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Zalman CNPS9500 vs Asetek Microchill

Zalman CNPS9500 vs Asetek Microchill The coolers
If there's two names you would associate with enthusiast cooling, it's Zalman and Asetek. Asetek have been known for a long time as the creators of the Vapochill cooling system, and more recently the awesome Waterchill kits. Zalman, on the other hand, have given us the Reserator water reservoir, as well as all kind of outrageous air heatsinks.

So, when both these companies step up in the same month with new air coolers, you might think Christmas has come a little early this year.

A new way of mounting

Who remembers the bad old days of Socket 7? Trying to mount a huge cooler on those sockets was a total nightmare, and often resulted in sockets that had plastic lugs broken off by the hunking chunks of metal that we installed on them. The lever mechanism on them was so horrendous, it started to become a real chore to install coolers.

With Socket 939, the latest AMD socket, we still have the lugs, but we also have more intelligent means of mounting coolers. AMD's stock cooler uses an ingenius lever mechanism, whilst these two coolers here use something a little different.

Both these coolers are big, no doubt about it. For extra security, the mounting method on these requires that you remove the black plastic frame around the socket and screw the heatsinks to the socket. This is not a quick operation. Because the screws that hold the socket to the board are sunk into a metal or plastic plate on the back of the board, it means you'll need to take your motherboard out every time you want to change the cooler - a little annoying.

The counterpoint to this should be that the coolers are more stable and secure when attached to the board. We will see...

Zalman CNPS9500 vs Asetek Microchill The coolers