In our LGA1155 system, the Zalman CNPS14X managed a delta T value of 41˚C under load, which matched that of the Phanteks PH-TC14PE on low speed. While this was cooler than the similarly priced Gelid GX-7 and Thermolab Trinity, it was 2˚C warmer than the lower priced i30, although admittedly it was quieter than the i30 too, with its 140mm fan being just audible over the rest of the components in the case even when under load.
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Its delta T value of 56˚C in our toasty AM3+ system puts the CNPS14X towards the bottom of our charts along with the Gelid GX-7. The Thermolab Trinity, which retails for roughly the same price as the Zalman cooler, posted a delta T a whole 10˚C lower than it with its fan on high speed, but only a single degree Celcius less with its fan at low speed and thus at a similar noise level to the CNPS14X. All of the other air and water coolers that trumped it in this test are substantially more expensive, and even the all-in-one water-cooler that is the Corsair H80 couldn't beat the CNPS14X with its fans in their quietest state.
The Zalman CNPS14X again found itself near the bottom of our cooling charts in the LGA2011 test, though this is no surprise – this test system is designed to push even the best coolers to their limit and slow spinning fans are simply unable to remove heat fast enough to cool the CPU effectively. The delta T of 61˚C was 2˚C above the i30 again, but it was able to match the more expensive and louder Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer too.
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The cooling capabilities of the CNPS14X may have left a little to be desired, but in the noise department it didn't disappoint. It's definitely one of the quieter air coolers we've had on test for a while thanks to its single 140mm fan, and coolers marketed towards those looking for quiet computing will always come with a performance trade off. It's not the easiest cooler to install, but for LGA1155 or even AM3+ users looking to apply gentler overclocks to their CPUs, the CNPS14X offers a good balance between price, noise and performance, but LGA2011 users will likely want to look elsewhere.