eVGA 7900GT and Zalman VF900-CU - Double Review

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Good results – Josh (aka Soichiro)

The 7900GT is now about one month old, and the Zalman VF900-CU, an all copper video card heatsink with a 92mm fan, came out around the same time. However, I have yet to see a review for either of these. So, since I had already ordered the new Zalman in an attempt to get a higher overclock on my 7900GT, I decided to do a review for both of these at once.

The eVGA 7900GT is listed at $299 on eVGA’s website, with stock clocks of 450/1320:

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(Sorry for the blurry pics, I suck at using a camera)

The Zalman VF900 retails for $46.99 at Newegg.com, and includes aluminum RAM heatsinks:

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The base of the Zalman is very flat and is the most well polished I’ve ever seen from a manufacturer:

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Un installation of the stock heatsink was as simple as removing four screws and cleaning the GPU:

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The stock heatsink from eVGA is all copper and uses a 45mm Delta fan. Not a bad deal for the cheapest version of the card, although the fan (being a Delta) is very loud:

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Installation of the RAM sinks is as simple as peeling off the plastic backing and sticking them on the RAM chips. The installation of the actual heatsink is a bit harder. I’m not going to explain the process, but I will say that it becomes a lot easier if you read the manual. The finished product is below:

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Now, onto the results. The basic specs of the test system are:

  • Opteron 165 @ 2.7 Ghz
  • DFI Lanparty Ultra-D
  • 2 x 1GB OCZ Gold DDR500
  • eVGA 7900GT (the one I’ve been talking about this whole time)

Temps were recorded using the latest version of ATITool at 525/1740 (the max overclock on stock cooling):

Heatsink

Idle Temp

Load Temp

Stock Heatsink

51ºC

75ºC

Zalman VF900

44ºC

52ºC

Looking at only the idle temps, there is a distinct improvement, but not one that I would spent $50 for. But the load temps are where the Zalman really has an advantage. The temperature of my card at 100% load dropped a full 23 degrees celsius. This is close to what watercooling will get you for a fraction of the price. And of course, the Zalman showed an improvement in overclockability as well.

Heatsink

Core

RAM

Stock Heatsink

525

1740

Zalman VF900

535

1760

Not a huge improvement, but it’s still an improvement, and the Zalman should help a lot more following a volt mod.

Conclusion

The 7900GT is a great card with great overclockability, and the Zalman VF900 is a very good heatsink that is fairly easy to install. The Zalman isn’t for the average overclocker, though; this $50 heatsink will be more useful to someone planning a volt mod or someone who just wants to extend the life of their card.

Josh (aka Soichiro)

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