APACK ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 CPU Cooler Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone


It’s funny what has happen these past few reviews and I’m not sure if it’s just coincidence because the past two reviews have ended with an Editor’s Choice Award.  Maybe I’m on a roll or maybe the products being tested are just that great. 

Today marks our first look at the heatpipe tower design.  This design isn’t relatively new to the industry but is different from what we have become used to here at ModSynergy.  Regular coolers have a fan that blows downward on the heatpipe, and hot air can escape anywhere it wants to.  But with tower style coolers, the heatpipes are raised vertically and the hot air is exhausted through the left side of the case.  This idea seems like a much more efficient design because the hot air is being directed to where your rear exhaust fan lies.  Read on to see if this indeed makes a difference.

Today also marks our first review of a ZEROtherm product.  ZEROtherm has recently released the new ZEN FZ120 CPU cooler and we are happy to provide you an in-depth look at what you can expect having tested this heatsink in our new workbench consisting of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 spitting out easily 100W of juice.  We’ll see if this heatsink can cool down or crashes and burns.  Oh yeah, overclocked results @ 3.0GHz are included (spitting out well over 100 watts of heat) so read on to see how the ZEN FZ120 performs.


"APACK is a heatpipe technology based thermal solution provider which provides customized designing and engineering solutions and, ultimately, provides best-of breed thermal solutions.
APACK’s design and manufacturing is based upon an engineer’s passion for innovation and progress. APACK was established in 1999 by 3 engineers from ETRI (Electrics and Telecommunications Research Institute) who have 10~17 years experience in thermal solutions and advance packaging technology (packaging referring to the structural and functional integration of multiple technologies). Based in the city of Daejeon (Korean Silicon Valley and high-tech capital), APACK is staffed with top engineers who have extensive experience.

APACK is currently entering into its second phase of business development after accomplishing its first goals of developing a strong R&D core in thermal technology and efficient manufacturing capabilities. Phase one was marked by strong revenues and growth in the OEM and custom solutions market producing for such clients and Samsung, Dell and LG.

Backed by investors such as Intel Capital, a strong backbone of R&D with continued cooperation with ETRI and APACK is seeking to become a global player in the thermal solutions market."


The ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 comes packaged in a very compact corrugated box.  The box design is simple yet effective showcasing the large 120mm fan giving you a taste of anticipation.  Product specification and compatibility list are on the side and the installation guideline is located on the rear of the packaging.

Opening the box reveals that you’ll receive the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 heatsink, instruction guide, ZEROtherm branded thermal paste, respective brackets for both AMD and Intel installations along with two clips for mounting the 120mm fan. 

Looking at the heatsink, it is indeed a beautiful creation which resembles a butterfly.  This heatsink has four heatpipes that dissipates heat through the copper base.  The four total heatpipes are made into eight effective heatpipes by bending the four heatpipes to create a U-shape.  The hot air rises and is blown away by the 120mm fan cooling through the left side of the case where your rear exhaust fan lies. 

The packaging reveals that the height of the FZ120 measures 165mm in height, 128mm in width, and 29mm in depth (56mm with fan).  

This heatsink has a small footprint and I foresee no problems with installation on any motherboard on the market.  The construction of this heatsink is top notch, nowhere were their visible flaws of any kind.
The base of the heatsink is covered by plastic from the factory which is always a nice touch because sometimes I’ve seen bases that are gouged because there is no protection from touching the cardboard packaging.

The 120mm fan included with the FZ120 cooler is a simple non-LED clear unit and is attached to the cooler by the use of two clips.  In the event of fan failure, you’ll find it very easy to replace.  
If you read the specifications, you’ll know that this fan has the ability to increase in speed once it realizes that temperatures have increased.  This is achieved through PWM automatic fan control.  The PWM fan can automatically spin from anywhere between 1100RPM to 1800RPM depending on how hot the CPU is according to the BIOS signal (you have to enable PWM mode in your BIOS for this fan feature to take effect).  I like this method better than if the manufacture were to use a fan with a sensor.


Installation with the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 is darn simple and is the best one I’ve come across.  It is so simple and dumb-proof that anyone can do it.  Since I have an Intel setup, all you have to do is install the Intel back plate to the bottom of the FZ120 cooler with the four included screws. 

Second, take your motherboard out to place the black backing plate.  Now install the cooler on the motherboard aligning the Intel clip with the black backing plate and finish off by screwing down with a Phillips screwdriver.  That is all!  During the process of screwing down you will come to a point where you cannot screw down any further and this is your notice to stop.  No more guessing how hard you should screw down!

The small footprint of the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 will make installations on virtually any motherboard easy and I foresee no problems with space or anything like that.


I will be testing this heatsink on the new 2008 ModSynergy PC Build.  Consisting of the Intel Quad Core Q6600 spitting out easily 100W of heat, you’re right to guess that this CPU will test and tax how good a particular heatsink is, especially if it’s overclocked to 3GHz.  I’m not sure how many watts this CPU spits out at 3GHz, but I’m going to make a wild unscientific guess and say more than 125watts.  Motherboard is the Asus P5K-E/Wi-Fi AP Edition.

Thermal compound used in this review was Arctic Silver 5.  The heatsink was broken in close to 200 hours so that the thermal compound was operating under optimal condition.  Ambient temperature of when readings were recorded was around 24 degrees Celsius. 

I ran OCCT 2.0.0a to load the CPU for 10 minutes and recorded the CPU core values under load seen in SpeedFan 4.3.3.  I noticed SpeedFan reads the CPU temperature incorrectly than in the BIOS, it reads 4 degrees less than what the temperature in the BIOS reads.  When adding 4 degrees to my results, it goes hand in hand of what OCCT reports. 

I’ve also had some complaints so I’m adding OCCT temperature readings as well so you can decide which temperature program you want to believe.  I happen to believe SpeedFan reads more accurately.

Idle temperatures were completed by letting the system do nothing for a 10 minute span.

I turned off PWM so that the fan can run at full speed (1844RPM @ the rated 60CFM).


ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 Idle (10 mins) – @2.4GHz

35 degrees Celsius

ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 Load (10 mins OCCT) @ 2.4GHz

46 degrees Celsius

ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 Idle (10 mins) – @3.0GHz stock vcore

38 degrees Celsius

ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 Load (10 mins OCCT) @ 3.0GHz stock vcore

56 degrees Celsius

The ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 gives excellent results under the stock speed of 2.4GHz and trumps the CoolJag Falcon that was reviewed recently and trumps the Thermaltake Big Typhoon (version 1) that I curiously tested.  

Full speed noise levels are easy to live with because it’s not really that loud coming in at a rated 32dbA.  Frankly this is the way I have the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 set from day one and have no complaints with noise.  I couldn’t really hear any other noise over my other case fans.  

Now the results when the Q6600 is overclocked to 3GHz are literally refreshing to see.  The ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 performs exceptionally well and cools 3GHz like it was nothing.  I recorded the highest value seen of 56 degrees within SpeedFan, although the cooler did manage to “level off” after a few seconds and decreased to 51 degrees in a matter of seconds.


The ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 is an amazing cooler.  I love the design, I love how stupidly simple it is to install, I love how quiet it is under full fan speed and lastly I love its performance, it handles an overclocked quad core Q6600 @ 3GHz like it was nothing to fret about.  

Fact of the matter is that if you are a power user needing a CPU cooler than can handle an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 overclocked to 3.0GHz, this cooler is for you.  If you have any other CPU that spits out less wattage than the Q6600 overclocked to 3GHz, the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 is still the one to look for. 

This is the third consecutive review that ends off with an Editor’s Choice Award.  Great job ZEROtherm!

Pros and Cons

  • + Top notch construction
  • + Excellent performance for overclocked and stock applications
  • + Super duper easy to install (easiest installation method I’ve ever come across)
  • + Quiet fan even at full speed
  • + Small footprint makes it easy to install in any motherboard


Editors Choice


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