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Appeared on: Monday, February 15, 2010
Zaward Vapor 120

1. Features, specifications


Power users

PC cooling specialist Zaward has recently released its latest CPU cooler code-named Vapor 120. The cooler features the patent pending 'breathable' heatsink design, promising to offer high performance while being available at an affordable price.

Featuring a Direct Heat Pipe Contact (H.D.T) with the CPU, the cooler provides rapid heat transfer. In addition, Zaward has installed a 120mm fan for efficient air flow through the heatsinks. The cooler is compatible with all the latest sockets.

Before we run our benchmarks, let's see a few details about this cooler.

- Product features

- Specifications

Application Socket
Intel LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366
AMD AM2, AM2+, AM3, 754, 939, 940
Dimension 120 (W) x 50 (D) x 160 (H) mm
Fin Aluminum alloy with 3 x O8mm copper heatpipes
Base Aluminum with H.D.T
Dimension 120 x 120 x 25 mm
Voltage rate DC 12V
Consumption current 0.45A max.
Rated input power 5.4W max.
Air pressure 3.47 mmAq
Bearing type Long life Duro bearing
Speed 300±200 rpm ~ 2000±10%
Air flow 93.96 CFM max.
Noise level 10~34.3 dBA
Connector 4 pin with PWM function
LED 4 blue
Life time 60,000 hours
Thermal resistance 0.15 °C/W
Weight(Net) 684 ± 20g

2. A closer look

The Zaward Vapor 120 cpu cooler comes in cool retail package as you can see in the picture below. In order to get it , you will have to spend ~ $48, making it quite competitive for the category.

The cooler can be installed in Intel LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 & AMD AM2, AM2+ and AM3 sockets.

A hard plastic shell protects the package's contents keeping them in place. The package includes many different mounting screws/plates/nuts and standoffs. There is also a printed manual and some metallic brackets used for the installation of the 120mm fan. Make sure to read the instructions before attempting to install this cpu cooler:

The cooler has a typical design with three U-shaped full copper heatpipes (8mm diameter) connecting the base with the aluminium fins. The dimpled aluminium fin design are causing what Zaward calls the "breathing effect." According to the company, this design offers an improved heating exchange efficiency by 30%, among the fins and the heat pipes.

The direct contact of the pipes with the CPU (H.D.T.) provides rapid heat transfer:

The installed 120mm fan supports the PWM function (300±200 rpm~2000±10%), allowing you to set the rotation speed of the fan through the PC BIOS. The fan has also blue LED lighting.

Installing this cpu cooler would take you some time due to the fact that there are so many parts in the package you need to recognize first and use them accordingly.

First you need to place the backplate using the four M3 mounting screws and then secure them with the bundled standoffs:

The next thing to do is to fasten the Intel mounting clips on the base using the four hex socket screws:

The final step is to use the collar nuts and diagonally fasten the cpu cooler on the motherboard:

Installing the 120mm fan is easy using the bendable metallic brackets including in the package for this purpose. You can follow the same procedure in order to install a second fan:

3. How we test
For out tests we used an open air testbed with the following configuration:

We produced the highest possible temperature using the OCCT v2.0.1 software and a custom 30-minute mixed operation:

We left both cores of our CPU running at full load for about 30 minutes. All the temperatures were logged using the CoreTemp 0.99.3 software as well as the OCCT v2.0.1. We repeated the procedure for two scenarios:

For the noise measurements we used the Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. All measurements were taken at a 30cm distance from the cpu cooler running at full speed. In the following pages you will see a comparison among many CPU coolers. For all the tests, we we used the Tuniq TX-2 thermal compound.

4. Results

The Zaward Vapor 120 has the typical design and volume of an all-around cpu cooler. But let's see how this baby performed in our tests and where it stands against the competition.

We start with our system running at default speeds, with the Intel Core i7-920 to operate at 2.66GHz and its default voltage. Compared with the Intel's stock cpu cooler, the Zaward Vapor 120 will keep your CPU's temperature lower by about 11 degrees C. The performance is very good considering that the the Zaward Vapor 120 was more efficient that other coolers greater in size, such as the Titan Fenrir for example:

We proceed to the more demanding overclocking conditions. This time our Intel Core-i7 920 works at 3.60GHz, it is powered by more voltage and thus, it produces more heat. Intel's stock cooler gave us around 90 degrees C, while the Zaward Vapor 120 managed to get the cpu temperature down to 63C, which is a decent performance for a cooler of that size. Notice that many other CPU coolers gave exactly the same cooling performance:

Each CPU cooler should be optimized to be efficient as well as quiet. Let's see how noisy the Zaward Vapor 120 is.

As it always happens, Intel's stock cooler is the less efficient but also the quietest CPU cooler in our comparison charts, with 37dB of noise logged at a distance of 30cm from the cooler. The Zaward Vapor 120 cooler was noisier at around 46dB at (full speed), a performance that places the cooler somewhere in the middle in the following ranking table:


The Zaward Vapor 120 costs around $48. Although the price is good, it is more than what you could spend for a more efficient cooler such as the Scythe Mugen 2:

5. Final words

When we read the interesting specifications sheet of the Zaward Vapor 120 cpu cooler we were very anxious to put it under testing. The results were fair enough, with the cooler to keep the temperature of our Core i7-920 system low even under overclocking conditions. Zanward has made a good job with the design of the cooler, and the heatsinks, the direct contact technology combined with the rather powerful 120mm fan was a smart and efficient combination. On the other hand, this cooling efficient design was not so efficient in terms of noise. The cooler was not so quiet and according to our measurements, the produced noise was average for the category. Have in mind that you can always enable the Q-Fan under the BIOS to keep the overall noise down.

To sum up, we have a product that looks good at specs, it performs very well but would cost you more than relative cooling solutions. The idea to add a second 120mm fan sounds interesting but it would push the overall cost higher. The competition is very hard for this category of CPU coolers and we feel that the Zaward Vapor 120 deserves your attention before visiting your local computer store.

Retail package
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality


+ Good retail package
+ Compact volume -fits in most PC cases
+ Dual fan installation option
+ Good performance with stock/overclocked processor
+ Included fan has PWM function to keep the noise low
+ Compatible with AMD/Intel platforms


- Noise levels were average at full speed
- Competition offers a better performance at lower price
- Installation requires reading instructions and takes time

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