Here are the first pictures of CNPS12X, Zalman’s new top-tier CPU cooler. Zalman is popular for its omega-shaped aluminum fin ring coolers that were counted among the best in the business for the better part of last decade, before tower-type coolers took over. Tower-type coolers offer the best cooling efficiency to the weight. The only way so far to better tower-type air-coolers in their category is double-tower type, where heat pipes pass through two aluminum fin towers, with two or three fans nested in between, in coolers such as the Noctua NH-D14 and Coolink Corator DS. Zalman made its first tower-type cooler with CNPS10X, and later implemented the design a number of times over, on CNPS11X, CNPS5X, and CNPS7X.
The CNPS12X is a faint tribute to the round fin-ring design heatsink, except that it’s not. It is a double-tower type heatsink, with ring-like aluminum fin stacks. Unlike with true ring-type heatsinks where fins would propagate along the main heat pipes, on CNPS12X, they pass straight upwards from the base. The heat pipes pass through the first fin stack, through a base where they make direct contact with the CPU, and then on through the second fin stack. The cooler comes with three fans pre-installed, one at the intake, one between the two fin stacks, and one at the exhaust. The heatsink is large, at 151 (L) x 132 x 153 mm, weighing in at 1.00 kg.