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Zalman Reserator XT

Zalman Reserator XT

Manufacturer: Zalman
UK Price (as reviewed): £269.00 (inc. VAT) @ QuietPC
US Price (as reviewed): $487.60 (ex. Tax)

Introduction

Watercooling has long been featured now and again on bit-tech. Regardless of the ineviable and thoroughly encouraged crazy mod projects we've seen, bit has covered kits from Alphacool, Corsair, Gigabyte and Cooler Master. We've even put together a Watercooling 101 article to get you in the mood.

Zalman has been producing Reserator products for a number of years, starting with the Reserator 1 which spawned several revisions around the central tube of aluminium theme to improve performance and compatibility before the Reserator 2 arrived with a whole new more compact design.

Arguably not as popular as the Reserator 1, the Reserator 2 has finally been superseded by the Reserator XT. Now, the XT is a hefty investment at nearly £270, especially when a good air cooler will set you back anywhere between £20-40. The question is though, can you have silence as well as awesome cooling or should watercooling be reserved for those looking for the ultimate performance only?

Let's find out...

Zalman Reserator XT

CPU Socket Support: AMD AM2 / 940 / 939 / 754, Intel LGA775
Weight (Reserator XT): 7kg
Size: 76mm x 436mm x 369mm
Weight (CPU Water Block): 160g
Size: 63mm x 63mm x 40mm

Box Contents

  • Reserator XT
  • CPU Water Block (ZM-WB5)
  • Anti-Corrosion Coolant (ZM-G300)
  • 4m clear 8mm ID PVC tubing
  • I/O PCI Bracket
  • Degassing Tube
  • DC Power cable
  • Jumper cable
  • Four Tube Clamps
Zalman Reserator XT Zalman Reserator XT

The packaging is solid and the Reserator is held in by expanded polystyrene so it should arrive in one piece. In the box you get everything you need to get rolling along, except for a second set of Quick Coupling plugs for the PVC tube to the waterblock but these can be stolen from the degassing tube instead.

The manual is short but it sufficiently details the installation procedure, as well as all the possible combinations of waterblock installs, given that Zalman also makes a northbridge and several GPU waterblocks too. The provided propylene glycol anti corrosion "coolant" is just 250ml worth, however it states that it all needs to be used if you plan to fill the reservoir entirely with a litre of distilled water. Since propylene glycol has a lower specific heat capacity than water, you only want to use just enough to avoid corrosion but not so much that it inhibits the performance. We found that just half the bottle was more than sufficient to give the water a silky texture (and colour it sufficiently), leaving the other half for next time/year when you come to flush the system and start afresh.

Remember using distilled water, not tap water, is important for the long term survival of the internal components - you can usually pick it up at some petrol stations or vehicle maintenance stores because it's predominantly used for car radiators.

Zalman Reserator XT Zalman Reserator XT

The thin tubing fits well, but the clips are very difficult to use because of the small metal prongs which you need to use to open them are so small, it digs into sensitive pinkies.

When you pull the jumper cable there’s a moment of “what the hell??” and it’s not until you install the system that you realise its value: to get the air out and water circulating you don’t want to power your CPU with the waterblock “dry”, so “jump starting” the PSU by shorting the green and any black wire on the ATX cable with just the Reserator XT plugged in will get the waterflowing ready before the system is properly powered.