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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.11.04]
Manufactured by: Zalman


The Test

In all honesty, the goal of the Reserator 1 is not to be the best performing cooler on the market. Or even close for that matter. The sole purpose for this product to exist is the fact that it can cool down the current hottest CPU's and Video Cards without the need for fans at all.

Therefore, I am not going to be testing it against other loud water coolers or such. Instead, I am going to compare it to a stock Intel Prescott heatsink. If the Zalman can perform just as well as the stock heatsink, but without fans, it has served its purpose.

The specs of course:

CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.4E Prescot (S478)
Video Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 256MB

The test consisted of 2 hours of Prime95 along with 3DMark 03 looping through the game demos, on a warm sunny afternoon here in Vancouver BC. Ambient temperature was 25 degrees C.

After the two hour test, the system was allowed to idle for another two hours, and the temperature was again recorded.

The Results

As you can see, the Reserator 1 performed admirably well. Just remember that it is not only cooling the CPU, but the Radeon 9700 as well! It is able to do both while maintaining the same CPU temperature as the stock Intel unit. And it does so without the use of fans, and it barely makes a peep.

The Reserator 1 from Zalman has a very specific goal, and it performs it perfectly well. If you are looking to cool your high end CPU and video card without the use of noisy fans AT ALL, then you HAVE to consider it.

At around $200, it is certainly not a small purchase. However keep in mind that it is compatible with pretty much every CPU and video card you could throw at it, and you can probably use it for years to come. And if you are building a silent home theatre PC, there really is no other option that performs this well.

If you are the DIY type who is looking for insane cooling performance, you are probably going to want to skip the Reserator. Then again, I can think of some pretty crazy mods that can be done with it... I wonder what happens when you add a few fans to the mix, and a high performance pump and waterblocks? There are possibilities there, but the price might prevent you from messing around with it too much.

  • Incredibly quiet
  • Performs well enough to cool the hottest components
  • Amazingly engineered and well put together
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Very complete package, with well written manual and excellent product support
  • Doubles as an art piece for your living room

  • Very expensive
  • Not 100% silent

Final Score: 92%