Zalman Reserator 3 Max AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review



/ 10 months ago

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Introduction


R3MAX_15

With nearly 15 years in the business, Zalman have built themselves quite the reputation. They have a loyal following thanks to their high build quality and innovative designs. I must admit, Zalman may not be the first brand that spring to mind when your thinking about components, but we’ve been eager to see what their new all-in-one water cooler can do non the less.

All-in-one (AIO) watercoolers are more popular than ever, in fact it may be safer to say that water cooling is more popular than ever, AIO coolers just make it easy and more accessible to those who don’t want to build custom loops. AIO are often much cheaper than a custom radiator / pump configuration and offer near plug-and-play compatibility with super low maintenance. For the most part, water cooling can offer improved performance over air cooling and reap huge benefits for overclocked systems, so it is easy to see why people are so attracted to it.

Below we have a quote from Zalman’s website that details the special coolant they’ve used to fill the radiator, something which combined with the overall design, won Zalman an Innovation Award at CES 2013;

“Zalman with its unique technology came up with the world first nanofluids refrigerant applied cooler to maximize the cooling performance.”

  • Using nanofluids coolant improves thermal conductivity by mixing nanoparticles with fluids.
  • Nm (nanometer): an SI unit of length, equal to 10?9?m (a billionth of a meter).

So with Zalmans reliable history of making CPU coolers and high consumer demand for accessible and powerful water coolers, the Zalman Reserator 3 Max has a lot to live up to, so let’s get right to it and see what Zalmans new cooler has to offer.

As you can see it’s fairly well equipped and while the radiator does mount on a 120mm fan mount, it isn’t a typical 120mm radiator due to its unique design and integrated fan, but well take a close look at that in a moment.

Screenshot 2013-11-18 11.30.13

As you can see from the chart below, the Reserator 3 Max comes with a wide range of support for pretty much all major sockets and CPUs for the last few years, ensuring wide support for all kinds of systems from entry to enthusiast level.

Screenshot 2013-11-18 11.50.00

The packaging is nicely designed, featuring a cool looking image on the front that looks like a re-imagined arc reactor from Iron Man.

DSC_3965

Around the back we have a quick run down of the major features such as the dual radial radiator design, extra fan support, 120mm built-in fan and the blue LED lighting.

DSC_3966

In the box I found a package full of mounting components, an installation manual and of course the CPU cooler.

DSC_3967

The mounting kit consists of a multi purpose back plate, an AMD bracket and an Intel bracket.

DSC_3970

In the other we have some thermal paste, four bolt clips, four long mounting screws (used to add an extra 120mm fan), A sticker, a dual sided sticky pad and an assortment of screws and bolts for holding everything else in place.

DSC_3973

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  • Alistair Hardy

    How come you didn’t test it against the market leader, Corsair?
    Their coolers may not be the best but they certainly ship the highest amounts by a long shot.

    • Peter Donnell

      We will have a 120mm Corsair review soon. I took over cooling reviews from Ryan and started the charts from scratch so that we can rule out any differences in our testing methods. It’ll only be a few weeks before we have nicely populated graphs again :)

      • Alistair Hardy

        fair shout
        I’ll let you off this time :P

        • Peter Donnell

          Haha thanks. But just so you know, Ryan did use the same methods and same testing hardware so you can compare manually, just keep in mind there maybe a few degree variation for things. Ryan may have used more/less thermal paste, had a warmer or cooler office, etc etc.

  • sazz

    the moment I saw “stock fans cannot be removed or replaced” it was a no no right away.. won’t recommend this at all. performance is good. the radiator design is pretty good altho it can be improved by better housing (so that all air going thru ain’t escaping thru the sides).

    But you can’t replace the fans with your own? are they nuts? LOL

  • Cooler guy

    The H80i I have on an i7 3820 oc’ed to 4.3 keeps the cpu at no higher than 32 C in game and it idles at 16-18 C. Looks like the reserator 3 loses in my book.

  • Bansaku

    I have been using Zalman coolers for years, with my current being the CNPS20LQ with 2x Corsair SP120s in a push pull setup. I have a feeling that I will continue using this “sleeper” AIO until it dies. i7 3770K 4.5GHz idles at 12-17′C and never hits 60′C during Prime95. I can play SC2 or BF4 for hours and it never peeks beyond 35′C; Both fans are manually set @ 800RPM and are inaudible.
    I was all set to jump on the Reserator 3 Max, but common sense kicked in after I remembered why I upgraded from the CNPS9900MAX…the fan died and I could not replace it.

  • Robin Wilson

    Zalman’s website has been broken for a while and none of their support email addresses/telephone numbers work. I would stay well away from their products, unless you don’t mind not having any guarantee