Old School, New School... It's all Cool.
The Reserator itself is a gorgeous piece of engineering – the craftsmanship of all the finned panels is supreme. Despite being a hefty 7kg the entire thing is made of anodised aluminium in either black or silver . Zalman doesn’t just use normal screws to whack it all together: they are countersunk bolts that match the colour of the surround.
Both the circular buttons and the display panels suit the case perfectly giving it an appreciable retro feel within a modern setting. The mix of digital readout for the temperature monitor and old school analogue dials for the flow rate and fan speed are nothing short of perfect. You can select between Celsius and Fahrenheit as well as turning on and off the backlights with the buttons below.
That’s not fan speed/flow rate dial in the centre either, it’s a volume knob
. Obviously the two are interchangeable but it just highlights the focus of this product is low noise an efficient cooling and not performance in particular.
At the side the separate inline flow meter shows the actual water flow but spoils the continuity with its blue backlit LED. I still like it though; it reaffirms a satisfaction that everything is working from the movement of water. The fill port in the top is not that easy to use, but thankfully if you spill any water it should collect in the centre depression and run off without causing too much harm. Note: DO NOT fill it up when it’s sitting on top of your PC!
– do it in somewhere where spillages can be mopped up if need be.
A single 14cm fan cools the two radiators on both sides by drawing in air over them and expelling it out the back. At 7V, the Zalman (ZF1425ATF) fan ranges from a very quiet 21.9dB at 1,100RPM up to a significantly noisier 31.6dB at 12V
The back simply has the groovy screw in power connector which hooks up to an internal molex plug and the two sockets for water in and out. Don’t try to use these without liberating the plastic barbs from the degassing tube and using them on the ends of the PVC tubing, once it’s cut to length. The connectors are self sealing so if you pop them out to move the unit and/or your PC it won’t leak; although you might lose a few drops of water so it’s wise to act with caution.
The WB5 waterblock is similar to the old WB4-Plus
but doesn't include socket 478 support. It still has a copper base and aluminium top but is now gunmetal silver instead of ocean blue. The combination of metals means you have to use the supplied propylene glycol additive otherwise the insides of the waterblock (not to mention the copper piped radiators and aluminium reservoir) will corrode.