Hands Across Four Water Cooling Systems

Zalman Reserator I

Overall Impression

The giant radiator from Zalman conceals a pump and a reservoir

With its Reserator 1, Zalman offers an external, passive water-cooling system. The system consists of a gigantic cooling tower (59 cm height and 15 cm diameter) that is at once both a radiator and a reservoir and additionally contains the water pump. The reservoir holds the comparatively huge volume of two-and-a-half liters of water ! Conventional water coolers only hold about half a liter. The power supply cable for the water pump within the tower is very long at 3.10 m and plugs directly into a power socket. The cooler is turned on by a switch found about halfway down the cord. There is no electrical connection to the PC, so users have to make sure themselves that the cooler is on while the PC is running. A flow indicator allows monitoring of operating conditions. When mounting the flow indicator, you have to make sure to mount it properly, i.e. in the direction of the flow. Since "In" and "Out" are designated on the radiator and mounting is well-explained in the instructions, this does not represent any real problem for the user.

Sealing clamps, universal sleeves, and flow indicator

Tubing is fed through the sleeves into the PC and can be attached in the recess at the back of the case instead of using a slot bracket. Users who are handy with tools can also drill two 16mm diameter holes at a desired spot in the PC case. A plus is that the sleeve has a notch so that it won’t turn after installation. Dust can get in through the open spaces to the left and right of the sleeve though - a slot interface cover would have been much nicer here.

Even if you don’t drill any holes, dust can still get into the case

The sleeves are not free of leakage as with Koolance and Corsair. This makes transporting the system more difficult. There are four clamps included, though, for sealing the hoses so water loss is still only limited when disconnecting. However, it is still more trouble than with the Koolance and Corsair systems.

The fairly heavy, 447-gram water block is made up of a copper heat sink that is clad in aluminum and rests on top of the CPU. The surface of the copper base is completely smooth, thus promoting good heat transfer between CPU and water block.

The surface of the CPU cooler

The hoses are merely silicon hoses, which somewhat mar the appearance of this otherwise very high quality component.