Zalman VF2000 LED Hybrid Cooler Review
By Rafael Coelho on May 11, 2010


Introduction

We are reviewing today VF2000 LED from Zalman, a hybrid cooler that fits video cards and CPUs, with a 92-mm fan and four heatpipes. Will it perform well on both tasks? Check it out!

VF2000 LED box is small, in cardboard paper. A transparent window allows you to see the cooler.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the cooler, installation manual and hardware for CPUs and video cards, thermal compound and a FanMate 2 fan controller.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 you can have a general view of VF2000 LED.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 3: Zalman VF2000 LED.

In next pages we will see this cooler in detail.

Zalman VF2000 LED

In Figure 4 you have a side view of the cooler. It has a very low profile, which is important for a VGA cooler.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 4: Side view.

In Figure 5, you can see it from the front side. Note that the four heatpipes are very close to each other at the base, but well spread at the heatsink.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 5: Front view.

In Figure 6 you can check the cooler back side. The heatsink fins are made of aluminum and the heatpipes are made of nickel-plated copper.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 6: Rear view.

Zalman VF2000 LED (Cont’d)

In Figure 7 you have a top view of VF2000 LED. Its 92 mm fan is transparent and has blue LEDs, as the cooler name suggests. This fan has a three-pin connector and thus no automatic PWM speed control.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 7: Top view.

In Figure 8 you can check the base of the cooler, made of nickel-plated copper. It has a perfect mirrored look.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 8: Base.

In Figure 9, you can see FanMate 2 fan controller (which also comes with VF900-Cu LED), its cable and three tubes of thermal compound that come with the cooler. Thanks, Zalman, for not saving on thermal compound quantity.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 9: Accessories.

Installation on CPUs

VF2000 LED installation as a CPU cooler is relatively simple. First you must screw the clip set according to the CPU you have, Intel socket LGA775 (it does not support 1156 and 1366 sockets) or AMD sockets AM3, AM2+ and AM2, to the base of the cooler. Then install four screws to the clips and put the rubber washers on the screws, as you see in Figure 10.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 10: Socket LGA775 clips installed.

After that, apply thermal compound, put the cooler on the CPU and screw four thumbnuts (with springs) on the solder side of the motherboard.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 11: Thumbnuts.

In Figure 12, you can see the cooler installed on our motherboard. It has a very low profile and will surely fit any case, even slim and SFF models.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 12: Installed on our motherboard.

In Figure 13, you can see the cooler installed in our case.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 13: Installed in our case.

Installation on Video Cards

Installing VF2000 LED on a video card is as simple as on a CPU. You just need to attach four screws (not the same ones used for CPU installation) directly on the base of the cooler, put the cooler in place and attach it with the same thumbnuts.

We instaled the cooler on our PNY Verto GeForce 9600 GT video card. VF2000 LED comes with heatsinks for memory chips, which we did not install. The product is harmonious- and cool-looking, but has the problem of not blowing hot air outside the case. In Figures 14, 15, 16 and 17, you can see the cooler installed on our video card.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 14: Installed on GeForce 9600 GT.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 15: Top view.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 16: Rear view.

Zalman VF2000 LED
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Figure 17: Bottom view.

We try to install it on our GeForce GTS 250, but the position of the screws on VF200 LED was not compatible with the holes from this video card. So, we tested it only on our GeForce 9600 GT.

How We Tested

We are adopting the following methodology for our CPU cooler reviews.

First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.

We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.

Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn't interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the coolers shown on below tables. Each test ran with the CPU idle and then with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models. ISGC-400, iCEAGE Prima Boss, Megahalems Rev. B, Thermaltake SpinQ VT, Zalman CNPS10X Flex, Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme, Tuniq Propeller 120 and Zalman VF2000 LED were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.

CPU Idle

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C44 dBA1000 rpm31 °C42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm29 °C36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm26 °C34 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C41 dBA500 rpm26 °C35 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C26 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm22 °C30 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm21 °C30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C44 dBA1200 rpm21 °C29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-10018 °C44 dBA1450 rpm35 °C49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm20 °C30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm20 °C28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm23 °C28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C43 dBA1100 rpm31 °C35 °C
Schythe Kabuto22 °C42 dBA800 rpm29 °C34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C43 dBA1500 rpm32 °C39 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm26 °C30 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm24 °C26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm30 °C41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C48 dBA1700 rpm28 °C35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C41 dBA 700 rpm25 °C30 °C
ISGC-400 (min)17 °C44 dBA850 rpm24 °C30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C48 dBA1700 rpm32 °C44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min)22 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C36 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm22 °C29 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C42 dBA900 rpm31 °C39 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C44 dBA1700 rpm30 °C39 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C43 dBA1200 rpm27 °C34 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C40 dBA800 rpm28 °C32 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C45 dBA900 rpm30 °C34 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C44 dBA1200 rpm28 °C34 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C46 dBA1400 rpm33 °C42 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm27 °C34 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm38 °C49 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C42 dBA1000 rpm29 °C35 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT24 °C45 dBA950 rpm32 °C39 °C
Titan Fenrir21 °C42 dBA950 rpm29 °C35 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex23 °C40 dBA800 rpm32 °C39 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme24 °C43 dBA1100 rpm30 °C37 °C
Gelid Tranquillo22 °C41 dBA850 rpm29 °C36 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus20 °C45 dBA1200 rpm27 °C35 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse20 °C58 dBA2300 rpm25 °C34 °C
Tuniq Propeller 12020 °C43 dBA1050 rpm24 °C33 °C
Nexus VCT-900020 °C44 dBA600 rpm28 °C37 °C
Coolink Corator DS19 °C45 dBA1050 rpm25 °C32 °C
CoolIT ECO17 °C43 dBA900 rpm-32 °C
Zalman VF2000 LED17 °C 43 dBA1300 rpm28 °C36 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

CoolerRoom Temp.NoiseFan SpeedBase Temp.Core Temp.
Intel stock14 °C48 dBA1740 rpm42 °C100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min)17 °C47 dBA880 rpm43 °C77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max)17 °C59 dBA1500 rpm35 °C70 °C
Akasa Nero18 °C48 dBA1500 rpm34 °C68 °C
Cooler Master V1014 °C54 dBA1900 rpm24 °C52 °C
TMG IA1 (max)16 °C47 dBA1500 rpm27 °C63 °C
TMG IA1 (min)16 °C57 dBA2250 rpm25 °C60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme16 °C51 dBA1900 rpm24 °C50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-10018 °C50 dBA1800 rpm58 °C93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low)15 °C42 dBA1000 rpm28 °C59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P15 °C46 dBA1400 rpm25 °C54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P17 °C46 dBA1400 rpm37 °C76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-20021 °C48 dBA1900 rpm42 °C68 °C
Scythe Kabuto22 °C47 dBA1200 rpm38 °C63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro20 °C51 dBA2300 rpm49 °C85 °C
ISGC-300 (min)18 °C42 dBA800 rpm36 °C64 °C
ISGC-300 (max)18 °C46 dBA1400 rpm31 °C56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E21 °C66 dBA2600 rpm39 °C96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT22 °C56 dBA2600 rpm34 °C63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C54 °C
ISGC-400 (max)17 °C47 dBA1400 rpm36 °C69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 75220 °C55 dBA2300 rpm48 °C92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max)22 °C53 dBA2000 rpm35 °C59 °C
Evercool Buffalo17 °C51 dBA1850 rpm32 °C67 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken20 °C50 dBA1500 rpm51 °C85 °C
Cooler Master Hyper TX321 °C53 dBA2700 rpm39 °C66 °C
Titan Skalli20 °C47 dBA1550 rpm37 °C69 °C
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B21 °C61 dBA2600 rpm30 °C51 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 NT23 °C56 dBA2000 rpm34 °C54 °C
Cooler Master Hyper N62021 °C50 dBA1650 rpm32 °C56 °C
Nexus LOW-7000 R223 °C53 dBA1900 rpm45 °C74 °C
Evercool HPK-10025EA20 °C54 dBA1900 rpm39 °C69 °C
Evercool HPH-9525EA23 °C50 dBA1900 rpm58 °C100 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss II23 °C56 dBA2100 rpm32 °C56 °C
Thermaltake SpinQ VT24 °C52 dBA1500 rpm40 °C68 °C
Titan Fenrir21 °C50 dBA1600 rpm33 °C58 °C
Zalman CNPS 10 Flex23 °C61 dBA2600 rpm33 °C59 °C
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme24 °C56 dBA1900 rpm35 °C60 °C
Gelid Tranquillo22 °C46 dBA1450 rpm31 °C60 °C
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus20 °C52 dBA1900 rpm32 °C64 °C
Spire TherMax Eclipse20 °C58 dBA2300 rpm29 °C73 °C
Tuniq Propeller 12020 °C55 dBA1900 rpm36 °C68 °C
Nexus VCT-900020 °C50 dBA850 rpm43 °C88 °C
Coolink Corator DS19 °C56 dBA1800 rpm32 °C62 °C
CoolIT ECO17 °C54 dBA1850 rpm-62 °C
Zalman NF2000 LED17 °C51 dBA2200 rpm43 °C97 °C

The next graph shows how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our idle tests.

 Zalman VF2000 LED

The next graph gives you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during our full load tests.

 Zalman VF2000 LED

Our Tests (Cont'd)

We ran some simple tests to check the performance of Zalman VF2000 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 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 enviroment, which we don't have.

We compared the results from VF2000 LED with the VGA stock cooler, with an Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 VGA cooler, a Zalman VF900-Cu LED cooler at minimum and maximum speeds and with an Evercool Turbo2 cooler, all installed on our GeForce 9600 GT. You can check the results in the table below.

CoolerNoiseRoom Temp.Core Temp.Temp. Diff.Speed
Stock Cooler56 dBA21 °C53 °C

32 °C

-
NV Silencer 552 dBA21 °C48 °C27 °C-
VF900-Cu LED (min.)43 dBA21 °C46 °C25 °C1300 rpm
VF900-Cu LED (max.)49 dBA21 °C40 °C19 °C2400 rpm
Evercool Turbo 241 dBA18 °C50 °C32 °C-
VF2000 LED (min.)43 dBA17 °C35 °C18 °C1300 rpm
VF2000 LED (max.) 51 dBA17 °C35 °C18 °C2400 rpm

On the graph below you can compare the temperature difference between the GPU core and the room. Remember that, the lower the value, the better performance is.

Zalman VF2000 LED

Main Specifications

Zalman VF2000 LED main features are:

* Researched at www.quietpcusa.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

Zalman really innovated with a hybrid cooler model, which fits video cards and CPUs. The problem was that as a CPU cooler it achieved a very poor performance.

Because of its great looks and excellent construction quality, at first we thought it would perform better that other low-profile CPU coolers we've tested, but unfortunately this proved to not be true. It performed worst than all other CPU coolers we tested to date at full load (except for the Intel stock cooler). At least it has a low noise level.

As a VGA cooler the situation is a little different. It proved to be better than VF900-Cu LED, and kept the GPU at the same temperature independently if we set the fan at low or at high speed, showing that the product was not working at its limit. The product, however, is limited in terms of installation options: unlike VF900-Cu LED, which has a lot of installation options, VF2000 LED has only one possible screws position, which means it will not fit video cards with holes set on a different position. Because of this, we could not install it on our GeForce GTS 250. Other issue is that it takes two slots (plus the video card slot), which can be a problem if you use these two slots with expansion cards or you intend to build SLI or CrossFireX arrays.

Considering Zalman VF2000 LED is not inexpensive, has a poor CPU cooling performance and has a limited installation configuration for video cards, there is no way we can recommend it.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Zalman-VF2000-LED-Hybrid-Cooler-Review/994


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