Zalman Reserator 2 Watercooling Kit - Performance and Final Thoughts

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

Performance:

On first boot straight into the BIOS the cpu temperature was already a surprising 44°C. Upon booting into windows I loaded the system down with two instances of folding @ home and watched nervously as the temperature climbed to an astounding 67°C, 5°C higher than the original Reserator 1 with no fan installed. Remembering that the spring clips for the CPU were extremely tight, I decided to loosen them in case they were tight enough to deflect the mainboard to the point that cpu contact was not 100%. Slowly I turned both screws out and I watched the temperature fall. It finally settled at 63°C, only 1 degree hotter than the original Reserator. Surely Zalman wouldn't have released a product as good as or worse than the previous right? Unsatisfied with the performance numbers, I followed Zeus's advice and pulled the waterblock. You can see the bad news by the picture...an air bubble.

 
 

After re-applying the Arctic Silver 5 I couldn't be happier with the numbers.

 
 

Obviously nothing will cool as well as something with active cooling attached to it, (like the fan on the Reserator 1). But when you compare apples to apples with a totally silent cooling solution the Reserator shows an impressive 4°C improvement over the original Reserator. However the Reserator 2 smokes the Reserator 1 with the newly designed GPU block.

Safety Features:

As mentioned the Reserator 2 has a self contained flow meter and flow sensor to shut the Reserator 2 down should the flow of coolant suddenly stop. To find out what happens we left the system at full load and pinched a coolant line until the flow meter wheel stopped. After about 8 seconds of no coolant flow, the system shuts off and the alarm sounds. To restart the system push and hold the reset button for about 5 seconds and the pump will start up again. It's smart for the Reserator 2 to shut off if there is no coolant flow to spare the water pump, but your system will cook in the meantime. The only thing missing here is a feedback system from the Reserator 2 to shut the system down should coolant flow stop.

Small Gripe:

Besides the few little things I've already mentioned, one thing that still bugs me today is the length of the DC cable used to trigger power to the Reserator 2. If you use the entire length of hose like I did to maximize the distance between the system and the Reserator 2, the cable is not nearly long enough to reach inside the case. To solve this I simply built an extension wire to compensate. I will applaud Zalman on including a hole in the backing plate so this cable can get inside the system. Also included on the wire is a rubber grommet to protect the wire from being cut on the backing plate. Great job here, but the cable isn't quite long enough.

Good Hose:

When I first opened up the Reserator 2 package and inspected the hose it appeared Zalman cheaped out on hose this time around. It looked like your standard hardware store pvc tubing that would fold in the blink of an eye. I thought this after being accustomed to the tubing shipped with the Reserator 1 which is a very soft silicon tube. When I started working with the hose I came to find that this was indeed premium hose that could handle tighter corners than its silicon predecessor.

Conclusions:

After removing the user error from the CPU waterblock installation, the Reserator 2 turned out to be an outstanding product and an excellent performer. With any product there is always room for improvement, but Zalman has put together a pretty solid kit. Let's take a look at the pros, cons, and a final score.

Pros:

  • Excellent performance
  • Completely silent
  • Improved aesthetics (personal opinion)
  • Complete kit with optional add-ons
  • Plethora of mounting options for CPU and GPU waterblocks
  • Relay triggered power system
  • No flow alarm system

Cons:

  • DC power cable too short
  • Socket 478 retention spring clips apply far too much force
  • Rough cut GPU block
  • Long delay from no coolant flow to alarm sounding

Score:

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
9/10
Performance:
10/10
Software Pack:
n/a
Stability/Durability:
9/10
Features:
9/10
Value:
8/10
Total Score 9

Thank you to Zalman USA for allowing us to test out this truly kickin' product! If you have any questions or comments regarding this display or this review, please feel free to drop us a line in the forum at the link below.