Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO [Wi-Fi] (AMD X570) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 4000MHz 4X8GB
- Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Galax HOF Pro M.2 1TB SSD
- Case: Hydra Bench Standard
- Power Supply: ASUS ROG Thor 850W - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AMD Ryzen Master, AIDA64 Engineer 6.25.5400, and CPU-z 1.92.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our 2020 CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
Thermally, we could not expect better than for the Zalman to beat any other air cooler we have in the chart! Our average temperature of 58.7-degrees is impressive, and there were thermal spikes to 61-degrees in that testing, which is still good overall.
With the all-core overclock applied, the temperature did go up, but only to an average of 65.8-degrees. In this run of testing, we did see spikes up to 74-degrees but is not out of line with what we saw in other cooler results.
In this chart, we look for what is left in the tank beyond the PWM fan curve. What we see with the CNPS20X is that we were left with another 4.7-degrees to take advantage of. With the fans at full blast, the Average temperature dropped to 64.1-degrees, with a peak of 73-degrees.
Noise Level Results
When it comes to noise levels, Zalman is not afraid to venture into the audible range. With the fans topping out at 1090 RPM in the stock run, we found the 33 dB result acceptable for anyone housing this cooler inside a chassis.
While still under PWM control for the overclocked run, noise is limited as the fans only advanced to 1160 RPM with the added load on the processor. At this time, we saw 38 dB, which is still not that bad, and much better than the stock solutions!
Removing the PWM control had our fans spinning at 1500 RPM on the nose! While the sound level does increase to 48 dB, it is closer to the lead of the chart than it is to the loudest cooler. Keep in mind; this extra 10 dB does also deliver nearly five-degree better performance, which makes the noise worth it to some!