Zalman CNPS9700 LED
Zalman is famous for its strange, effective, and often expensive products. Their focus has always been on high-performance, quality parts, and the CNPS9700 LED does not deviate from that formula. This massive CPU cooler consists of a single 110mm fan placed in the middle of a large, circular heatsink. It is a design that is unique to Zalman products, and which is found in several other Zalman CPU cooler in the same family as the 9700. The 9700 is the big daddy, however, targeted specifically for those who want a high-performance cooler with few strings attached.
While the 9700 is not the most effective cooler that can be purchased, it very close, coming within a few degrees of the most effective coolers money can buy. This means that it should handle nearly any over-clocking task that you could possibly throw at it - chances are good that you'll run out of voltage headroom before you overclock your processor to a setting that forces it to run hotter than the 9700 can deal with.
What little the 9700 lacks in raw cooling performance is made up for by its build quality and relative ease of installation. Being a Zalman product, everything about the 9700 feels solid. This does stand in contrast to coolers from companies like Coolermaster or Thermaltake, which in my experience have occasionally suffered from bent heatsink fins, untraceable rattles, and mis-placed stickers. The 9700 is also easier to install than most high-end CPU coolers. Make no mistake - it can be tricky. However, the circular design of the heatsink makes it easier to get underneath it for any subtle re-positioning. Trying to do the same thing with a Tuniq Tower is basically impossible.
Although the 9700 is often listed at a price of around $60-$80 dollars, it has been around for years, and is therefore constantly on sale. Newegg has kept it priced at $45 for quite some time now, and my local Fry's carries the cooler for around $50. Even at that price, there are many contenders that offer similar performance. But the high build quality of the 9700 puts it over the top.