has Zalman finally learned there lesson and use PWM fans or do they still use their shitty fancontrol? And what about changing the fans? Is that still a 'well, I have to replace the whole thing' operation?
Their attaching system, still a cluster f***?
Btw, Scythe Shuriken..... now that is a small, quiet cooler.
have a look at frostytech - they test coolers for a living.
I always used zalman, since they became available. I have Zalman GPU coolers, Zalman Video coolers and Zalman PSUs. The one thing where they go wrong are case fans. 120/90mm case fans are loud and have poor life.
From what I've seen and used, only Noctua CPU coolers and case fans are better (more flow, less noise, better build quality etc).
As for Zalman coolers, the ones I have ( 8700, 9500, 9700 ) are great from the noise/cooling power ratio. It is true they come with the crappy Zalman fan controller ("FAN MATE 2", which sounds like some Russel Crowe fan club or something ) and that the older models have no PWM compatible plug (the 9700 one is newer and has this type of plug). However I put in two of my cases a Zalman ZM-MFC2 fan controller, mainly because they come with a watt-meter to hook up to your PSU and they have compatible plugs for their coolers and fans and I use the ZM-MFC2 to throttle the fans and CPU cooler.
Also, the fans on the coolers I have are not user replaceable. The coolers don't have 90/120mm fans attached to the fins/body that can be removed and replaced by another generic 90/120mm fan.
As I've said, these coolers serve me well. I have the 9500 and the 8700 for almost two years and they are still doing their job. If I'll have to replace them, maybe I'll take a second look at Noctua's line, but for now they work good.