Zalman CNPS20X CPU Cooler Review vs. NH-D15, Arctic Liquid Freezer II

by birtanpublished on September 9, 2020

The last time we worked with Zalman on review ended with the company attempting to purchase ads from us in exchange for taking down the review that was for the company Zalman our one case which we published in 2015 and which by the way remains available online we later

Published a piece called the slimy underside of the hardware industry which had some unnamed companies in it but anyway that was all just six months after Zalman defaulted on a three billion wan loan and had its export and

Accounting documents allegedly forged by its parent company done to fake higher profits than reality and to receive large bank loans that phone call we received was also right around the time that Zalman's former parent company man

Wall had its CEO sentenced to a then record-setting 23 years in prison in Korea for defrauding banks for loans the parent company owed over 31 million dollars in damages folded and left a Salman unsupervised to try and fix its

Reputation Salman apparently thought that the best way to do that was to offer a $500 ad purchase in exchange for taking down a review so we swore them off and never worked with them again and that review

Remains live to this day in the time since Salman has apparently changed ownership it's apparently changed PR and marketing people and we're willing to give them another shot so we purchased the CNP s 20x from Amazon for $100 this

Is their new tower cooler and it's in the long-standing C NPS line from Zalman so we're going to be benchmarking this today against other big air coolers and liquid coolers to see if the company has righted any of its wrongs before that

This video is brought to you by us and our patreon page aside from the Jian store one of the best ways to support our high expenditure on testing quality and equipment is to join our patreon page we've been posting weekly

Behind-the-scenes videos lately to update our backers on developments @gn you can gain access to our patreon discord videos featuring other team members and patrons asked yen videos at patreon.com slash gamers and access the

Funding has been going straight into maintaining our testing quality learn more at the link in the description below the last time Zalman emailed us was in 2019 and at the time it was a a lot of changes apparently in the

Company they asked us if we would work with them again on reviewing a product and we gave them an extremely firm no screw off and later we learned that the company had gone through a complete restructuring so it's hard to actually

It's impossible to ignore Salman's past history and we won't even try because the company was one of the shadiest slimy aspossible companies to work with in the industry at the time I mean look at their legal history their parent

Company was dragged through the court system to sort of prove all that so anyway they've gone through some changes we'll see if they've actually recouped things today this is the CMPs 20x we've got a lot of thermal testing

On this one today we ran it through our whole normal suite including the new CPU testing methodology we have four coolers so if you want to learn more about how we test CPU coolers you can check our previous review videos or our article on

CPU cooler testing methodology we're just going to do the numbers today in addition to talking about the marketing and the installation process of this cooler just like we did recently for the Arctic liquid freezer – which will be

Included in these benchmark charts as well if you try to research these almond CMPs 20 X you might search for something like quote Zelman see NPS 20 X on Google which brings you to a helpful not found page you might next try to go to Zalman

Comm /en click on CPU cores and then click on the EC NPS 20 X but you'd be a fool for doing so because that link is also broken eventually we found our way over to the page for the new cooler and read through the marketing this coolers

Primary feature is its inclusion of copper colored fins in the center more for marketing than anything and it's the next most prominent feature is the fan design we're not a hundred percent sure if those fins are copper because they

Don't mention it explicitly on the marketing page but they at least look that way so it seems reasonable that that be a marketing push the company claims that the cooler uses quote reverse direct touch heat pipes also

Known as nickel-plated cold plates which makes extraordinary claims of a quote 20x increase in cooling performance Salman also decided to break the laws of physics by creating a fin stack which is somehow both quote four dimensional and

Stereoscopic simultaneously which were pretty sure makes it actually eight dimensional since stereo Scott like is the amalgamation of two images and two times four is eight the 4d stereoscopic corrugated cooling fin

Aluminum heatsink might sound like a strain of words that was on a dart board and pushed together but actually it means something really important for the product what it means is what it means is hmm moving on the next marketing

Point pertains to Zalman's fans which it says quote minimize vibration and noise by implementing biomimetics showing that Zalman's marketing team douve just as deep into the thesaurus as Mon Wall did into other people's pockets biomimetic

Is defined as quote relating to or denoting synthetic methods which mimic biochemical processes which Zalman applies to its fans Zalman says that it quote applied biomimetic technology with the motif of spider legs claiming that

The large amount of plastic obstructing the intake and the lack of a frame is it used to minimize vibration we'll test that in our benchmarks today as well finally we'd be remiss to leave out the emphasis on LEDs zelmans has it best

Claiming quote RGB LEDs utilizing the straightness characteristic of LEDs are placed in the housing to realize a distinctive LED pattern our testing uses a standardized thermal paste for fairness and accuracy but Zalman also

Includes a tube of thermal paste that it markets to be quote a superconductor but we'd assume not that kind of superconductor either way Salman's chart is confidence-inspiring because it's scale

Starts at 14 and ends at 27 degrees and each line on the chart is a one degree increase causing a delta of one degree celsius to look ginormous although Zalman's marketing might look overly complicated for the product the

Only thing that's more complicated for it is the needlessly complex installation procedure for the CMPs 20x the Zalman CMPs 20x requires 26 individual pieces of hardware to install to the motherboard

So it is one of the most again needlessly complex installation procedures we've ever worked with the backplate is well piece number one first of all the backplate is custom you can't use the am for backplate with am for

Boards it requires four standoffs to pass through it each of which needs to be capped with its own plastic housing to hold the screw in place once this is done a piece of rubber has to be installed on the

Backplate to prevent it from creating a potential direct short on the back of the motherboard the next step is to install four washers on top of the motherboard then four screws then two supports then four screw caps then the

Cooler then two spring mounted tension screws and then you're mostly done other than wiring up the fans this is again the most convoluted solution possible for a simple air cooler fortunately you only typically have to install a cooler

Once so it's only going to be inconvenient and annoying one time that doesn't make the design less bad but it certainly means it has less of an impact on the overall review what we really care about is going to be the

Performance the first test is our 35 DB a noise normalized test on the 3950 X which is about a 200 watt heat load for this one coolers are left completely stock but the CPU and the bench are controlled heavily this includes the

Stock original fans on the cooler except they have their noise level adjusted to meet a uniform at 35 DBA across all tested coolers the system is completely controlled for all voltages frequencies and other parameters as is ambient

Temperature and the room between the 35 DBA tests the 100% speed tests and the two CPUs we tested on and the auto tests we did the Zalman cooler has undergone about 26 test passes one for each piece of mounting hardware to install the

Cooler here's the first chart for this one the Zalman C NPS 20 x at 35 DB a matched the performance of knocked was NHD 15 the two coolers are within one degree of each other and that's within our one degree of error the Zalman unit

In spite of all of its marketing trying to make it sound questionable is actually not bad from a pure CPU cooling performance standpoint it's not able to break away from the rest of the large air coolers but it's not also getting

Dragged along the ground like the Corsair a 500 which is overly expensive for its relative performance and also loud when it's maxed out the liquid freezer 2 is our chart topper here at 52 degrees and posts a 5 degree advantage

Over the CMPs 20x or the NHD 15 at a similar price to both so far the CMPs 20x is doing ok it's not some miraculous cooler leads the pack but it's also not a meme at least well not for this reason maybe

For the marketing reasons next chart this one shows the vrm thermals for the same test remember that this is a cooler benchmark not a motherboard benchmark so our goal is to determine how much the cooler influences air flow around the VR

App liquid coolers are mounted to the side of the bench at approximately the same distance as a top mounted liquid cooler would be in a case and so their advantage here we care more about the comparison between big air coolers the

Liquid freezer – just as a note isn't unsurprising chart-topper given that it has a vrm fan dedicated to this purpose the Knox WA NHD 15 is the next best performer at 37 degrees 41 degrees and 36.6 degrees for our three points of erm

Measurement the Zalman CMPs 20x has roughly the same vrm – measurement reading at 35 point one but manages at nine degrees warmer on vrm one then the NHD 15 and about five point five degrees higher on vrm zero measurement now these

Numbers are in an objective sense bad since most prm's will be far away from overheating like this one is and a couple degrees won't typically dictate whether a vm overheats or doesn't it might just prolong another 30 seconds to

A minute how long it takes a nine degree difference is comparatively starting to get a large difference but the VR I'm so far away from being a problem area either way it's the result of airflow that's more limited in the lower levels

Of the cooler as opposed to the D 15 where we've got some additional airflow at the lower end just below the fin stack and that's why it's got a nine degree advantage for a knocked wa the next test is for cold plate levelness

Measured in microns from a known calibrated zero point this is the test that more or less sank the Corsair a 500 and was identified as its weak point the Zalman CMPs 20 X ends up about where the average is it's not terrible which makes

Sense given its performance that was about tied with other big air coolers and it's also not as good as the deep cool assassin threes extreme level mnestheus about 11 microns for the Zelman cooler whereas the median for the

Nhd 15 is about 7.5 the NHD 15s max value is about 27 as compared to the CMPs 20 X is 20 microns the next test is for the 100% fan speed benchmark on the third 50 acts this is more useful if you plan

To plug the cooler in let it go to max speed and leave it alone this test allows the fans to run as fast as they can which means we're no longer controlled at an equal noise level anything with it louder vans will

Generally increase in rank but some are disproportionately loud to the outcome a dichotomous example of this would be the EVGA CLC 360 jocks opposed to a thei Corsair a 500 the a 500 runs at 50 1.1 DBA but roughly matches the performance

Of the 43.9 DBA noctua and HD 15 the EVGA CLC 360 wins in a technical sense but is absolutely unbearable at 60 point 4 DBA one left to full fan speeds Zalman's CMPs 20x runs about fifty four point four degrees / ambiens putting it

Alongside the assassin 3 which runs at an equal noise level and about the same thermal performance its alongside the D 15 as well which is one degree warmer but at a lower noise level the liquid coolers somewhat unsurprisingly are

Allowed to run away with the game the liquid freezer 2 manages fifty point nine degrees at a lower noise level than the big air coolers managing 54 degrees for those the next chart shows the time required to reach steady state or

Equilibrium helping illustrate how quickly a cooler reaches its sustained temperature during the torture workload the liquid coolers can go about five minutes before Max while the air coolers all cluster around 90 to 100 seconds at

Least so far the Zalman CMPs 20x is outdoing the nhd 15 and assassin 3 by about 10 seconds here that's not a massive gain it's 10 seconds it's not like this is an abstract measurement that's just time but it is a noteworthy

And a measurable one and it's advantaged here we'll cap it there for the benchmarks couple more things about this so on the positive side the performance is actually it's about average not a negative way it's just it's about where

The other large air coolers are it's within one degree of anoxia and HD 15 which is within our acceptable area error and variance it leans towards being a bit better than the D 15 but not more than 1 degree Celsius and even that

Begins to be a bit questionable so what we can definitively say is is approximately the same as the nhd 15 and even if it's objectively better by one degree you're talking one degree the assassin 3 is another cooler that is

Actually we've Ike it in terms of air cooling performance it's good but it's another one where they had some lies like just straight-up lies in their marketing not even just over marketing or misrepresenting but just literally

Lying about the product we have a whole video on that now the assassin 3 is still a good cooler and so you know that they fixed their marketing materials on websites it's gotten back to being accurately represented today at least so

Anyway the marketing is one thing and unfortunately zalman much like deep cool is making its product look stupid with marketing that is just overly and bombastic and making things up too much so the cooler is objectively average and

If you really like the way it looks or something and you don't mind the the noise testing the thermals are about where you want it and you prefer how this looks over the d15 and the assassin 3 and you don't want a liquid cooler

Then it's fine and you shouldn't really in terms of performance feel bad about buying it so Zelman has marketing they should probably tone down because it's making their product look silly but a product which is actually ok and maybe

The company's turned around on the not being quite so slimy side of things but time will tell about that we obviously still have a tainted relationship with them because can you blame us anyone would if you've gone through basically

Being offered money to take down a review is like the biggest possible violation of our ethics and so that offended us greatly and we never worked with them again and it took this long to come back to trying it out time will

Tell if Salman has moved on from that but the product is ok couple more things to mention about it the fan mount we actually do really like so it's kind of a brilliant fan mount system it's really simple mechanically it's something

Anyone could do if they wanted to but they do a have a much cleaner amount than some of the other companies with bigger air coolers knocked was included it's not that great really and a set the assassin

Three is also not great so they've done well with the fan mount it's two brackets that hook in with much more security than the others so we did like that downside to mention is there is some vibrational noise and sort of like

A resonant hum in the thin stack with the fans at higher speeds or at certain rpms anyway and it almost sounds similar to offend lightly clipping a cable which is not what was happening here but it's it's a slight resonant vibrational noise

And it's annoying at the higher rpms we don't know whether it's a units unit thing or whether you just need to run it at an RPM that's different than where it had like slightly lower but that was one of the downsides to note on the noise

Front at $100 and it's about the same place as every other large air cooler on the market most of them are in the 90 to 100 range the Arctic liquid freezer – is objectively superior by five six degrees to put on the test and is it's got the

Benefit of erm cooling which depending on what you're doing might not really matter it's liquid some people don't like that but if you want something that's just objectively better and you don't mind liquid it's the same price

You should buy that versus pretty much any of these as long as it fits in the case if you don't like liquid and we discussed the ups and downs of it in other videos then your choice is assassin 3d 15 or this just by whichever

One you think looks the best this is a pain in the ass to install and it's got some other small issues but you know products fine so that's it for this one hopefully Zalman can stick with making reasonable products brick tone down the

Marketing and not be incredibly slimy and you know having a parent company that does illegal things again they'd be in a much better spot so we'll keep an eye on them and try more stuff that they make if they can stick to a new

Philosophy of acting legally so that's it for this one thanks for watching subscribe for more as always we bought this ourselves so if you want to help fund our testing on things like this you can get a store doc here in Texas net

And pick up shirts a mod mat whatever you like or patreon.com slash gamers Nexus where we've got some extra videos thanks for watching we'll see you all next time

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