Eight Low-Profile CPU Coolers For Your Compact PC, Reviewed

Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet

An advancement of the aforementioned flower-style coolers, Zalman’s CNPS8900 Quiet wraps two heat pipes around copper fins to improve thermal conductivity.

A universal socket support plate uses the LGA 1150/1155/1156 and 1366 plate as a spacer, and includes a piece of plastic to serve the same purpose on other platforms (Intel LGA 775, AMD AM and FM interfaces).

Zalman’s CNPS8900 Quiet is the only cooler in today’s comparison to use a direct-contact heat pipe design. Once hailed by many firms (and several reviewers) as a giant step forward in cooler base design, its proven benefits are typically reduced material cost for the manufacturer and weight. After smashing the contact surface flat, Zalman sands it smooth.

Zalman uses shoulder screws to keep its CNPS8900 Quiet mounting brackets away from the motherboard’s surface, but doesn’t include screws for LGA 2011. Unlike several competitors, the company doesn’t appear eager to push undersized cooling onto oversized processors, and we can understand that sentiment.

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  • LePhuronn
    Zalman CNPS2X conspicuous by its absence - 28mm tall cooler that claims to be able to shift 120W?
  • Sayken
  • tiu_sergiu
    There must be 2 winners
    Nocturna NH-L12 is best quality (Don't forgot about 6 ears of warranty)
    and Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet Smart Buy
  • Haravikk
    I'm a bit surprised by the Noctua offering, as they do have a much smaller only (37mm tall) but then I expect they wanted to use as much space as possible to ensure a good score.

    Also the NH-L12 I believe is compatible with Noctua's NF-A15 which is a 150mm PWM fan with 120mm mounting holes. In my perfect small form factor case I'd swap one of those as the top fan and just use a 150mm side vent as the only exhaust for the case, with other vents as intakes over the major components, or maybe leave off the top fan in favour of fitting an 200mm fan if space allows. That being for a high performance small case anyway, anything more modest I'd probably just go for the 37mm option.

    Another favourite option is Prolimatech's Samuel 17 cool (45mm) plus one of their 140mm x 15mm Ultra Sleek Vortex fans for a total height of ~60mm, which still tops out under 2.5"