Zalman CNPS9300 AT CPU Cooler
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 08-01-2008
Provided by: Zalman

The CNPS9300 AT ships in a clear plastic shell that holds it securely and prevents fin damage. The accessory pack contains a replacement backing plate and retention module for Intel socket motherboards, while AMD installation makes use of the stock mounting but with a modified clip design. Additional contents include a case sticker, user manual and some of Zalman's own thermal paste.

The CNPS9300 AT is relatively small for an aftermarket cooler, measuring in at 61x108mm and 132mm in height. The fan is a 92x25mm frameless unit that is neatly tucked inside the radial fins. This results in a compact package with a fairly light 407g weight, despite its nearly all-copper construction.

The fan is a 4-pin PWM model rated for only 20dBA at 1500rpm, and up to 30dBA at 2400rpm. Pulse Width Modulation is a technology that allows fan speed control by rapidly varying on/off power pulses rather than adjusting the voltage level that the fan operates at. This is designed to reduce the amount of noise produced by the fan motor. Most motherboards made in the last year or two will have a 4-pin header and PWM or Smart Fan control options in the BIOS to support this type of cooler.

The 9300 uses only two heatpipes connecting the base to the fins, however they traverse the full circumference of the cooler in a figure-8 pattern, which Zalman claims results in the same effective performance as four heatpipes would. Although aluminum is used for the top half, the lower base plate is pure copper and polished to a mirror finish.

Continue ahead to installation.

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