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Zerotherm ZT-10D CPU Cooler

zerotherm zt-10dZerotherm’s latest cooler, the ZT-10D, has the looks to be a real winner upon first glance. We admit that for a larger cooler, it looks quite handsome. Zerotherm is touting the ZT-10D as being ‘the most optimized cooler for Hexa and Quad core CPUs’. With as many big name coolers currently performing so well, it makes this one helluva stand to take. We have reviewed a few Zerotherm coolers in the past so we have faith that the ZT-10D will do well.

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zerotherm zt-10d

zerotherm zt-10dZerotherm’s latest cooler, the ZT-10D, has the looks to be a real winner upon first glance. We admit that for a larger cooler, it looks quite handsome. Zerotherm is touting the ZT-10D as being ‘the most optimized cooler for Hexa and Quad core CPUs’. With as many big name coolers currently performing so well, it makes this one helluva stand to take. We have reviewed a few Zerotherm coolers in the past so we have faith that the ZT-10D will do well.

Introduction to the Zerotherm ZT-10D

Zerotherm’s latest cooler, the ZT-10D, has the looks to be a real winner upon first glance. We admit that for a larger cooler, it looks quite handsome. Zerotherm is touting the ZT-10D as being ‘the most optimized cooler for Hexa and Quad core CPUs’. With so many big name coolers currently performing so well makes this one helluva stand to take. We have reviewed a few Zerotherm coolers in the past so we have faith that the ZT-10D will do well. So with out any further adieu, on with the review! (Too cheesy…?)

Specifications

Closer look

Here we have the new ZT-10D out in the open for the world to view. I think we all can agree that it is a thing of beauty. What caught my eye was what Zerotherm calls ‘black pearl plating’. The black coloring is far better looking than the aluminum-silver we are accustomed to seeing. Even better is when mounted on any of the black motherboards that are popping up all over the place.

If the ZT-10D looks tall and large… well that’s because it is. Stands just over 6 inches tall and weighs in at 885grams. That is without any fans attached, as the bulk of it’s weight comes from the 47 rather thin aluminum fins that make up the cooler. Supporting this weight are six large heatpipes measuring 8mm in diameter. Of course this is only a secondary roll, as their main purpose is obviously to transfer the heat generated by the CPU out to said fins. We’ll see just how well they are up that task a little later.

  

  

The ZT-10D is fully capable of being mounted to any of the current sockets from AMD and Intel, which platform support goes back as far as AM2 and 775 socket, respectfully. Unlike some of the coolers we have recently tested which do not come with the bracketry for both manufacturer’s sockets, Zerotherm includes it all in the ZT-10D. We give them props there for stepping up where clearly some have not.

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Looking at the top of the cooler you can see where the pipes start and end. While this won’t affect performance any, it might have offered for a cleaner look if Zerotherm could have pinched off the ends of the heatpipes a little better. The ZT logo in the center of the top fin is a nice touch.

The base’s surface finish we found to be pretty well done. It is relatively flat and devoid of virtually all machining lines, as you no doubt have seen on other coolers. Zerotherm opted for the standard flat base as apposed to the more common route of machining the heatpipes down flat so they make direct contact with the IHS of the CPU. Seems to be 6 of one and 1/2 a dozen of the other either way you look at it, since the benefit of having direct contact is better thermal transfer, yet the downside is small gaps between the heatpipes. The older method of a solid flat base encasing the heatpipes obviously removes that gap, but efficiency of heat transfer is lower. Only the tests will be able to tell us if that hurts the ZT-10D or not.

Installation

Of course before one can test the cooler, you have to first install it! The installation process begins with us aligning the four motherboard bolts in the back plate, which is compatible with both AMD and Intel CPU types. One advantage of mounting the cooler this way is that the load of the cooler is spread out across a larger surface of the motherboard, helping to ease the imposed stress when board is mounted upright in a case .

Next, is a matter of sliding the bolts through the motherboard mounting holes. Good hand-eye coordination makes this step easy. If you’ll notice that on either side of the outer holes have a small notch in them, this is for the bolts as they have a protrusion that slips in there so when you are on the opposite side of the board tightening the nuts down the bolts don’t spin as well. 

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After placing the thermal compound to the top of the processor we mounted the cooler and secured it by using the included thumb screws.

Zerotherm does not include any fans with the ZT-10D, they did however send us over two of their high performance ZT-120F fluid bearing fans. Their specs are 120x120x25mm in size, with their power requirements of 12v and 0.20A. That small bit of amperage means they draw only 2.4W each. Screws and rubber nipples are included for both secure or quiet mounting. Two small resistor equipped adapters (blue and black plug cables) to further drop their RPM  if you are finding them noisier than you prefer, and also provided is a 3pin to 4pin Molex adapter for the second fan in case your out of fan headers on the motherboard.

A completely assembled and mounted Zerotherm ZT-10D.

Testing and results

Testing Hardware:
Motherboard: ASUS P7P55D-E Deluxe
Processor: Intel Core i5 655K @ 4.2GHz at 1.4 volts
Ram: OCZ DDR3 1600 4GB Dual Channel
Video Card: Sapphire HD 5750
HDD: Hitachi 1TB
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: NA
Cooling: Zerotherm ZT-10D
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5

Competition:
Scythe Yasya

Testing of the Zerotherm ZT-10D

Over time, we’ve found that we have been able to get a better overclock out of our i5 655K (4.2GHz) with a very respectable 1.4v, so we used this for testing the ZT-10D. To do so we allow the system to sit idle for one hour and then measured the temperature. Afterwards, we then loaded OCCT and ran a 30 minute bench session with priority set at high, then recorded the temps at the end. Each core was recorded for more detailed performance stats.

Results

We see there was not much competition between the Zerotherm ZT-10D and our test cooler, the Scythe Yasaya. At idle things were not much different between the two coolers, but with the CPU put under load with OCCT we see the ZT-10D with just a single fan outperform the Scythe offering by a single degree. Then we installed the second Zerotherm fans which dropped the idle temps another degree Celsius. Next we installed our own Aerocool Shark fans as a comparison (marked by “Our Fans” in the chart), the temps remained the same as the dual Zerotherm fans, proving they are no slouch.

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The load temps are where it counts and the ZT-10D really shows us what it can do! With a single fan it averages 6C lower than the Scythe Yasya, but toss a second fan on it and it drops an additional 7.5C! Again when pit against the Aerocool fans the Zerotherm offerings hold their own. 

Conclusion

Zerotherm’s ZT-10D is a fine example of what we are looking for in a high performance cooler. Good looks and excellent thermal cooling performance is always a winner in our book. Zerotherm did great job in making the ZT-10D one of the best looking coolers on the market. The black plating allows the ZT-10D to stand above the rest when igniting the visual testing.

Contributing to the ZT-10D’s exceptional cooling ability comes down to a few things. The first would the thinner than normal aluminum fins, a total 47 of them. The second would be the larger diameter heat pipes. At 8mm it is hard to find a cooler with larger heat pipes. The last would be the smooth and flat copper base which help make the best possible contact with the CPU. All of these features lead to a cooler that should, if given the chance, be a good contender to all the other big boys out there.

Zerotherm decided to not include fans with this cooler, which is normal by today’s standards as more and more coolers come without any. Many would say it is to give the buyer chance to pick their own performance preference, which if you do have a particular fan you’d rather use anyways this helps keep the cost to the consumer down. And no one can complain about that! 

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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