Zalman ZM-NBF47

Jan 23 2010

 

 

 

C78

 

I like to listen to music and watch movies with my computer just like everyone else and often times I wish my environment was quieter. I hate having to use headphones because they get uncomfortable really quickly. I'm unfortunate to have a noisy computer and it's what you deal with for having a fast rig. Whenever I turn off the PC I really appreciate how quiet the room gets. It becomes a struggle whether I want a fast, but noisy computer or a silent one yet not as fast. It was apparent that I wanted something in the middle.

The cheapest solution in silencing a noisy computer is to replace the fans that cools it. High speed fans are usually the culprit followed by the harddrive. Those two are pretty much the only moving parts in most computers.

The motherboard I have is an Asus A8N5X with a Nforce4 chipset. A quick inspection revealed the chipset fan was the noisiest thing in my rig. Most of these tiny fans spin at a fast RPM to compensate for their diminutive size. This also results in a high pitch noise. It simply had to go.

 

 

I went shopping at Newegg for a fanless replacement and found the Zalman ZM-NBF 47. It is an all aluminum, anodyzed heatsink. It's a very unique looking heatsink comprised of individual fins that are wedged and sandwiched together, forming one seemingly solid heatsink. The fins fan out to increase surface area while maintaining a small footprint. Holes have been stamped out in the middle of each fins to aid in air circulation.

It is larger than the stock heatsink it's replacing but due to its design it has no clearance issues with the Asus A8N5X motherboard. The heatsink dimensions are 81 x 37 x 47mm.

 

 

The mating surface of the Zalman is quite smooth with barely visible lines where the fins come together. Although it is not glass-smooth I think it is adequate enough to make good contact with the chipset. A tiny tube of thermal paste is included with the package.

 

 

The unique design of the heatsink required unique brackets to install it. Two mounting style brackets are included. It is compatible with mounting holes or loops on motherboards.

 

 

The following images shows my bracket configuration.

 

 

I must admit it was not an easy task to install the ZM-NBF47. Aligning the holes of the brackets with that on my motherboard was by trial and error. It was frustrating and at one point I thought I would not be able to get the holes aligned perfectly. Eventually, I did. Once the holes were aligned I carefully tightened the screws so the brackets were locked in place. It became apparent that this heatsink, even with its movable brackets can only be positioned a number of ways. It does not have full 360° freedom of position(if that makes any sense) like I initially assumed.

My Geforce 6200 LE video card was in the way and I had to angle the Zalman slightly.

 

Zalman ZM-NBF47

 

It is important to note that you should have good air circulation inside your PC when using the ZM-NBF 47, otherwise the heat simply accumulates on the heatsink without a way to disperse it. It is a fanless design and you may be able to get away with not using a fan depending on your situation. In my case I felt I needed an active fan blowing on the Zalman. I jerry-rigged an 80mm fan to blow on it.

 

Zalman ZM-NBF47

 

The Asus A8N5X motherboard has no thermal sensor on the chipset so I was not able to read any temperature. I did try fanless and when I touched the Zalman with my fingers it felt uncomfortably hot. With the added fan it was only warm. I'd say it's on par if not cooler than the stock heatsink/fan. It's certainly quieter and that was my main goal.

Overall, this is a great product if you're looking to silence your rig. It looks great and performs admirably. The installation was a bit involved but nothing I couldn't handle. I highly recommend it.

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