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Zalman ZM80A-HP VGA Heatpipe Review - The Cooler

We've been hearing about these Zalman Heatpipe coolers for the video cards lately, so it is time to see what they are all about. In a nutshell, they are claiming to be able to give sufficient cooling for performance video boards without the use of a fan. Come join Mike "Darthtanion" Wright as he takes a look at both the installation and performance of the Zalman ZM80A-HP VGA Heatpipe and finds out the final answer... can this contraption really work?

| Video Card Colers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Feb 15, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Zalman

The Cooler

 

 

Before we delve too deeply into the contents and workings of this device, I want to be very up front and state very clearly...SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED! This is not going to be a quick "Push in a couple of push-pins" type of operation. It will take a bit of work on your part to get this system installed. Is it worth it? We'll decide that later after we can also see the performance levels of the cooling system.

 

To begin our tour, we'll take a look at everything that comes in the package. As you remove the parts that come with this package, it is immediately obvious that this is no ordinary cooling device. I have a pair of huge heatsinks, a pair of mounting bases, the Heatpipe itself, two bags of parts, a screwdriver and a manual that is a full 32 pages. But before you worry yourself about the large manual, rest assured that there are many pictures to keep you firmly on the proper path of installation happiness. Oh, and half the manual is dedicated to Korean instructions for installing the unit so you'll only have to worry about 16 of those pages.

 

 

One of the first parts you'll be working with is the mounting base. The package comes with two but you'll only need to concern yourself with one of them. Since there are different mounting hole placements on current video boards, you have a choice to determine which one is correct for your personal needs. If you have a board with holes set close to the GPU (GeForce3 cards), then you'll want to use the small base. Boards with holes set further away from the GPU (GeForce4 cards), then you'll want to use the larger base. It will also work fine with Radeon based cards, but for those who are using Matrox cards with no holes around the GPU, you'll need to look elsewhere.

 

On a quick note, make sure you don't throw away that little protective piece of material that is between the two pieces of the base. You'll need it later on.

 

 

The two heatsinks will both be used in our assembly. They are clearly marked as front and back so you should have no problems installing them correctly.

 

The base material for these heatsinks is aluminum. While not the best conductor of heat, the use of anything heavier would likely cause more problems the effort would be worth. They measure in at a stately 120mm x 80mm x 11mm and have a weight of around 400 grams. This is going to be a large amount of weight to mount onto a video card, but we'll see later during the installation if this causes any problems.

 

Also make sure to take note of all the fins that are everywhere on these sinks. We have shown several times in the past that effective cooling requires both mass and surface area and so far it looks as if the Zalman Heatpipe has both.

 

 

The heatpipe is nothing more than a piece of solid copper tubing that has been plated in gold. It is bent with a 180 degree curve so that it will seat itself on both the front and the back of the video card. If you're confused, don't worry. We'll be installing this thing step by step so you'll see how it all fits together a bit later.

 

 

The final contents of the package are a pair of plastic bags filled with screws, rubber O-rings, studs and some thermal paste. Also included is a small cross-tip screwdriver. Talk about a complete DIY kit!

 

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