Zalman CNPS10X Quiet & Extreme CPU Coolers
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 09-10-2009
Provided by: Zalman

Both the 10X Quiet (left) and Extreme (right) are compatible with Intel 775, 1156, 1366 and AMD 754, 939, AM2/+/3 sockets. The Intel mounting brackets require changing out the motherboard backplate for a threaded hole design rather than the factory style push-pins. Each socket type has its own size adapter. The AMD hardware on the other hand consists solely of a simple spring-clip design that attaches to the stock retention module. The same clip is used on every AMD socket type.

In addition to various screws and other miscellaneous mounting hardware, both coolers come with Zalman's own brand of high performance thermal paste, ZM-STG2. Previously Zalman has included a very small tube of their zinc oxide-based ZM-TG2 thermal grease with most of their heatsink products, which although serving the basic need for a thermal interface material, is really nothing more than generic white paste. However, the aluminum oxide-based STG2 was recently ranked by as equal to or better than other manufacturers TIM we've reviewed, such as CM ThermalFusion 400, OCZ Freeze, Artic Cooling MX-2, Gelid GC-1 and Tuniq TX-2. The 10X Quiet comes with the optional, external Fan Mate 2 controller while the Extreme offers an extension cable for its own built-in controller. Both also include multi-language documentation with diagrams depicting all included hardware and installation instructions.

The 10X Quiet (left) and Extreme (right) share the same similar design concept, a tower style heatpipe cooler with 120mm fan blowing laterally through the rectangular fins. Dimensions are the same at 135mm length by 100mm width and 160mm in height. Construction is also the same, with highly polished copper base and five U-shaped copper heatpipes that extend out both sides of the base and up through the aluminum fins. The Quiet features bare copper base/heatpipes and aluminum fins with a blue anodized center section, while the Extreme version uses a "Black Pearl" nickel plating over all surfaces. The Extreme's plating provides long-term corrosion resistance but adds significantly to the cooler's weight, coming in at 920g versus the Quiet's 750g.

Both the Quiet and Extreme bases are highly polished and reflective, casting a near mirror image. While the top of the Quiet cooler reveals the ends of the heatpipes sticking out above the fins, the Extreme is covered with a black plastic panel that houses the built-in fan controller and electronics. The fan used on each cooler appears to be similar, although the Extreme's is rated for slightly higher speed, producing more airflow and a bit more noise.

Next let's take a closer look at each cooler, starting with the 10X Quiet.

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