Zalman VF-900 Cu VGA Cooler Review This is my first actual product review so pls excuse any mistakes. Comments/Suggestions are welcome. Introduction: The following article is a review of the Zalman VF-900 Cu VGA cooler from Zalman USA (Website: http://www.zalmanusa.com ). Product Features: Pure copper heatsink base and fins maximize cooling performance. Use of two high performance heatpipes maximizes heat transfer. Circular heatsink formed by radially aligned ultra-thin(0.2mm) fins minimizes airflow resistance and maximizes heat dissipation surface area for excellent cooling performance. Fan installed in the heatsink cools not only the VGA chipset and VGA RAM, but all other VGA components. Does not exert any excessive force on the VGA card due to the product’s light weight. Improvement in the installation structure provides excellent compatibility and easy installation. Adjustable fan speed controller(FAN MATE 2) enables control of noise and fan speed. Does not generate noise or vibration in Silent Mode. features are from Zalman USA website. Test System: CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Motherboard: ASUS A8N-E RAM: 1 GB DDR 400 (2 X 512) Graphics Card: XFX 7800GT 256MB DDR3 The XFX 7800GT is factory overclocked and so produces a lot of excess heat. This card is notorious for overheating often. The stock cooler does a good job in most situations but in graphics intensive applications such as certain high end games, the core temperatures sometimes exceeded 90°C. Although the threshold temperature of the chip is 115°C, this temperature is still quite a lot higher than normal comfortable operating temperatures. Also, if the ventilation in the cabinet is inadequate, the excess heat can spread to the other components and overheat them as well. Hence I decided to replace the stock cooler of the card with a Zalman VF-900. Testing Procedure: For testing the performance cooler, the following steps were performed for both the stock cooler as well as the Zalman VF-900. Let the system idle for 30 minutes and note the maximum core temperature Run 3dMark05© and note the maximum core temperature after the run Run 3dMark05© again and note the maximum core temperature after the second run Riva Tuner was used to record temperatures. Zalman VF-900 installation: The above picture shows the retail packaging for the VF-900. The cooler is quite tightly packed to avoid any damage to it during transportation. The above picture shows the contents of the Zalman VF-900 retail package. It contains the Cooler assembly, User Manual, RAM sinks, FAN Mate 2 controller, Thermal Grease and the required accessories for mounting the cooler on the card. The picture shows the XFX 7800GT with its stock cooler installed. The stock cooler cools the core as well as the RAM chips on the card. The above picture shows the 7800GT with the stock cooler removed. The core is covered with thermal grease from the previous installation. The RAM chips were covered with thermal pads, which have be removed. To prepare the card for the Zalman VF-900, the core has to be cleaned with alcohol to remove the old thermal paste. Acetone can also be used for this purpose. The RAM chips too have to be cleaned so that the RAM sinks adhere properly to them. The above picture shows the card after cleaning the core and the RAM chips. The card is now ready for the VF-900. The picture shows the 7800GT after installation of the RAM sinks. After installing the RAM sinks, the core has to be coated with thermal grease to ensure optimal contact and heat transfer between the core and the VF-900. A thin layer of the supplied thermal grease was applied. PS: I made a mistake while applying the first few RAM sinks. As shown in the pic, they are not aligned properly. I didnt want to remove them and attach them again because the thermal stickers lose their adhesive power if that is done. The above two pictures show the card after the installation of the VF-900. The card is now ready to be inserted into the test system and benchmarked. Test Results and Conclusion: Stock Cooler Idle Temperature: 67°C 3dMark05 Run 1: 84°C 3dMark05 Run 2: 85°C Zalman VF-900 Cu Idle Temperature :61° 3dMark05 Run 1:74°C 3dMark05 Run 2:76°C As can be seen, the Zalman VF-900 helped reduce the idle temperatures by 6°C and the load temperature by around 9-10°C. This is a significant reduction in the temperature. Also the Zalman VF-900 is much quieter than the stock cooler even when the fan is running at full speed (speed can be controlled using the supplied Fan Mate 2 controller). The temperatures can be further reduced by using high quality Thermal Grease such as Arctic Silver 5. In conclusion, the Zalman VF-900 is quite a capable cooler and can be recommended to anyone who needs to reduce their Graphics Card temperatures and also reduce noise levels as well. The installation is so easy that anyone can do it. If theres one negative thing to say, it must be the quality of the supplied thermal grease. I found it to be inadequate for the job. Other than that, this is an excellent product.