Bizarre looks means Reserator.
this revieWer’s first exPerienCe of a water cooled PC was with Zalman’s original Reserator. It was a huge water tower which stood outside your machine, cycling hot water out and feeding cold water back into the chassis. Since then Zalman has become one of the biggest names in PC cooling; it was a bit of a worry when it s fied for bankruptcy protection in late 2014.
Thankfully Zalman looks to have escaped by the skin of its heatsinks, which is good news given how effective this weird-looking Reserator 3 Max Dual is. Of all the coolers in this test, the Zalman offers the lowest peak temperatures both at stock speeds and with the overclocked i7-4770K. It manages this in a slightly different way, using a heat-pipe/ heatsink combo which looks more vapour chamber than water cooler.
The looping heat-pipes are attached to rubber hoses which push and pull the coolant to and from the CPU block. The mounted fans then chill those aluminium pipes. It’s an effective method of dropping peak temps, but doesn’t make the setup quicker at returning the chip to its idle temp.
The relatively small amount of liquid in the system means it’s not as fast as either the Nepton 240M or the Ultimate. Even the old Corsair H100i is quicker and that’s having to do it with a larger temperature delta too.
We’d hoped the permattached fans would make fiting easier, but there are a huge number of tiny screws to contend with and a bizarrely complicated mounting mechanism for attaching it to your case.
The latest Reserator then is a good cooler, but feels almost needlessly complex.