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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  • bludragon - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    So really what we need is testing using a real cpu since getting heat off the die is the biggest issue with Haswell and I assume the current AMD cpus. It would be good to see that with a stock cpu, and one that has been delidded and had the stock tim replaced with liquidpro. I expect most decent coolers will actually perform within a very similar and narrow range without the delid. I don't know what happens with the delid... Reply
  • garadante - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Though I beg to pose the question that, if C/W is so important for someone reading these numbers, is it so unreasonable to assume that they may be seriously interested in using fans or thermal paste different from those included in the stock product? Which is one of my primary points in my comments. Testing CLCs 100% stock is useful for a certain segment of the audience but just that, a segment. Those users who care enough about performance to look into a CLC but not those who care enough to do the small extra steps necessary to eke even better performance out of an expensive piece of processor cooling equipment. I argue that the people who care about using better fans and better thermal paste are the same people who care about a radiator's C/W performance. And including a section of the review that looks at the performance of even a subset of these CLCs on actual CPUs would give a valuable contrast for the readers who don't realize the results here on useless in actual applications short of comparing radiators in a controlled environment. A section that says, "Hey, these are the best CLCs from the review but on this and that CPU at stock and such and such overclock the delta T is this. Therefore understand that you cannot use the results here to target a desired temperature for your own setup because there are so many variables. The results of this review simply allow you to choose a CLC based on its merits relative to other CLCs in a high controlled, synthetic environment. You might need research elsewhere if you're trying to hit 60 C Prime95 temperatures on your 4790K running at 4.7 GHz." Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    That's actually pretty easy to calculate base on C/W.

    4790k has maximum TDP of 88W, if a cooler has a C/W of 0.07, the cooler would be able to approximately cool the CPU to 6.16 deg C above ambient. You can see the numbers add up by comparing the different thermal watts in the graph "Core Temperature, Constant Thermal Load" and multiplying that with the respective C/W.
  • garadante - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    You fail to recognize my points. In the real world any of these CLCs with a C/W of 0.07 or even lower would be lucky to achieve a delta T of 40 with a 4970k at 4.7 GHz. Because there are many more factors involved regarding the temperature of a CPU core. Where the core is located relative to the best contact area between the heatsink and the IHS, what type of TIM is used between the die and the IHS, the IHS and the heatsink. These are things that can only be seen using an actual CPU which is my whole point. It seems that E.Fyll has tricked you into thinking his C/W numbers are at all meaningful in a real application. They serve one purpose and one purpose only: comparing the relative performance of CLCs. But that's easy enough to see just looking at the wattage temperature graphs. No use in making a function out of the results unless you want to know how a CLC would handle under a 1000 watt load on this specific testing rig. Reply
  • garadante - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    And testing with consistent fans across all radiators would give much more useful results when seeing the merits of each radiator. Fans are cheap and it's very reasonable to assume quite a few people would be interested in using aftermarket fans, -if- the performance gains are there, which is my whole point. The Cooler Master Nepton 280L looks good at first when you look solely at the temperature results, but then you look at the fan RPM and dB rating. The Corsair H110 uses a significantly slower and quieter fan but comes within a degree or two delta T of the 280L. Therefore Cooler Master likely uses very noisy, inefficient fans where Corsair uses much more efficient fans and quieter ones at that without sacrificing too much performance. Throw on the same fans on both and you remove that difference and you can see which radiator itself (where your money's going) actually is superior (or at least superior with higher CFM or higher static pressure or a mixture, etc, where E.Fyll coming up with an approximate function would actually be useful). Reply
  • BillyONeal - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Great article. It would be nice to see Noctua's NH-D14 or NH-D15 for a comparison with a good air cooler. Reply
  • bludragon - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I second that Reply
  • C'DaleRider - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Here you go......(hint) It's in the Bench.
  • bludragon - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Thanks! I had forgotten about that. Only... looking at the results there the temps are not comparable to this article. Is there a post anywhere about the testing methodology for CPU coolers in bench? And yes, I did search... Reply
  • E.Fyll - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    There will be many reviews of air coolers coming up. As they will be tested using the exact same procedure, the results will be directly compared to those of this review (and every cooling-related review that I perform). Reply

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