Zalman did a nice job with the CNPS10X Performa. It works great; the no nonsense design gets the job done and does it well. The only thing I can say bad about it is the fan on high can get loud, but on low it’s fine. What makes it that much better is that it’s inexpensive. Right now it can be found for as little as $44 plus shipping.
The only thing I think could even be a concern is if the end user doesn’t pay attention when mounting the retention brackets to the base of the cooler they could run into some issues. Other than that Zalman did a good job. With our i7-920 at 3.5GHz it’s hanging in with the $75 Noctua NH-U12P SE2. As I said it can get a little on the noisy side when running on high. In economies like we have now though, saving a few bucks and dealing with a slightly noisy cooler is fine with a lot of people.
Based on my testing here and with its current price at around $44 plus shipping it gets our value award; its bang for buck is up there.
Legit Bottom Line: I think Zalman has released a solid cooler that will fit in anyone’s budget.