While the law of diminishing returns has yet to be reached, the Zalman Reserator 3 MAX proves that is it better late than never for Zalman to jump in and take top honors of any AIO I have tested. Even if by the slimmest of margins, Zalman has proved that you don't need the typical high density radiator, in fact you can go from square to round, and actually get better results. This is based on many things, but the one major thing that allows this design to do so well is the fact that they not only use nanofluid coolant inside of the loop, but it is also passing through this radiator a total of four times to eliminate more heat that other AIOs with only dual pass radiators.
On top of great performance, and expected noise levels, you can still ponder the fact that the Tundra coolers were using two fans to do what they did, and the Zalman took top honors with only one fan. So not only do you get a very uniquely designed product where now the radiator and the head unit are just as nice to glorify and show off in your chassis, but you still have the option to bolt this onto a chassis fan and drop an additional degree or two from the results I have given you. I did like the blue LED mixed in with the brushed aluminum and black on the head unit, but I did think that the LEDs inside of the fan could use some more ambience, they are just too dim when compared to the level of LED lighting that the head unit provides.
Seriously, that is my only complaint, and it is about LED intensity. This system mounts easy enough, and is very secure, and since they provide all the screws needed to quickly mount the radiator with or without an additional fan, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure any of this bit of kit out, it just comes together in a peaceful harmony that delivers what are so far the best results to come from the new test system.
As with any AIO of this caliber, they all hit the shelves at $129.99 for dual radiator solutions. While the Reserator 3 MAX is in fact a dual radiator design, in the truest sense of that term, Zalman was able to do it in much less space needed inside of the chassis, more along the lines of a thick single radiator solution from other manufacturers. The nice thing about this is that you may be asked to pay top dollar currently for it, but you are given better performance out of the box than with the SilverStone solutions I was just raving about last month. While I still think the SilverStone solution is more sophisticated in its looks and overall design, I am all about performance, and hands down this Zalman is where it is at currently.
If you can't afford to spend $129.99 right now, don't worry, by the time you have it saved up, the price of this AIO should be cheaper if the standard pricing trend is anything to judge from. For the rest of you, I will simply say this: If you want the best performance an AIO has to offer, it is currently this solution. If you require something with a suit and tie that can sit around for brandy and cigars, then I suggest you then look to SilverStone. Either way, I will be advising these Zalman Reserator 3 MAX AIOs to anyone asking me what they should be buying.