Despite of the fact that the latest processors require tremendously efficient cooling solutions to work stably, the market of coolers is probably stagnating these days: there are leaders and there are those who are trying to catch up with the top makers. None of the cooler manufacturers have invented any principally new heatsinks in the last two or three years, so, all we have now is to witness how companies like Zalman or CoolerMaster are polishing off their products and technologies introduced years ago.
Nevertheless, for actual users the stagnation means almost nothing: we still need to find coolers for our particular needs and requirements, such as efficiency, low noise levels or any other.
These days the industry is transitioning not only to new types of interconnections, e.g., PCI Express, and memory, for instance, DDR2, but also to new types of processor sockets ?particularly to Socket 775 and Socket 939 for Intel Corp.'s and AMD's platforms respectively. So, in case you are upgrading today, you need to find yourself a proper cooler, as your previous one can probably hardly be used for contemporary microprocessors.
We picked up three coolers among the finest available today from CoolerMaster, Gigabyte, Zalman and a previous-generation product from Zalman ?CNPS7000-Cu with the company's ZM-CS1 retention mechanism that allows installing this Socket 478/Socket 754 cooler onto new Socket 775 mainboards.