Let us try to see the second version of Zalman’s liquid cooling system from the point of view of its targeting. The Reserator 2 was developed to cool system case components silently. And it does accomplish that. The pump is perfectly silent inside the filled reservoir and that’s all! There is no other rotating, rubbing or rattling element in the discussed liquid cooling system. I don’t want to claim it has superior performance – the system ran about 4°C warmer than the best air super-cooler in my own tests, but this Reserator is not meant to bring you top performance. It is meant to bring you silence. Silence is the main criterion for you to consider the Zalman Reserator 2 as a great buy.
Besides that, you can optionally buy a couple of water-blocks to cool the graphics card’s memory (ZM-RWB1) and mainboard’s chipset (ZM-NWB1) and thus apply water cooling to every PC component with high heat dissipation. How is it going to affect CPU cooling efficiency? No doubt it will worsen, considering such a weak pump. I hope the manufacturer will perform its own tests with a pump that has at least two times the performance of the one included with the Reserator 2 now. Perhaps the tightly closed aluminum reservoir will allow increasing efficiency without a great increase in noise. The Zalman Reserator 2 will surely lose a large share of its appeal if it comes with a noisy pump, yet I think there is still some reserve for a more powerful, yet silently operating, pump left.
I also have no doubt that you can buy separate components for the money they ask for a Reserator 2 and assemble your own liquid cooling system with the same efficiency. But will it be as quiet as Zalman’s? Moreover, many users just don’t want to bother about selecting, searching for and assembling a custom-made liquid cooling system, so ready-made solutions still have a small, yet constant share of the market. And the Zalman Reserator 2 is going to deservedly enjoy its own share of that share.
Here are its pros and cons, in brief.
- Silent operation
- Sufficiently effective at cooling overclocked CPUs and graphics cards
- Universal (supports every modern platform)
- Two more water-blocks can be included into the system
- Simple assembly/installation procedure
- Simple to connect/disconnect and move around
- High price
- Does not cool the near-socket space on the mainboard
- Large dimensions of the main block
- Limitations on installing the water-block on K8 platforms
- Low-performance pump