The Reserator 3 Max Dual AIO CPU Cooler

In terms of design, the Reserator 3 Max Dual certainly stands out from the crowd. Zalman ditched the classic two-pass radiator for a unique tube-based design, which appears to be based on the style of their "flower-type" air coolers. It is an all-copper design, with the tube making multiple passes across each fin array. The copper makes the Reserator 3 Max Dual a heavy construct, tipping our scales at 1470 gr, increasing the overall weight of a system by quite a bit.

In order to prevent corrosion, Zalman chromed all of the metallic parts. A semi-transparent plastic frame protects the metallic parts and holds the two 120 mm fans. The company and product logos can be seen at the sides of the assembly, but they are printed upside down for some peculiar reason.

Another unique characteristic of this design is that the entry and exit points are at the middle of the assembly. Overall, it is a very nice looking but also very thick assembly; with a height of 74 mm, it is the thickest all-in-one cooler radiator that we have tested to this date. For this purpose, Zalman includes installation brackets that will help the cooler to clear the motherboard and RAM modules by creating an offset, assuming that your case is wide enough as well.

The circular block assembly sports an elegant, attractive design based on geometric shapes and metallic colors. It has a very well made copper base, free of imperfections. The pump is powered via a typical 3-pin header, as if it was a CPU cooler fan. When powered, a blue LED ring lights up at the top of the block assembly, creating a nice visual effect.

The two cooling fans also feature LED lighting, but they do not have the usual side-firing LEDs, with the soft lighting coming from the center of the fan. Both fans are PWM-controlled and can be powered from a single 4-pin motherboard header. They have a theoretical maximum speed of 2300 RPM and a "long life bearing", for which we could not find detailed information, but it appears to be a form of a fluid dynamic bearing.

Introduction, Packaging & Bundle Testing Methodology


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  • lorribot - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    You go in to great detail about your test rig and how you test thermal efficiency but completely fail on how you actually test noise, just some " noise measurements are a bit tricky" statement .
    Actually it is not.
    A good test would be the amount of noise produced to cool a given thermal load to say 70C. This would replicate what I would want in the real world, ie how much noise will this thing make cooling my i5/i7 when playing a game or doing massive calculations etc.
    Most noise tests seem arbitrary, such as dB with fans a full speed which is worthless information and provides no useful comparison as all fans run a different speed or are subjective observations of the quality of the noise.
    Noise generated for a number of given workloads would actually be useful please make it happen.
  • Hairs_ - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Silent pc review provide this sort of analysis, in an anaechoic chamber, with stock vs. reference fans. However, their db classification for "silent" is different, and liquid coolers always perform worse than a good air cooler on a "cooling per dB" metric.

    SPCR's conclusion (which I'd trust above all others) is that liquid coolers are a bad investment as they cost significantly more, produce worse results and are often far too noisy to justify the results. Push enough air and create enough noise, and you can get all sorts of headline grabbing low temperature results...
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    While I agree that air cooling is generally preferable to liquid cooling from an audible efficiency perspective, at the extreme overclocking end of the scale, air coolers just can't keep up. Another downside to the massive tower air coolers is that there's greater risk of damaging the system during frequent transportation (eg LAN party users). There are trade-offs either way you go.

    That said, I prefer air cooling as I optimise my systems for noise.
  • AnnihilatorX - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I disagree. At normal fan speeds liquid coolers tend to lower temperature range and variance, you won't see ultra low temperature, nor you won't see ultra high temperature, and this is due to specific heat capacity of the liquid being higher than air. While overclocked working CPU on air coolers can reach say 70+ deg C, on liquid it would barely reach 40 deg C (speaking from experience) . This is what is important, not low idle temperature. Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    To clarify the above reply was replying to Hair not Gigaplex Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Actually, it is not as simple as that. Noise measurements are indeed very tricky.

    Your proposed method however is indeed interesting. However, I would need specific equipment to emulate the PWM thermal control of a motherboard and control the coolers in order to maintain a set temperature. I will be adding that in my long "to buy" list.

    I just hope that this will not then start a "comments war" on topics such as "why 150W load and not 160W load", etc etc. :)
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Dunno why we're still obsessed with CPU cooling when must enthusiasts are running GPUs that get far hotter and many are running several of them.

    We really need some sorta standard bracket/mount that could facilitate mounting these things to GPUs... Anand has featured a couple but they all seemed to have issues, or maybe I didn't pay close enough attention.
  • SantaAna12 - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    Agree in general about GPUS......but....this is a CPU cooler review that anticipates a new line of enthusiast unlocked chips. Right on time perhaps? Reply
  • abhaxus - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    I have the Kraken G10 mounting a Kuhler 620 to my reference R9 290. I replaced the Kuhler's fan with the stock fan from an H100 and the radiator is mounted in a rigged up location in my case (have it mounted in the 5.25" bays of my Bitfenix Raider). With the fan on low, it is silent and will only hit 90C if I play an extended session of a high GPU usage game (Crysis 3, BF4). With the fan on medium, which is inaudible with music/game audio playing, I never hit over 70C. This is with the card overclocked to 1107/1350 @ +100mv in Afterburner. My VRM temps stay at around 59-65C as well, and I did NOT put VRM sinks on there, just the standard 92mm fan that comes with the G10.

    Very good purchase overall. Now that the Swiftech H220 is back in America I think I will be purchasing one to properly loop my GPU, however.
  • flyingpants1 - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I'm totally in agreement, except for the part where you say "many are running several of them". The market for exotic coolers is pretty tiny, and the amount of people who run multiple GPU setups is vanishingly small.

    I'd guess over 90% of PC gamers are using single GPUs under 200 watts, GTX 760 or R9 270x. I'd like to see a slew of water coolers released for those cards.

    The PC market is really, really, reeeeally slow to adapt. It took like 20 years to make USB cables reversible. They're still using ATX, for god's sake. Mini-ITX is nice, but Apple's new Mac Pro slaughters everything from a design standpoint.

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