the CNPS5, but we aren't splitting hairs here and it looks much more like the 7 series.
The concept with the CNPS7X was that it used the flat square front of a tower design, but the back was trimmed into a wedge shape. Now, back with the CNPS7X, the fins went from the fan edge to the tip of the wedge in the back - for this generation there has been a major change here. Another change is the amount of heat pipes that ran through that cooler. It used three 6mm heat pipes and a really funky mounting system. Both of those have been changed as well. While the cooler we are about to look at has a cover, or hat let's say, it keeps a very similar outer appearance to the CNPS7X, but let's hope along with the redesign we have also improved upon the performance of the CNPS10X series. I mean to take on the new higher number, it only makes sense that it should perform better, right?
For those who don't keep up with all the latest in coolers, I am talking about the Zalman CNPS11X Extreme Ultimate Cooling Performance CPU Cooler. Today we are going to not only look at this cooler from the outside, but I plan to tear this cooler apart so we can see what is going on inside as well. With the new design and the lack of actual fin area in the body of the cooler, I have my reservations about this coolers potential. If there is one thing I have learned over the years working here, it is to never judge anything I see by the way it looks alone. There are quite a few wolves in sheep's clothing on the market, and I have to say, the CNPS11X may just be another one to look out for. Get comfortable and stay with me here as I show you that Zalman proves not all small coolers are created as equals. The CNPS11X is about to prove my initial assessment to be way off!