Zalman VF1000 LED VGA Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on June 29, 2010
We tested the Zalman VF1000 LED VGA cooler, which has a pure copper heatsink, four heatpipes, and an 80 mm transparent fan with blue LEDs. Let's check its features and performance.
In Figure 1, you can see the VF1000 LED box, which has a big transparent window that shows the entire cooler.
In Figure 2, you can see the accessories that come with the cooler: manual, memory heatsinks, thermal compound tube, installation hardware, and a Fan Mate 2 fan controller.
In Figure 3, you can check the cooler itself. It consists of a heatsink with copper fins, four heatpipes, and a transparent 80 mm fan.
As you can see in Figure 4, the four heatpipes take the heat from the base and carry it to the sides of the heatsink. A possible issue is that the fan does not push the air directly over the heatpipes.
In Figure 5, you can see the shape of the heatpipes at the bottom of the cooler.
In Figure 6, you can see the side of the cooler.
In Figure 7, you see the top of the cooler, with the tips of the heatpipes.
In Figure 8, you can see the base of the cooler, with a very well polished, mirror-like copper surface. Note the sets of holes that allow you to install this cooler on virtually any video card.
In order to test the VF1000 LED, we installed it on our Zotac GeForce GTS 250, which you can check in Figures 9 and 10.
In Figure 11, you can see the base of the VF1000 LED with the screws installed in the holes that are compatible with our VGA. The screws have rubber washers in order to not damage the video card. Now you just need to apply thermal compound on the GPU, put the cooler in place, and fasten four thumbnuts to set the cooler in place.
In Figure 12, you can see the VF1000 LED installed on our VGA. Installation was easy and quick, and the cooler did not interfere with any component. We didn't install the memory heatsinks on the memory chips.
In Figures 13, 14, and 15 you have a general view of the VF1000 LED installed on our GeForce GTS 250. Note that it occupies the slot next to the one used by the video card, as the stock cooler did.
We ran some simple tests to check the performance of the Zalman VF1000 LED, measuring the GPU core temperature with the aid of the SpeedFan software, and sound pressure level (SPL) with a digital noise meter set 4" (10 cm) from the video card, with the GPU at full load running the folding@Home GPU client. For this measurement, we turned off the CPU cooler, so its noise wouldn't interfere. Please keep in mind that sound pressure level measurement is just for comparative purposes, because a precise measurement would have to be done in an acoustically insulated environment, which we don't have.
We compared the results from the VF1000 LED at minimum and maximum speeds with the VGA stock cooler. You can check the results in the table below.
|Product||Noise||Room Temp.||Core Temp.||Temp. Diff.||Speed|
|Stock Cooler||61 dBA||16 °C||73 °C||57||-|
|VF1000 LED (min.)||44 dBA||16 °C||74 °C||58||1400 rpm|
|VF1000 LED (max.)||51 dBA||16 °C||61 °C||45||2600 rpm|
In the graph below, you can compare the temperature differences between the GPU core and the room. Remember that, the lower the value, the better performance is.
As you can see, the VF1000 LED, when at minimum speed, performed similarly to the VGA stock cooler, but with a far lower noise level (actually, practically inaudible). At high speed, it lowered GPU temperature by about 12 °C, while still being a lot quieter than the stock cooler.
The Zalman VF1000 LED main features are:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The VF1000 LED VGA cooler from Zalman is an excellent product. It achieved both better performance and less noise level than the stock cooler of our GeForce GTS 250.
If that was not enough, the cooler looks nice, with the all-copper heatsink and the fan with blue LED. And the Fan Mate 2 fan controller is very effective, with the possibility of being placed inside or outside the case.
The installation is quite simple, and it has five hole sets, so it can be installed on most video cards.
There are a few issues, however. First, it does not push the hot air from the cooler to the outside, which can increase the internal case temperature, when compared to the stock cooler (that pushes the air to the outside). So, you will need to care about case airflow in order to be sure this hot air will not affect overall cooling. The second factor is the price: the VF1000 LED is not inexpensive. But, considering how much noise you will get rid of, it may be a fair price to pay.
Because of its temperature and noise performance, the Zalman VF1000 LED VGA cooler receives the Hardware Secrets Golden Award.