Zalman VF3000F GTX 570/580 GPU Cooler Review

Discussion in 'Reviews and Articles (Archived)' started by Rob Williams, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 is a beast of a card, able to reach 80°C with minimal effort. So what about those who value high performance along with silence? There are some options, such as Zalman's VF3000F after-market cooler. But with it requiring three slots in your PC, and $75 from your wallet, can it deem itself worthy?

    Read through our full look at Zalman's VF3000F graphics card cooler and then discuss it here!
     
  2. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    I'm sorry if this is a foregone conclusion sort of thing... But I don't get it...

    What's with NVidia? Their chips are furnaces, they suck more power than some CPUs and far as I can tell, they're nothing to write home about...

    Case in point... I recently had a system come to me with power problems. In the process of trying to diagnose the screwup I pulled out the NVidia card and stuck in a $39.00 ATI card and the system straightened right out... But it didn't end there, suddenly it was playing 1080p avi tests perfectly and running DPI Latency tests showed far lower latency than with the NVidia card... Games worked about the same... A $39.00 passively cooled ATI Radeon 4500 beat the pants off a $250 NVidia card with all it's fan noise, external power etc...

    And now we have to use external coolers on them???

    So why is NVidia such a big contender?
    I'm sorry but I just don't understand it....

    http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  3. RainMotorsports

    RainMotorsports Partition Master

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    External coolers? What?

    Anyways aftermarket cooling is an option, you can buy cards with better than reference coolers as is. Someone on the extreme end of overclocking cards would possibly like an air cooled option versus water. People want options and theyve been given to them by companies that cater such products

    As far as the Radeon 4500 series goes, a 4550 isn't going to beat anything in gaming these days. The low power model in passively cooled form serves the needs of silent and home theater pc's but you wont find it playing any of the games I play. The Radeon 5770/6770 that requires "external" power as you call it would pwn it and I still wouldn't find it useful.

    The cooler in the article is for a class of cards competing with the 6950/6970 Radeon's that require 2 6 pin or 1 6 and 1 8 pin power connector and over 250 watts of power per card. Those Radeons at load have noisy fans. They do generate less heat than nvidia but it seems everyone has forgotten when the reverse was true.

    250 dollars with nvidia's would buy you an overclocked GTX 560 Ti and smart shopping and tree killing says 150 bucks will buy you a GTX 460 that is still a contender. You bring in a low power card with no chance of competing at things these cards are supposed to do? That I don't get. Putting nVidia aside and looking only at AMD this article could have covered an aftermarket AMD water block or something for a 6970 and your points still wouldn't resonate with me.

    The best solution for watching smooth hd video and saving money on power is one argument but you cant bring the same cards into 6850 to 6970 territory why would you bring it up into a review for a 570/580 cooler?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  4. Kayden

    Kayden Tech Monkey

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    @2t2t

    I feel like your giving half the story bud. The $250 price tag means they would need an external power connection and thus would be in the X60+ range, to me it sounds like a power supply and not with the card it's self. Your talking about taking a $39 ATI card with no external power requirements and it is running AVI files just fine at 1080p but you didn't put in one from Nvidia at that same price range? I have a 8500 passive MSI video card for my MCEPC, that cost my about $45 when it was new and it runs all of my 1080p content just fine.

    As for the games running the same it sounds like your running only 2d games not 3d, because even on board video will run 2d just fine as well. Seriously dude it sounds like your comparing Apple to Oranges. I don't disagree the power requirements and most of the heat issues are down side, but isn't that the nature of a computer? I agree an ATI will run cooler and SOMETIMES give the same performance as an Nvidia card, but then we get into drivers and other factors I'm not gonna touch. The point is you need to shop for what you need, not whats higher priced and think is going to be better, more doesn't equal better. I would never ever recommend some one who plays facebook games, Big Fish games or solitaire to buy a $250 card, never.

    This is what it sounds like to me they thought bigger would be better and got the bigger card and the psu isn't working like it should and failing to run that card, don't let the dislike of Nvidia cloud the fact you put in a video card with lower power requirements say the problem is fixed, when it isn't! Your just doing a patch job and that psu needs to be replaced or its just gonna be back when it has failed. Now that opinion is based on what you have said.




    Anyways Rob nice review, glad I don't do air cooling any more! I love my single slot water cooled video cards, I don't necessarily like the work I have to put into it for the setup but in the long run having those slots available is always nice.
     
  5. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    ignore
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  6. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    What part of...
    Did you not understand?




    Actually, I'm talking about an entire computer that straighened out and flew right with a much cheaper, much less power hungry, cooler running, video card.

    Even patching in a higher rated supply didn't bring that level of improvement.
     
  7. marfig

    marfig No ROM battery

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    No, it doesn't. You need to explain a bit more what exactly are you actually comparing both cards against...

    I'd say, for the little that you give us, indeed you don't need a $250 card to watch 1080p videos. There's a reason why that card costs that much, uses so much power and heats so much. And it's not for 1080p videos.

    Nah. This Zalman thing is a flop. What we have been experiencing in fact is quite good cooling from manufacturers. Hence why the market for GPU coolers never got a real kickstart.

    That said, the idea of further cooling my GPU beyond that which is given the manufacturer gives me is appealing. This is currently the responsible for temperature rising inside our cases, stressing other components cooling requirements.

    But while Nvidia may here or there presents us with less optimal chips, this is essentially the same for both companies (nvidia and amd). Likewise these companies partners are also largely responsible if they don't offer good enough casings.

    You don't understand, because you are thinking that Nvidia is that bad; when it isn't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  8. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    I don't think NVidia is all that bad. I also don't think ATI is all that...

    What I don't get is that even after fixing the power problem temporarily with an external supply, the ATI card still kept up the NVidia card very nicely... even on a couple of games I had my friend play while I checked voltages and stuff... He saw no different in game play between the two cards... and as already discussed the other "high end" stuff worked just as well, too...

    I suppose to rephrase my question...
    How much of this GPU hype is flat out BS?

    I've been around electronics a long time, more than 30 years, and I've seen some pretty scarey stuff going on... So called "audiophiles" agonizing for hours over the $9.00 USB cord and $149.00 one to run their $800.00 external DAC that's really just a usb sound chip in a big box... I've seen otherwise sensible people taken right to the cleaners time and time again this way and at one point I began objecting to it. I would tell the customer flat out... This $49.00 "external sound card" uses the same decoder chip as this $600.00 DAC unit does... save your money. This $9.00 usb cord is made of the same copper wire as this $139.00 one is... save your money.

    Really... how much of this "super video card" stuff is real and how much of it is crap?
    How much of it only shows up during benchmarking but doesn't make a single difference you can see?
     
  9. marfig

    marfig No ROM battery

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    I see your point.

    I think the single most important factor is screen resolution. This has a strong effect on the card performance. There's really no point in spending hard money on a graphics card is i'm running a 1440x900 screen, for instance. Most entry level cards (~ $100) fill that screen resolution quite nicely. If there is a need to play certain heavy duty games, I'd certainly suggest a card in the middle middle (150 to 200 USD) for piece of mind. So when I see someone bragging about their > $300 card on such low resolutions, I'm left with a smile.

    So what then? Well, most of the problem is a certain "moar is better" culture that surrounds the gaming community, coupled with lots of misinformation and an almost pathological vulnerability to the placebo effect; "I swear I play better at 120 fps than at 80 fps!" (a physiological impossibility).

    I won't deny anyone the pleasure of spending money on something really cool and powerful. Pride is a good thing. But then, for some reason, people try to get all sorts of justifications to this behavior. They shouldn't! It's perfectly fine. But they do anyways. And it's those justifications that create myths and misinformation.

    ...

    But up the screen resolution (and the type of games one plays, or the work they do on the computer) and things start to become more justified. At 1920x1080 certain games will simply not run well on low end cards. Gamers want their games to run at the top settings because these do affect the quality (the beauty) of what one sees on the screen. At that resolution they can't do this with modern games on a $100 card and some will still have some troubles with a $200 card.
     
  10. Kayden

    Kayden Tech Monkey

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    I understood that and ran with what you said. I wasn't trying to get you upset so just calm down for a sec, so I can bring you into the fold of where my head is at.

    If there is a problem with power and a lower power rated card resolves the problem, then it's a problem for the psu and if putting in another one doesn't fix it then you now have two problems to sort, this 2nd being a driver issue. I know there is one because you had to remove the Nvidia driver and then install ATI drivers, then it started to work just fine. What I don't understand is if you saw the ATI card work better, why didn't you reinstall the Nvidia card and install it's drivers again, to see if there was a performance difference from when it was originally in there? What I would have done is put that video card back in with the slaved psu, if it worked fine I would then reconnect the original psu and see if it worked, the problem might have been driver all along, but that's how I would have gone about looking at the problem.

    I am sorry if it caused an upset dude but I only had certain amount info to work with and made the best logically conclusions I could, but I just didn't agree with your process about ts, not about if you think Nvidia or Ati is better.
     
  11. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    The test monitor on my bench is 1080p... Not sure what he's got at home.

    Especially on a 60hz screen....

    Sorry guys I don't care what fram rate you're composing at... y'er still watching 60hz.

    I don't much care how people waste their money either... it's the "being mislead" part that sticks in my craw... I once had a guy ask me --are you ready for this-- which power cord would sound better on his stereo... Yes, I said Power Cord... ROFL...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there isn't a difference... I'm just wondering it it's anywhere nearly as big a difference as is claimed...
     
  12. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    We did... how do you think I arrived at my conclusions... Trust me, I'm not so dumb as to compare a malfunctioning system to a good one... Even me with my mere 30 years experience knows better than that. I've been fixing this stuff longer than half of my customers have been alive...


    Actually it works like this... You assumed I was stupid and talked down to me... which is going to bother me every time. ESPECIALLY when people start calling me "Dude".
     
  13. Kayden

    Kayden Tech Monkey

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    My mistake wont happen again t2t2. I only went off of what you posted and the dude ref wasn't meant to be demeaning it's just how I choose to speak, no insult intended. I just wont comment on half written explanations, you obviously did more then what you said but how was I supposed to know? I let my passion for getting the right thing done get a head of getting more info but I seriously believed you had not done more than that because there was no indication that you had. I just wont let it happen again, sorry I didn't go there before now and you took it the way you did. Again my mistake I wont let it happen again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  14. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    No worries... I should probably not have assumed you would understand I'd done the required tests in a semi-credible manner. I'll be more concise next time.
     
  15. RainMotorsports

    RainMotorsports Partition Master

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    I just have to say 9 dollar usb cord! Thats expensive lol. I hope it's USB 3.0. I know I know wasn't the point. Ever since Monster invited Gizmodo to do a Mono Price vs Monster HDMI test in their own labs I have been a monoprice customer. Not that I ever bought anything from monster but the other options are not cheap either for HDMI. Cant speak for all the chinese junk they have but the cables are outstanding. I drove to 3 stores to find out a SATA cable was 20 bucks and left and even with the gas burnt still saved 10 bucks going home and ordering it off monoprice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  16. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

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    My point exactly....

    I see this stuff all the time... Audiophiles who claim they can hear --actually hear-- bit jittering in a latched sound chip... measured in nanoseconds... Gamers who argue high frame rates on 60hz monitors... hot rodders who debate the merrits of different paints in their race times... People, this is called "lost in the minutia!" and more often than not it does little more than empty your wallet, which is the manufacturer's intent.

    The days when the goal was to provide a quality product to fill a consumer need are over. These days it's all about finding new ways to part you from your money... and most often with expensive crap that, by and large, does nothing new or better.

    Coolers are a good case in point... Zalman seems to produce heatsinks artistically, looking like some giant alien flower growing in your computer rather than on any scientific bases... they almost all ignore the primary rules of good cooling...
    1) You need MASS pull heat off the device.
    2) You need surface area to dissipate the heat.
    3) You need airflow to take the heat away.

    A long time ago, back when Toms Hardware had just released their "What happens if you take off the heatsink" video and AMD was exposed as a fire hazard, I got into this debate and described a cooling solution for AMD chips that ended up being pretty much what they did with their x64 line... big plate on the chip, lots of mass, tall fins and a decent fan... All very basic, but all based on sound science.

    Now NVidia is doing the AMD thing... way too much power dissipation, tiny heat exchange surfaces, inadequate ventilation etc... and, as I pointed out from the start, their performance doesn't appear to be anything to brag about... especially when you consider there's probably very little difference in performance as the price climbs exponentially...

    At the risk of over-driving this point. The guy who's computer I fixed with the $35.00 card, went out and bought a far more expensive ATI card and got the same result... It's a common --and painfully stupid-- consumer mistake to think that "expensive equals better", when most often it merely means "expensive".

    The one review I'd love to see, but I'm betting no reviewer would ever do is the "How much better is it?" comparison... $35.00 ATI vs $150 ATI... $40 NVidia vs $250 NVidia... just how much more performance does your money get you?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  17. Relayer

    Relayer E.M.I.

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    Your overall complaint currently applies to both brands. Both companies higher end cards use too much power and run too hot, IMO. The HD6900's aren't exactly quiet or cool. I think it's because we are still on 40nm when we should have been at 32nm by now. Soon, when 28nm arrives I think we'll see lower powered, cooler running cards that give better performance.
     
  18. RainMotorsports

    RainMotorsports Partition Master

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    I was so sure this was so over lol.
     
  19. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    Nerd rage tech debates are never over. Dis is teh interwebz!
     
  20. spixel

    spixel Obliviot

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    Sorry for bumping such an old thread but I just had to comment. I never understand how so many review sites out there seem to get things wrong. I bought one of these coolers and it dropped my 570 on load from 83 degrees to 47 degrees on lowest fan speed. 44 @ medium fan and 40 @ high fan.

    You're also not the only reviewer who got a bit confused with the low/medium/high settings of the cooler. I noticed right away that after 50 percent the rpm does not increase, however there is still 3 clear low/medium/high settings with the fanmate. You tested low/high/high in your review. I'm not sure why your results are so far off from mine though, maybe it was not mounted properly.
     

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