Zalman VF3000A VGA Cooler
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 10-21-2010
Provided by: Zalman

The Zalman VF3000 comes in three different flavors to suit both nVidia and ATI graphics cards, as well as current and previous generation models. They all utilize the same core cooler design, a copper base with five heatpipes that feed a long row of aluminum fins. A colored aluminum shroud houses dual 92mm by 15mm fans that range from 1300rpm to 2500rpm, producing between a claimed 18dB and 32dB of noise. The overall dimensions of the cooler are 239mm long by 98mm wide and just 51mm thick, with the entire thing weighing in at only 430g. The shroud color denotes the model designation, either red, green or black for the A (ATI), F (nVidia GT400 series) or N (nVidia GT200 series). The one we are taking a look at today is the VF3000A.

The VF3000A kit is designed to be used with current generation ATI "Cypress" core cards, namely the 5830, 5850 and 5870. While the cooler itself may fit other cards in the Evergreen family, as well as older Wekiva generation cards (4000 series), the bundled heatsinks are specifically designed for reference RV8x0 cards only. This includes a long VRM heatsink with cutout reliefs to fit around other board components, with spring-loaded plastic pushpins to mount it. There are also eight individual memory sinks with thermal adhesive backing. The mounting hardware for the cooler, FanMate 2 fan controller, thermal paste for the GPU die and a Zalman case badge round out the package.

The VF3000A version cooler comes with an ATI-matching red anodized aluminum fan shroud. There are no grills covering the fan openings, only two stylized wings that extend out from the center logo that keep things from coming in contact with the spinning blades. The fans are only 15mm thick, which keeps the overall dimensions of the cooler smaller, however this is thinner than most 92mm fans and coupled with their frameless mounting mean you probably won't be replacing them easily. You might think Zalman would use red LED fans on the red ATI cooler, particularly since they use green LED fans on the green nVidia version, however this is not the case. It gets the same blue LEDs as the retro black nVidia cooler has.

The rear of the cooler shows the solid copper base with five individual copper heatpipes coming out, two going in one direction and three in the other. As you can see the base has a very reflective mirror-like finish. There is plenty of gap between the fins for air to work its way through to cool other components on the card such as the memory and voltage chips. Both fans are wired to a single 3-pin connector that is routed out the end of the cooler.

Continue as we prepare the VF3000A for installation.

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