With the Q6600 quad core at its stock settings the Zen is lagging in the pack but is running rather well at 32*C — it is running 13*C cooler than stock.
Under load we can see the Zen is in the top three and nipping at the heels of the Nirvana. Running at 44.75*C the Zen is only a ½ degree behind our reining low temp champ the Noctua NH-U12P.
With the system overclocked to 3.0Ghz and idling we can see the Zen and Nirvana are still running neck and neck.
Under load the gap starts to widen between the Zen and the Nirvana. With the Zen running at 47.75*C it is behind the Nirvana by 2.25*C.
The FZ-120 Zen does what I believe ZEROtherm wanted it to do, and it does a great job. It has performance very close to that of the Nirvana, is quieter than the Nirvana, and is cheaper than the Nirvana. The Zen can be found for $39 + shipping, and that’s a steal. With a price like that the Zen is an inexpensive upgrade for anyone, and is almost (depending where you shop) $15-20 cheaper than its bigger brother, the Nirvana. The Nirvana NV120 retails for $59.99 and was reviewed by us last fall.
ZEROtherm was able to get the price lower by cutting out some of the frills like the fan controller, custom fan mounts, and the fancy plating/anodizing. The end result was a 33% price drop and a single digit performance decrease, which is impressive. The price versus performance is a bargain with this CPU Cooler. Some may not like the fact that the fan for the Zen is not an LED fan. If that is the case with you, then it is easily fixed due to ZEROtherm’s choice to use a standard 120mm fan configuration, so any regular 120mm fan will work.
Over all I find it hard to point out something that I didn’t like about the Zen other than its height. With the height being over 6” it would be in your best interest to measure before you buy. The ZEROtherm FZ120 was deisgned with performance per watt in mind and it really shows, but in a good way.
ZEROtherm did a great job with the FZ120 as the CPU cooler looks great and actually performs like it should. The quality of the cooler and mounting hardware remains top notch, while the cooling capabilities and noise levels exceed what we would expect at such a low price point. With a street price of $39.99 this heat sink is a steal and easily gets the ‘Value Award’ here at Legit Reviews.
Bottom Line: The FZ-120 Zen from ZEROtherm is a solid mid-range air cooler that can hang with the big boys.