Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 1
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Introduction

With graphics card's clocking faster and faster, aftermarket cooling is becoming more of a "need" than a "want," especially if you have any hopes of overclocking. 

Today, I'm going to look at Zalman's VF900-Cu, a brand new heatsink on the market, featuring two heatpipes and an all-copper flower styled heatsink design.

Packaging

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The packaging for the VF900-Cu is very nice, and high quality.  None of that plastic stuff that tends to get very sharp as you try to rip it open.  The front shows the cooler clearly, and tells you what card's the heatsink is incompatible with.  On the rear, there is a cool see-through hole where it shows the base of the heatsink.

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Above the see-through hole are the specs.  Zalman clearly shows off the features, as well as showing pictures of certain features. 



Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 2
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Specifications

Directly from the Zalman USA website.

Specifications
- Dimensions : 96(L) X 96(W) X 30(H)mm
- Weight : 185g
- Base Material : Pure Copper
- Bearing Type : 2-Ball
- Speed : 1,350 ~ 2,400rpm ± 10%
- Noise Level : 18.5 ~ 25.0dB ± 10%

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Accessories

The heatsink comes with many accessories, that justifies the price of this heatsink.  Included with the Zalman VF900-Cu, are the following items.

1) Heatsink Assembly (VF900-Cu)
2) Eight RAM Heatsinks
3) Four Nipple
4) Four Fixing Nuts
5) One PVC Washer Plate
6) Four Rubber Rings
7) Four Springs
8) Thermal Grease
9) FAN Controller(FAN MATE 2)
10) Cable for FAN MATE 2
11) Dual-sided Tape(to attach FAN MATE 2)
12) User's Manual - in English and Korean

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It even includes the very useful and versitile Fan Mate 2, a $7 item alone.  This is better than the usual 5V/12V adapters they give you.  The Fan Mate 2 gives you ultimate control, and balance between silence and performance.

Included is also a very thorough manual, some thermal paste, a nice Zalman case badge, and all of the required hardware for proper installation on just about any card on the market.


Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 3
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Appearence

The Zalman VF900-Cu is very aesthetically pleasing.  It's a lot nicer looking than it's sibbling, the VF700-Cu.  You will be very suprised, though, as the heatsink itself is quite small.  Take a look at it compared to a brand new tube of Arctic Silver 5.

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Quite small.  Now let's take a look at the base.  The smoothness of the base is very important for good heat transfer.  Some manufacturers skimp on the base finish, and leave you with clear machine marks. 

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WOW.  That has got to be the best job I have ever seen out of a factory.  No need to lap this heatsink, it looks like it has been pre-lapped!  Very reflective, and flat.  I guess you get what you pay for.  Now let's install this beast.

 


Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 4
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Installation

Installing this card is fairly easy, and I think uses a much better method than the VF700-Cu.  The VF700-Cu, only makes use of 2/4 mounting holes available on most modern cards, while the VF900-Cu uses all four, better distributing pressure.. which leads to better overall contact and heat transfer.  Heres some pictures of the VF700-Cu, the card, and eventually the VF900-Cu mounted.

 
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As you can see, the mounting system isn't the best.  The bracket for the VF700-Cu is quite cumbersome during installation.  Let's get to installing the VF900-Cu, shall we?  I've been reading up on these heatsinks a lot, and people say with the VF series, it's best to spread an even coat of Arctic Silver 5.  I did so, with my leet high-school student ID card.  Any credit card type card works.

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Mounted up.  Really nice heatsink in my opinion.  Great contact too.  Make sure you tighten down each knob extremely tight.  The tighter the better, until a certain point.  The springs limit you, to how much you can tighten the heatsink down.  I pretty much flattened the springs.

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Looks good, I must say myself.  Now let's look at the performance.

 


Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 5
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Testing & Performance

After the installation of the video card, I fired up the computer.  Here's some temps & comparisons.  Both heatsinks were on 100% fan speed, performance mode.

Idle: VF700-Cu

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Idle: VF900-Cu

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There is a large drop in idle temperature, between the VF700-Cu and the VF900-Cu.  Let's see how the VF900-Cu handle's a load.

Load: VF700-Cu

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Load: VF900-Cu

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Comparison


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A 7ºC drop in load temperature.  Very suprised, and happy with the result.  The suprising thing is, this heatsink is much quieter than the VF700-Cu!






Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 6
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Testing & Performance Cont.

Now to see how this card handles overclocking.  Let's shoot for 700/800.

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Wow, impressive!  And very stable too, tested it out with about 15 minutes of Counter Strike: Source! 

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That's quite the clock jump!  I must say, I'm extremely impressed with this heatsink.  Let's see how it does on a 7900GT!


Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 7
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Testing & Performance Cont. - 7900GT

Yet another VF900-Cu has arrived for testing.  This time it's going on an eVGA 7900GT CO SE.  Note, i did not use any ramsinks during testing.  I chose to order OCZ Copper BGA sinks insead of using the Zalman ones.  These were not available at the time of testing.

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Yet another perfect base from Zalman.  That's pure quality, and attention to detail.  There was one problem with this heatsink.  It only included 3 of the 4 springs for the rear screws.  My VF900-Cu included them all. I plan to contact Zalman USA about the problem, but the cooler seemed to work fine with only 3/4 of the springs.  You just had to be careful not to tighten it down too far.

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The stock cooler for this card is very small, but is quite sufficient as the card's core is built on the new 90nm process.  The core is quite small, physically too.  The 7900GT is also noticeably shorter in length than the 7800GT, and it also uses less power.  A nice thin coat of Arctic Silver 5 should do the trick.

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Lets see how this heatsink performs, and looks!

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Look's great!  Now lets test performance.


Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 8
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ufo1.com/ad/c.js"></script> Posted 04/12/2006
Author: Nicholas Sarpolis (NickS)
Hardware Acquired: Silicon Valley Compucycle & Newegg,com

Testing & Performance Cont. - 7900GT


Load: Stock Cooling

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Load: VF900-Cu

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Comparison

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The VF900-Cu dropped the load temps by a whole 20ºC!  Amazing to say the least!  The idle temps took a big hit, too!  The previous stable overclock being 571/1644, let's see how the VF900-Cu fares, even without ramsinks.

Max Stable OC

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The graph is scaled pretty badly on the core clock end because of the high RAM clocks, but as you can see it makes a huge difference.  600MHz on a non-volt modded 7900GT is awesome, too.

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That card is rippin!  The VF900-Cu excels on both cards, bringing the stable overclocks way up. 



Zalman VF900-Cu Page: 9
Conclusion

I'm extremely impressed by this heatsink. The way it performed in my small, Antec Super Lanboy case was amazing. My computer is relitively quiet, compared to the average overclocked rig. With only low-speed fans in use, there is more of a slight breeze internally, than most wind-tunnel like pc's. With this limited amount of airflow, the VF900-Cu still trounced the VF700-Cu, in both performance and noise.

The price vs. performance ratio is awesome. Yes, it is one of the most expensive video card heatsinks on the market, but it includes the Fan Mate 2, and has awesome performance.

The VF900-Cu on a 7900GT CO SE performed just as good. With a slightly larger case (Antec Solution Series), and slightly more powerful fans (2x 120x38MM Panaflo's on LOW via Zalman FanMate II's), it held up great temperatures, not passing 50ºC at any time. This is truly a revolutionary video card cooler, and I reccomend it to anyone with either an nVidia or ATi based graphics card.

Zalman Tech Support: I called Zalman USA earlier, and spoke to one of their tech reps. First off, he spoke proper english. Look's like Zalman didn't outsource their tech support. Secondly, they're sending me new springs USPS, ASAP! Great, prompt tech support. I also noted that the guy seemed to know what he was doing, and was even interested in the card I was using! Techs that are into the tech, now that's cool.

For the nVidia cards...

Pro's
Good Performance
Quieter than most heatsinks
Light weight
Great build quality & base

Con's
Can be out of some people's price range


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For the ATi Cards

Pro's
Light Weight
Quiet
Good build quality & base

Con's
Can be out of some people's price range
Stock X1K Heatsink, with aftermarket thermalpaste performs better

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