Looking at full speed results on our LGA1155 system, the Reserator 3 Max places just 1°C behind Corsair's H80i. Antec's Kühler H2O 920 has a more significant 3°C lead, although all three are intrusively loud at these settings. Even as the Zalman fan blasts air through the cooler, however, the Noctua NH-D14 with its low noise adaptor, which is all but silent in comparison, is able to match the full speed Reserator result of 41°C. This is a bit of a disappointment, although the space requirements of the two are very different. The 41°C delta T is enough to beat SilverStone's TD03, but this advantage is quickly lost at slower PWM speeds. Nevertheless, the Zalman fan is at least rather quiet at such speeds.
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On our LGA2011 platform the Zalman cooler beats both the budget Cooler Master Seidon 120M and the more relevant Kraken X40 from NZXT. Once again, however, it's unable to trump the high end Noctua air cooler (even with the low noise adaptor fitted). However, Antec's Kühler H2O 920, SilverStone's TD03 and Corsair's H80i all have much more convincing leads over the Zalman's 50°C result, with Antec's cooler even able to beat it when using its Silent fan profile, and thus proving itself to be much more efficient.
We have to give kudos to Zalman for at least trying something different in a largely stagnant market. While the Reserator 3 Max's design does bring about its own issues (such as difficulty replacing the attached fan), it's more interesting and attractive than the simple black cuboids we're so used to (though SilverStone's TD03 covers this base as well). That said, the fact remains that despite boasts about its nanoparticle coolant and Quadro cooling path, the Reserator 3 Max simply isn't able to offer convincingly better performance than any other high-end closed loop cooler in its size category, which is even worse when you consider that said coolers are typically cheaper and easier to work with.
Intel LGA1155 Score
Intel LGA2011 Score