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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [12.03.02]
Manufactured by: Zalman


What You Get

The ZM80A is ONLY to be used on video cards with peg-holes for fan installation.  One of our major problems with the previous Zalman heatpipe cooler was the fact that it HAD to be glued on permanently.  If you upgrade your video card, you'll also need to buy a new silent heatsink for it.

One concern with using peg-holes for fan installation is that not all video cards use the same configuration.  MOST use a common configuration, such as that used by Thermaltake's Blue Orb.  However with the new GF4 cards coming in various sizes depending on models, and ATI actually becoming a viable video card to purchase, it is getting harder and harder to find a common peg-hole configuration.

Zalman addressed this issue wonderfully by offering two types of heatblocks.  The heatblocks you see on the left are to be used with the huge GF4 Ti4400 and Ti4600 video cards.  Most other cards, such as the ATI 9700 Pro we're using for this review, will use the smaller block.

Not only do you get 2 different heatblocks to use, the pegs are completely adjustable by a great degree.  As long as your card has peg-holes, it should be completely compatible with this unit.  Don't worry about it being crooked in the picture - this picture was taken before adjustment ;).

Because the screws are used to attach the entire unit to your video card, it is very important to stress that you MUST have a card with peg-holes.  You can NOT get by by gluing your block onto the GPU - you would have no way to install the heatsink on the other side!

You should also note that it takes up the PCI slot immediately adjacent to the AGP slot.  This is nothing new with performance heatsinks of course.

And finally, you may have a video card with ramsinks installed.  Now the issue of ramsinks and their usefulness is quite beyond the scope of this review, but if you have a video card with huge ramsinks, they may interfere with installation of the Zalman unit.

My suggestion would be to remove the sinks completely, since they are nothing more than a decoration.  Keep them handy though, and glue them back on if you ever have to RMA your card or sell it to someone who may not appreciate a silent cooling solution.

Now let's install this thing, it sure looks complicated, that's for sure!

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