Surely we've reached the limits of what standard air-cooling can offer us in terms of CPU chiller, right? Your chips can be fanned down for less money than you'd spend on a night out. So why would you spend around three times as much on what is more of the same in the form of the CPNS 10X Extreme?

The answer that you'll get from Zalman will be entirely focused around performance and silence, both of which the Extreme excels in. Even on the lowest RPM settings of the large 120mm fan, the cooler keeps the idle temperature below the OCZ we had chilling our i7 test rig, and on the highest settings knocks five degrees off the 100 per cent CPU load.

That's some impressive cooling on a fan that you can have running silently. The only problem then is the fact that for only £10 more you can pick up CoolIT's fantastic, Domino A.L.C.

As air-coolers go though the latest Zalman is a solid, feature-rich package. It comes with a generous tube of quality Zalman thermal grease, all the Intel and AMD socket connectors you could wish for and an automatic/manual fan controller that can be locked in place on top of the fan block or routed outside the chassis.

Unfortunately all the twiddly dials and thermal paste in the world can't make up for the price differential.

Follow TechRadar reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview