Liquid Zalman Cooling - Reserator XT and More!

Article Index
Liquid Zalman Cooling - Reserator XT and More!
Closer Look - Opening up the Reserator XT
ZM-GWB8800 GTX/Ultra Waterblocks
Installing the Reserator XT LCS
Reserator XT Usage and Performance

Product(s): Zalman Reserator XT Water Cooling System
                 Zalman ZM-GWB8800 Ultra,GTX Waterblocks
Provided By: ZalmanUSA
Price: ~$399USD (Reserator XT) - ~$79USD (ZM-GWB8800)




Zalman is not new to watercooling by any means, but traditionally their kits have focused more on passive cooling than raw performance.  Zalman introduced the Reserator line a few years ago and it has undergone some changes in this their third major release.  It all started with the original Reserator 1, changed up a bit with the Reserator 1 Plus and still followed the same designed on to the Reserator 1 v2, then along came the Reserator 2, and now we've got the Reserator XT on the bench today.

 Reserator XT Box
Reserator XT Box

The previous Reserator models never included a fan with the default setup, although a fan kit was available for the Reserator 1 series.  The Reserator XT that we've got today is also an external kit and looks like a pimped out Shuttle PC as you'll see in a minute.  It has a nice 140mm fan, and should have some pretty decent performance and we're going to test the limits of this kit today as we put it to the test with an overclocked Quad Core CPU and a pair of 8800GTX graphics cards SLI'd up and overclocked for your pleasure.  This is asking a lot and it will be interesting to see if the Reserator XT is up to the task.


First Look:

The Reserator XT arrived after several delays that we can only blame on Canadian customs and the UPS guy.  The box arrived and we immediately noticed that it had been opened and inspected at the border.  It had also been kicked around a fair bit as the outside brown box has suffered some pretty impressive damage.  Something had been kicked right through the outer box, through the package box and narrowly missed the fittings on the back of the unit.  If Zalman hadn't package it so well, it would have certainly arrived broken.  Thankfully, there wasn't even a scratch on the unit and it arrived in pristine shape.

In Damaged Box
In Damaged Box


The kit arrived with enough gear to properly cool a single Intel/AMD CPU.  Every current platform is supported and Zalman has included their latest CPU waterblock - the ZM-WB5 with this kit instead on throwing in an older block, we are getting the latest and greatest with this kit.  As you can see by clicking the thumbnailed imaged below, the kit comes with everything you need: Degaussing Tube, PCI pass-through bracket, Concentrated Coolant, Power Cable, Waterblock, Manual (not pictured) and tubing (not pictured).

 Included Bundle
Included Bundle
 ZM-WB5 Block
ZM-WB5 Block



Specs & Info:

If you want all of the nitty gritty details regarding the Reserator XT, please head on over and read them all here.  We've listed some of the interesting stuff below.


1. High Performance Ultra Quiet Water Cooling System
2. Active/Passive Hybrid Cooling Design
        - Active Cooling: 140mm Fan (Forced Convection Cooling)
        - Passive Cooling: Anodized Aluminum Heatsink Chassis(Natural Convection Cooling)
3. Automatic/Manual Control Modes
        - Automatic Mode: Coolant Temperature is monitored for Automatic Control of Fan Speed and Coolant Flow Rate.
        - Manual Mode: Front Panel Control Knob allows the user to manually optimize performance and minimize noise
4. Warning & Alarm System
        - Coolant Flow Monitoring: Warns the user when coolant flow is problematic.
        - Coolant Level Monitoring: Warns the user when the coolant level is low.
5. Comprehensive Visual Monitoring Display
        - Coolant Temperature (viewable in °C or °F)
        - Ambient Temperature (viewable in °C or °F)
        - Coolant Level Warning Icon (Lights Up When Coolant Level Is Low)
6. Coolant Flow Rate
        - Coolant Flow Indicator
        - Light Switch
7. Automatic Power ON/OFF In Sync with the Computer
8. Quick Couplings for Fast, Convenient, and Leak-Free Installation & Maintenance


- Weight                                 : 7kg
- Dimensions                           : 350(L) x 210(W) x 180(H) mm
- Materials                               : Anodized Pure Aluminum
- Maximum Coolant Capacity     : Max. 1.25ℓ
- Integrated Water Pump          : 6W, DC 12V, 300L/Hr
- Maximum Lift                        : 1.8m
- Color Options                        : Titanium / Black


Closer Look:

The finish on the ZM-WB5 is fantastic.  The entire block looks like a piece of art and exudes quality, class, and proudly brandishes the Zalman name.  This attention to detail is appreciated on the block, but somehow they forgot the same attention to detail with the label on the coolant.

Block Finish
Block Finish


 Coolant Ratio
Coolant Ratio
 Conductive Coolant
Conductive Coolant


While the documentation doesn't claim that this coolant in non-conductive, I just wanted to make sure that you realize that you are in fact getting conductive coolant with this system.  As such, a leak can be fatal to your components.  With completely non-conductive coolants, a minor leak may not kill your system, but when using the provided Zalman coolant, you run a risk of damaging hardware if you get a leak of any size.  Of course, if you're considering putting liquid inside your PC, I'd sure that you already realize the risks that come with this method of cooling, but it's worth repeating. 

The Reserator XT looks very sexy, classy and quite simple.  On the front are three buttons, a rotary knob, two analog gauges and a digital temperature display.  The back is adorned with a rubber mounted 140mm fan, a power connector as well as two quick connect "drip-less" connectors.

 Front Profile
Front Profile
 Back Profile
Back Profile


On the next page we'll continue a close up look at this unit as we tear it apart to see what makes it tick inside.