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Zalman ZM80A-HP VGA Heatpipe Review - Installation

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

Installation

 

 

Before we start digging into the actual installation of this cooling system, we should probably take a gander at the victim in this exercise. It is a Prolink Ti4200-8x video board and comes with an impressive looking cooler in its stock configuration. And now on to the project...

 

 

The first step, of course, will be to remove the original cooling device and clean off any thermal compound that may still be on the GPU. After this has been completed, we'll want to add a fresh layer of goop so that we can have effective cooling. After looking at the included thermal interface material provided and noticing the stark white color, I made a quick decision to use some good stuff. I'll be using TherMagic TIM for our tests today since it has proven itself to be a very effective product.

 

Now that we have that out of the way, we'll install the first part of the unit; the base assembly. You'll want to have it sitting squarely on top of the GPU for best results. Also make sure to take note of that arrow that appears on the base. It isn't there for looks, so pay heed. That arrow needs to be pointing in the direction of the slot on the board to ensure the proper fitting of the heatpipe later in the installation.

 

But for those who noticed that the previous picture had the arms inboard, we'll take a closer look at the retention device for this mounting arm.

 

 

Pretty simple and straightforward. Just loosen the screw and move the arm to the desires position. When it is in place, just tighten it back up again. There is a small nut that sits in a formed track underneath so there will be no problems with it tightening down again.

 

 

As we turn the card over to continue work, you'll notice that the screws from the front base assembly are now sticking through the holes around the GPU. But they sure don't look like they're long enough for us to attach the back of the base assembly. And sure enough, if you set the back of the base onto the board you'll see that the screws don't stick up enough to allow the back to be hooked up.

 

A quick look at the manual shows us that there is a step we need to perform first. We will place a rubber O-ring onto each screw and then attach a threaded post. Here is what we ended up with after it was completed:

 

 

The studs will have a dual purpose. The first is to give the necessary length of the post so that we can attach the back portion of the base assembly. The other purpose is to make sure that the front of the base assembly is firmly tightened into its proper place. After all, we don't want that piece moving around any more than we would want a HSF wobbling all over the place after mounting it to our processor.

 

Our next piece to add to this project will be the back of the base assembly, but let's make note of an important step first. Remember that piece of material that I told you to hang onto earlier? You remember, that piece of protective material that came between the front and back of the base assembly? Well, it is actually a piece of plastic with adhesive on one side and a paper coating over the adhesive. You'll want to remove the paper backing now and attach it to the board side of the base assembly (the part that does not say "BACK").

 

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