Zalman Reserator 2 Watercooling Kit

Article Index
Zalman Reserator 2 Watercooling Kit
The Reserator 2 and Test System
Mounting Blocks and Bleeding the System
Performance and Final Thoughts

Product: Zalman Reserator 2
Provided By: Zalman USA
Price: $349.99 (MSRP)

My first Zalman experience was nothing but outstanding with the silence and performance of the Reserator 1+ and add-on fan, the ZM-RF1. Naturally I agreed to test out the successor, the much anticipated Reserator 2. Zalman has out done themselves again with the Reserator 2, improving both features and performance. However, not all is quiet in the land of Zalman silence, for the voice of criticism is abroad.

The Package:

After seeing the packaging job of the Reserator 1, I expected nothing less of the Reserator 2. Upon opening the box you'll be greeted by our good friend styrofoam. The entire three layer cube of styrofoam must be completely removed from the box to get at the inner goodies with the exception of the hose and user manual. Lifting the first layer reveals the CPU waterblock, GPU waterblock, two support stands, a jumper cable, Zalman's corrosion inhibitor, 4M of PVC tubing, an IO bracket, a degassing tube, and plenty of clamps and hardware. Under the second layer is the centerpiece itself.

ZM-WB4 Gold CPU Waterblock:

Zalman introduced new waterblocks as an upgrade to the original Reserator kit and released the Reserator 1 V2. We see these same blocks used with the Reserator 2. The ZM-WB4 Gold waterblock features a copper base with gold plating finish to prevent tarnish. The clear polycarbonate top allows us to see the grid cut into the copper base for improved cooling performance. You will also notice that one of the barbs has been positioned directly over the center of the CPU for maximum flow over the hottest part of the waterblock. The finish on the bottom has very few imperfections and reflects the image of a quarter perfectly. While Zalman hasn't broken any innovation barriers with this new waterblock, they have gotten with the times as far as other waterblock manufacturers like Danger Den. My curiosity got the best of me and I couldn't help but open up the WB3-Gold block that came with the Reserator 1 kit. As you can see, the new WB4 is an obvious improvement.


ZM-GWB3 GPU Waterblock:

I have to admit I'm impressed with the progress of the GPU waterblock. This is the first block I've seen that has fittings that swivel. This has proven to make hose routing a piece of cake. This is an all aluminum block with a rough cut finish as seen by the distorted quarter. It used to be the norm to leave a rougher cut on the GPU waterblock as most enthusiasts were after the highest CPU clocks. It also cut manufacturing costs. Some manufacturers are starting to put nicer cuts on their waterblocks, unfortunately Zalman is not yet one of them. Zalman did include a slew of mounting solutions for this block. It'll mount up to a GeForce 4 MX series all the way up to the newest 7900 series cards. I also approve of the improved retention system that we'll discuss when we go to mount the blocks.

ZM-NWB1 Northbridge Waterblock:

Zalman has yet to improve on the NWB1 northbridge block. It's still listed as an optional component and does not come with the kit. But since we have one, we're going to use it anyway. The NWB1 is also an all aluminum block with the same rough cut as the GWB3. The biggest improvement Zalman could make with this option is the retention system. It simply does not hold the block to the chipset with enough pressure. It's quite easy to rock the block or even pick it up against spring tension.


On the next page we'll take a look at the Reserator 2 unit and get more information on how this one compares to the earlier Reserator 1+.