|ZALMAN RESERATOR 1|
Watercooling is now widely accepted by the masses as the cooling of choice being quieter than a heatsink fan combination with lower temperatures especially under load. Phase cooling scares most people, so this is the next logical step on the ladder to a cooler quieter system.
Im sure most of you have heard of Zalman and some of the wacky and wonderful coolers they have brought to the market in the last several years - their emphasis on good cooling with as low a noise level as possible. They have introduced CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) which encompasses a whole range of products. Today im taking a look at their fanless watercooling system - "The reserator". Before we go any further lets dispel the rumours, this isnt "passive" as there is a pump that circulates the water through the system.
Its an interesting design - basically the unit acts as a massive heatsink as the water circulates, the heat rises in the reserator being cooled by the chassis. Lets look into this further.
"Reserator" is a compound word derived from 'Reservoir' and 'Radiator' - it acts as a reservoir while radiating heat. This product works well with natural convection and integrates a water pump inside for convenience.
Reserator 1 is designed with an optimal heat dissipation area based on ZalmanTech's HCET (High Capacity Extrusion Technique) and high efficiency cooling technology. As a result, this product achieves excellent cooling performance even with natural convection, making it the world's first fanless, noiseless water-cooling system. The reservoir, radiator, and the water pump are conveniently integrated into one assembly, and the heatsink is anodized to prevent corrosion and rust. The question is, can this quite radical design cope with the high heat output of an overclocked processor?
As you can see, the kit comes with a nicely loaded accessories package, the system includes Zalmans new CPU cooling component, ZM-WB2-Gold which is aniodised aluminium with a pure copper base - immune from galvanic corrosion. The kit fits the following sockets - 478 Intel, Socket 754/940 AMD64 and Socket 462 AMD XP, so all bases are covered right out of the box. This is quite a substantial block and weighs in at 446 grams, they also supply some standard thermal paste but my personal preference is Artic Silver 5.
The waterblock specifications
The block is a design you will either love or loathe, personally I think its aesthetically pleasing and has a decent set of connectors with a very smoothly polished gold plated copperbase. Zalman have chosen to combine copper and aluminium - quite an obvious and effective pairing which is proven to work well, nothing radical here.
A key part of this system is the flow device, this is integral with the Zalman setup and is a wonderful way of checking the water flow in your system, its a clear plastic cylinder with a little fastened float within it. When water circulates the little plastic float inside the flow indicator moves rapidly letting you know all is well and you are getting good water flow.
Also inside the package are tranistion connections used between the computer and the hoses on the outside - the problem here are the hose connectors are meant to be attached to a PCI backplate but none are supplied with the package, some manual work would be needed here if you wanted to go down this route. Furthermore reserve parts and a screw used to plug the hole are supplied if you wanted to connect another more powerful waterpump. Zalman also very cleverly supply four hose clamps used for moving the system or adding other parts at a later date. Most people who have used watercooling know how frustrating it is to switch blocks as you have to drain the whole system, do your work then refill and bleed.
Also worth mentioning is the quality of the hosing, generally with these kits you receive some cheap and nasty PVC style hosing, but Zalman supply around 2.5-3 meters of high quality silicone hosing which is wonderful to work with and easy to cut. The hosing is a striking blue and matches the whole look of the system.
The reserator itself is the unique part of this design, it is a 60cm high, cylindrical, hollow tower which is the radiator and the reservior in one. At the bottom there is a water pump with a maximum flow of 300l/h and according to the specifications takes about 5w to power.
This unit is designed to work as a radiator and to remove as much heat as possible from the water. The reserator as you will notice from the pictures above is designed with long fins around its circumference and to increase the contact surface with the air. This is all based on the convection principal. Aesthetically its hard to fault the appearance of the unit but when you fill it with water its not very portable - not ideal for those of you who go to alot of lan parties.
The Reserator Specifications
This is a vertical shot. with the top off looking inside the Reserator, as you can see its quite a tall product and holds a hell of a lot of water. just over 2 litres (Zalman recommend 80-90% full), alot more than any kit ive ever used. Its interesting to note that in the manual they state its fine to use tap water and dont supply any anti algae fluid with the package - quite how anyone would want to use tap water in a kit and not expect problems in a few months time is quite ridiculous. I used De-ionised and put in plenty of anti algae fluid to inhibit any growths occuring.
The reserator consists of three main sections: all preassembled. The Zalman on closer inspection is all screwed together rather than welded. making it an easy option to dismantle if you so wished.
Installation is a breeze, even for a beginner to mid level user I cant forsee any issues, just take your time and read the manual to ensure you are following the instructions to the letter. The hoses are high quality and the connectors are also of a high standard so no problems getting water tight fits.
A few cuts to the tubing, then attach to the reserator and the waterblock. Always wise to check your kit outside the case for any possible leaks - water and a motherboard, not a good combination.
This is the second stage after ive checked for leaks, and have attached to the motherboard - In my case ive used the P4 mounting setup which is a unique Zalman design, people used to the older Zalman flower style heatsinks will already know the setup here as its the same. Back section, two "arms" attached to the P4 CPU mounting bracket, then the block on the CPU with a top arm forcing the block tight to the CPU.
My motherboard of choice is the IC7 MAX3 which ive modified slighty by removing the OTES, and the noisy northbridge fan. When its back in the rig I have a Zalman 92mm fan on a swinging arm directed over the northbridge heatsink which is alot quieter and pumps more air. At a later date ill be adding a northbridge waterblock.
So how does the cooler perform? lets see.
My system comprises.
INTEL P4 3.4 @ 3.9ghz
- 1.7 volts - OCZ Artic Silver.
At a room ambient of 24c my temperatures were around 36c idle and 41c load - around 4-5c higher under load compared with the asetek system I have - bearing in mind the Asetek system has a much more powerful 1200l pump, pretty impressive figures for the Zalman kit. Its important to let the Zalman system run for a while as it takes some time for over 2 litres of water to reach ambient as initially temperatures were 2-3c lower than those stated above.
The best part about the whole Zalman setup is the noise factor, its totally silent, by using the 300l pump submerged in the chassis combined with the whole heatsink principal, you really wouldnt even know the system was running at all, you have to put your ear to the reserator and feel for vibrations, ive even had to check the flow indicator to make sure I actually DID turn it on. It just doesnt get ANY quieter than this.
I can strongly recommend this product to anyone wanting to get into watercooling who is perhaps unsure about what to buy and who might feel uncomfortable with complicated fittings, this really is a piece of cake to fit and setup. Its so silent you dont even know its on. The performance isnt going to compare to the highest end pumps and watercooling setups, but the figures are still very good and the joy of this is you have NO fans and NO noise. High overclocks, low load figures with absolutely no noise - a combination made in heaven.