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Face-Off: The Kraken X61, Reserator 3 Max Dual, And NH-D15

Zalman Reserator 3 Max Dual

Some cases don’t have a good place to hide the radiator, and some builders wouldn’t want to hide it anyway. Zalman designed the Reserator 3 Max to resemble its stylish air-only CPU coolers, and revised that design before doubling the cooling area in its dual-fan Reserator 3 Max Dual.

One of the most notable changes during the revision process is two 120mm fans with standard screw patterns, which replace the original design's proprietary center-mounted fan.

The Reserator 3 Max Dual fits most dual-120mm-fan case panels, and its socket support plate replaces the four-screw retention kit of most AMD desktop processors. The same support plate works with a different top bracket to secure LGA 775, 115x and 1366. The same Intel top bracket works directly with LGA 2011’s integrated support via custom-sized shoulder screws.

Shipped without any bracket installed, the pump head includes a finely machined copper base and pump. Installation step one is choosing from AMD or Intel top brackets and securing one of them with eight screws.

You probably noticed in the first photo that the Researator 3 Max Dual's fans aren’t butted against each other, and we’ve seen the same spacing strategy on some of Zalman’s cases. Everyone with standard fan spacing needs to add the included offset brackets which, thanks to mounting slots, also provide the enormous benefit of sliding the radiator up to 15mm away from the motherboard.

Also seen above (through a center hole of each half-radiator) are three mounting holes for Zalman’s original center-mounted fan.

Just four screws are required to attach the Reserator 3 Max Dual’s cooling head, which is, in turn, powered by a single 3-pin fan connector. A built-in splitter cable allows both fans to be driven by a single 4-pin PWM-style fan connector. The entire unit relies on motherboard fan controls to reduce operational noise under favorable thermal conditions.

Unlike the NZXT cooler that only has a lighted pump logo, Zalman also adds lighted fans to its Reserator 3 Max Dual.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.