Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
We've known from years of looking at, using, and reviewing Zalman coolers, that they definitely do like their round coolers and today's sample is no exclusion. Honestly, there must really be something to this design since it has made Zalman so much money over the years as they tweaked and made advancements to their designs. If you can recall, we have looked at one of the Zalman AIOs before, but a fair bit of time has passed since then; now we are looking at a dual radiator version from their Reserator series of coolers.
When we say dual radiator AIO, people typically think of a 240mm long radiator that is usually 27mm thick; that is nothing like you are going to see today. Just when we were thinking the plumbing on the original Reserator 3 Max was almost a masterpiece of engineering, this time around Zalman has taken two of their coolers, put them base to base, and they have now plumbed the second cooler into one single loop.
A design such as this proves that there are companies out there thinking way outside of the box when it comes to AIO designs. We aren't talking going at it like Enermax and SilverStone did, but rather a whole different take on the most efficient system to cool the fluid in the loop. That isn't to say that there aren't a few small issues that will pop up along the way from such a design, but we will be covering those along with the rest of what Zalman is offering up in the new Reserator 3 Max Dual Ultimate Liquid CPU cooler.
On the technical level, the Reserator 3 Max Dual offers two radiator sections that are entirely made of copper with black Nickel plating for both oxidation and aesthetical reasons. This radiator section of the AIO is 276mm in length, 122mm in width; the 73mm thickness will make installation in mid-towers and a lot of full towers very challenging, but Zalman does have a solution to allow memory and motherboard heat sinks to clear with adjustable mounting clips. We also get a head unit made mostly of plastic, with LEDs under the cap and aluminum trim. The cold plate is made of copper as well, and these may be the only non mixed-metal loops out there. When you combine the head unit, radiator assembly, fans, 10.5 inches of tubing, and the coolant, the Reserator 3 Max Dual weighs in at 1426 grams; but keep in mind, ninety-percent of that weight is held by the chassis, and not the socket.
As we move downward, we run into the fan section. Here we see that we have a pair of 120mm by 25mm thick fans that offer blue LEDs in the hubs. These fans are rated to spin at speeds from 1000 to 2300 RPM delivering up to 46.6 dBA of noise level. Unfortunately there is not a CFM rating provided. To connect the fans, both of the individual leads come into a clip of sorts and are then transferred to a single four-pin header that powers both of them. The pump is powered by a three-pin header. The last bit of information offered is that there is also a one gram packet of ZM-STG2M thermal grease, which works in temperatures ranging from -40 to 150 Celsius.
One thing right up front that is going to hit very hard is the pricing. We have seen some high pricing before, but most dual radiator based AIOs tend to release in the $130 to $150 U.S. dollar range. However, with this Zalman solution we are seeing pricing over the $200 mark. At this price, we could be looking into the Swiftech H220, or the Cooler Master clone, so this has to be one seriously awesome AIO, or Zalman may have just made a huge mistake. Prices can always be lowered if need be, and our testing will show us its value, but there has to be something other than just the unique design that puts this cooler at this level.
PRICING: You can find the ZALMAN RESERATOR 3 MAX DUAL for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The ZALMAN RESERATOR 3 MAX DUAL retails for $219.50 at Amazon.
The time is now to get up close and personal with Zalman's new Reserator series cooler and we will try to keep pricing alone out of our mind until the end of the review. In the mean time, please continue on as we show you the "Ultimate" liquid cooler: the Reserator 3 Max Dual.