Zalman Tech Co. is a world-renowned manufacturer of computer cases and other PC components. Zalman was founded in Korea and has been established on the market for 22 years. Especially with uniquely designed CPU coolers, the manufacturer has been able to attract attention again and again. Among the most famous products is probably the CNPS9700, which could prove itself 15 years ago as a very performant and visually striking CPU cooler. In the 2010s, however, it has become much quieter around Zalman.
In 2021, Zalman has now introduced some new products. The new components include the Z9 Iceberg in white, which we have already tested, as well as the Zalman CNPS10X Performa. The CNPS10X Performa is advertised with a high cooling capacity of up to 180W while maintaining a compact design. This is supposed to be achieved by four 6-millimeter heatpipes with Heatpipe Direct Touch technology and a large 135-millimeter fan. Add to that an all-black heatsink and an affordable price of € 39.90 *. Whether the Zalman CNPS10X Performa can convince us, you can find out in this review.
|Dimensions (with fan)||135 x 155 x 95 mm (W x H x D)|
|Weight (with fan)||860 g|
|Material||Copper (heat pipes), aluminum (cooling fins, black anodized)|
|Heatpipes||6x Ø 6 mm|
|Compatibility Intel||LGA 2066/2011-V3/2011/1200/115X|
|Price||€ 39.90 *|
|Fan designation||Zalman ZE1325ASL/ ZM10XPB-PWM|
|Bearing type||EBR Bearing|
|Dimensions||135 x 135 x 25 mm|
|Speed||700 – 1500 rpm|
|Delivery volume||127.7 m³/h|
|Static pressure||1.35 mm H2O|
|Power consumption||2.4 W|
Packaging & Scope of delivery
Already with the outer packaging of the CNPS10X Performa it goes off plainly. The cardboard box is predominantly black or gray with certain white accents. In addition to a product picture and the manufacturer’s lettering, all technical data and other information about the cooler can be found on the packaging.
Opening the top flap, you first come across the assembly instructions and a white box with the assembly accessories. This includes a metal backplate, two mounting brackets for different sockets (except 1700), all the necessary screws, bolts, etc., and a small package of thermal paste. Below the box, the heatsink with pre-mounted fan was placed and wrapped by Zalman in two transparent blocks made of plastic, from which you can easily free the cooler. A protective film was also applied to the cooler base ex-works. Additional mounting brackets for a second fan are unfortunately not included in the delivery.
Design & Workmanship
Overall, the Zalman CNPS10X Performa has a very simple and timeless design. Zalman does not use RGB effects on both the cooling tower and the fan. The cooling tower is composed of 50 black anodized aluminum fins and four copper heatpipes, each 6 millimeters in diameter. The tips of the heatpipes are visible on the top and are not covered by a cover plate. For aesthetic reasons, the manufacturer has also colored the heatpipes and the cooler base black. The pre-assembled mounting bridge has two spring-loaded screws that connect to the mounting brackets on the motherboard.
The included fan has an unusual frame width of 135 millimeters and visually blends in with the heatsink. Both the frame and the nine fan blades are kept black. However, the design of the fan blades is particularly interesting. On the one hand, they are very close to the fan frame and on the other hand, all blades are connected to each other. The connection to the motherboard is done via a 4-pin PWM connector and brings the rotor to a maximum speed of 1500 rpm. At this RPM, a flow rate of 127.7 m³/h and a static pressure of 1.35 mm H2O should be achieved. At the same time, the noise level should not exceed 27 db(A).
The heatsink and fan together weigh 860 grams. Considering the relatively low height of 155 millimeters, this is a decent weight. Nevertheless, the CNPS10X Performa should also fit into many narrower cases. The asymmetrical shape also means that the RAM slots on a normal ATX board do not protrude. This allows higher RAM modules.
Unfortunately, when looking at all the components, we noticed slight workmanship flaws on the mounting brackets, the mounting bridge, and a slat or two.
A test system on a benchtable is used for the review. This allows us to rule out factors like heat buildup in the case. The test system consists of the following components.
- AMD Ryzen 5 1400 @ 3.8 GHz at 1.25V
- MSI B350 PC Mate
- Crucial Ballistix Sport LT gray 32 GB DDR4-3000
- Corsair Force Series MP510 960GB Nvme
- Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1060 6G
- LC-Power LC550 V2.31 Platinum Series 550W
Zalman relies entirely on its own backplate for both Intel and AMD mounting. So for our test system, that means we have to completely remove the AMD retention module. After that, the included backplate is prepared for mounting and placed behind the motherboard.
After that, four washers are placed on the front of the motherboard and four spacers are turned into the backplate. Then you need to put the two retaining brackets on the spacers and screw them. Now the construction is ready for mounting the CPU cooler. After applying the perfect amount of thermal paste to the CPU’s heatspreader, the heatsink can be placed on the processor and screwed into place.
The assembly of the CNPS10X Performa was simple and quick. The illustrated instructions in the manual are mostly clear and describe the necessary steps in a clear and structured manner. When fully assembled, the CPU cooler appears large, but despite the large fan, it does not block the RAM slots or the first PCIe slot.
Loudness and cooling performance
As pointed out in the previous chapter, we are using an AM4 system based on the Ryzen 5 1400 and the MSI B350 PC Mate as our test hardware. The Ryzen runs at 3.8 GHz at 1.25V. The Ryzen runs at 3.8 GHz at 1.25V. To heat up the processor, it was loaded with Prime95 for 15 minutes. The CPU’s temperature was then read with the CPUID hardware monitor and the room temperature was around 19 °C during the measurements.
|AMD Wraith Stealth||50% PWM||1450 rpm||86 °C|
|AMD Wraith Stealth||100% PWM||2650 rpm||73 °C|
|LC-Power LC-CC-120-RGB||50% PWM||1000 rpm||57 °C|
|LC-Power LC-CC-120-RGB||100% PWM||1800 rpm||54 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Performa||50% PWM||700 rpm||55 °C|
|Zalman CNPS10X Performa||100% PWM||1500 rpm||52 °C|
In terms of performance delivered, the Zalman CNPS10X Performa does very well on our CPU. It beats the boxed cooler by worlds, and the CNPS10X Performa can also outperform a standard 120-millimeter fan cooler. The noise of the 135-millimeter fan is also within limits. However, we would have wished for a lower speed than 700 rpm, especially when idling.
Summary on the Zalman CNPS10X Performa
When developing the CNPS10X Performa, Zalman’s goal was to design an affordable yet perfomant and visually appealing CPU cooler. They basically succeeded in doing so. The heatsink and fan are kept completely black and thus fit very well into any current system. The complete lack of RGB makes the design timeless and also reduces the price. The price is relatively low with € 39.90 *. Especially if you put the shown cooling performance of the cooler in relation to the price. Even slightly stronger CPUs should be able to be cooled with the CNPS10X Peforma without any problems.
Unfortunately, we also noticed some negative points with this CPU cooler. On the one hand, there is the rather small speed range of the fan. With a minimum of 700 revolutions per minute, it still spins quite fast. Secondly, there is the build quality of our test sample. Certain workmanship flaws or unclean edges on the mounting hardware and the CPU cooler’s socket tarnish the overall result a bit. Furthermore, some fins were slightly bent. However, these could be quickly bent back.
We cannot answer at this point whether these small flaws are present in every cooler of the series. However, since all of the conspicuous features tend to be on elements that are virtually invisible after installation, everyone has to decide for themselves whether or not these are a no-go. If not, then the Zalman CNPS10X Perfoma is a visually appealing and performant CPU cooler for the tight wallet.