Articles: Cooling

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Zalman Tech has always been at the forefront of progress in noiseless PC cooling. This tradition continues with the Zalman Reserator 1 water-cooling system I am going to give a look to in this review. The idea of cooling the hottest PC components with the help of water is not new, and it’s hard to come up with anything revolutionary in this area. On the other hand, Zalman is Zalman and their water-cooling solution must be non-standard, at the very least.

Let us see then, what ideas are implemented in Reserator 1, and with what outcome – how efficient it is in practice.

Zalman Reserator 1

All water-cooling systems share the same basic design: a closed contour with water circulating within. Taking heat from the processor in a special block, the water arrives to a radiator to spread this heat out in air. Several water blocks can be installed, if necessary, for example on the CPU, GPU, chipset’s North Bridge and so on.

The temperature of the water rises but slightly, by a fraction of one degree, after each water block, so the sequence of the units plays no big role. For example, a “CPU-GPU-heatsink-pump-CPU” chain would be equivalent to a “CPU-pump-heatsink-GPU-CPU” combination in most cases. Choose what’s more convenient as the fundamental advantage of water-based cooling remains with you – unlike with an ordinary air cooler, it is not necessary to transfer heat to air “on the spot”. Heat can be taken by and moved with water to where it can be effectively dissipated in the surrounding air.

The coolant in water-cooling systems is usually cooled down in a special radiator with thin ribs at which an air fan is blowing. The radiator can be placed either inside the system case (in this design, the fan blows at it and also exhausts the hot air) or outside, in an independent unit, attached to the system case with tubes.

So, it is obvious that water-cooling systems produce much less noise than ordinary air coolers of the same efficiency. The fan on the water radiator can be made low-speed, while the pump is completely noiseless. It generates a certain vibration, but you can easily get rid of it.

It seems like this scheme cannot be improved further, and all modifications will only concern the construction of the pump, water blocks, and the radiator. Well, Zalman is of another opinion.

The main component of the Reserator 1 system combines a reservoir with a pump and a radiator, hence the name (Reservoir + Radiator = Reserator). The system is fanless, i.e. completely noiseless.

The appearance of Reserator 1, basically a ribbed pole on a round stand, is most impressive:

The following snapshot allows you to compare its size with that of a standard PC case:

And here’s how a compact-disc compares with the stand:

The Reserator is a ribbed aluminum tube with a submersible pump, located at the bottom, next to the nozzles. The pump is driving water out of the reservoir towards the output nozzle. The water then takes a trip through one or several water blocks and returns to the reservoir through the input nozzle and mixes with the rest of the water.

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