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I recently bought the Zalman 9500, after reading good reviews on it. My stock HS, ran 51c Idle and 75c Loaded, this had to change. Keep in mind i am new to OCing CPUs and HS installing (with applying thermal). I bought a tube of AS5, and after cleaning off the the old thermal paste on my processor with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol, i applied 1/2 BB size amount of AS5. After i securely secured the 9500, i looked at speedfan, and it told me 47c Idle and 60 Loaded (fan on high). I expected a HUGE change. I removed the heatsink and redid the applying of thermal 3 or 4 times already. My case temp is 25-30C and i have good airflow, from front of pc to back, (2 fans between the 9500). What am i doing wrong? I know i have to let the AS5 cure but shouldnt i see a big difference in temp with this heatsink over my old stock one? thank you for any help, this is my first time on this forum, so be kind please.
 

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Idle temps don't change much actually, but 15C drop in load temp makes me think zalman did its job quite good. As you've said you should give as5 some days and it will drop some more C in return. I used to have a Thermaltake Volcano 12 on my ex-pc and that thing had a 5500rpm about 50dba fan and comparing it with Zalman 9500 2600rpm and 26dba.. i really love this cooler.
 

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The 9500 is way overrated. It barely beats the 7000 and is beat by the Big Typhoon (by quite a margin, btw). Your performance is probably about right...
 
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