Zalman’s Reserator 1 fanless water cooler

Manufacturer Zalman
Model Reserator 1
Price (street) $201
Availability Now
THERE WAS A TIME that that the guttural growl produced by my dual Pentium III workstation was music to my ears. I was running a pair of PIII 700MHz chips overclocked to nearly 1GHz in a monstrous tower brimming with close to a dozen 80mm system fans, and the machine sounded every bit as powerful as it was. With all the fans spinning away at full throttle, you could hear the system coming from a mile away, and that was just the way I liked it.

My how things have changed. Today, I cringe at the noise produced by most systems and wonder how much hearing loss I suffered at the hands of my old workstation. Of course, I haven’t gone completely soft. I still drool over high-performance systems overclocked to their limits, but I prefer a stealthier approach to cooling that shuns fan-infested full tower cases in favor of smarter and quieter designs.

This fascination with quiet cooling started out innocently enough, but it’s rapidly blossomed into an obsession as I try to integrate PCs into other rooms in my home. In the Benchmarking Sweatshop, I can deal with the inevitable hum associated with processor activity. However, that hum becomes a distracting annoyance in the living room and bedroom, leading me to seek out a completely silent cooling solution.

My search for silence led me to Zalman’s Reserator 1 fanless water cooler. Standing nearly two feet tall, the Reserator cuts a mean profile on the horizon, but can the fanless radiator keep a processor cool in the steamy confines of the Benchmarking Sweatshop? And more importantly, can it do so while barely making a sound? Read on to find out.

Cue Thus Spake Zarathustra

The monolith

The Reserator towers over a cube

The Reserator’s defining feature is a massive radiator that measures nearly two feet tall and about six inches across. Depending on your tastes, the radiator will either be an ugly eyesore or an interesting piece of functional industrial sculpture. I tend to lean towards the latter, but perhaps only because I have a fetish for anodized aluminum. Speaking of anodizing, the Reserator comes in any color you want, as long as it’s blue. I quite like bold colors, so the blue doesn’t faze me. However, it’s a shame that Zalman doesn’t offer the tower with a more subtle black or silver anodizing that might be more appropriate for home theater systems and traditional decors. Anodizing protects the Reserator from corrosion, so it’s more than just a cosmetic treatment. I just wish a more palatable color were available.

If you can’t stand the Reserator’s metallic blue color, you can always tuck the tower away in a corner or behind a house plant. There’s no getting around the tower’s size, though. A tall tower with loads of surface area is essential to the Reserator’s fanless design, which relies on natural convection currents to dissipate heat. As the Reserator’s temperature exceeds a room’s ambient temperature, heat flows from the tower to warm the cooler surrounding air. This warmer air rises up the height of the tower and is replaced by cooler air from the rest of the room, creating a subtle air flow without the assistance of fans. With a two-foot tower, the Reserator definitely has loads of height to encourage natural air flow. The tower’s 44 cooling fins also provide a whopping 1.23 square meters of surface area to dissipate heat.

However, the tower’s reliance on natural convection makes me wary of the Reserator’s ability to handle warmer climates and higher ambient room temperatures. Zalman cautions against positioning the tower next to heat sources or in direct sunlight, too, which makes me wonder if the Reserator can handle the 30-degree Celsius temperatures typical of the sweltering Benchmarking Sweatshop.

Although the Reserator relies on natural convection to dissipate heat, transferring warm fluid from the system processor to the cooling tower requires a pump. If only convection worked as well with water.

Staring down the barrel of the Reserator

To keep fluid flowing, Zalman straps a 5W water pump to the bottom of the Reserator’s cooling tower. This little pump is nearly silent, especially when the tower’s 2.5 liter coolant capacity is topped off. Rated to flow 300 liters per hour, the pump should be more than powerful enough to keep water moving through the system as long as things are relatively level. The Reserator’s maximum lift is only half a meter, though. Installing the tower too far above or below a system could impede or even halt fluid flow.

If the Reserator’s 5W pump doesn’t have enough muscle for your needs, Zalman provides the necessary hardware and instructions for the pump’s replacement or removal in favor of an external unit. Of course, Zalman takes no responsibility for performance losses that may result from using an external pump that’s not compatible with the Reserator’s plumbing. Keep in mind that a beefier external pump may compromise the Reserator’s low noise levels, too.

Plastic screw-on fittings at the base of the tower

The Reserator’s plumbing is anchored to the cooling tower with a couple of plastic compression fittings. The fittings are easy to use and feel more secure than spring-based clamps that could loosen with time or continued use, but the plastic feels a little cheap next to the metal fittings used elsewhere in the system.

A block for every socket
Speaking of metal fittings, here’s two of them on the Reserator’s water block:

Mmmmm. Metal fittings.

The Reserator comes with Zalman’s ZM-WB2 water block, which consists of an aluminum cover and a gold-plated copper base. Using an off-the-shelf water block makes it easy for those with dual-processor systems to find matching water block for a second processor. Zalman also offers GPU blocks for graphics chip cooling.

A nearly perfect mounting surface

The water block’s copper base is polished to near perfection, though a number of fine scratches are visible if you look closely enough. Proper thermal compound application should ensure that these minor scratches don’t impede heat transfer between the processor and water block, and Zalman provides a tube of thermal compound with the kit.

Although a near-mirror finish and metal fittings are nice, the Reserator water block’s most intriguing attribute is compatibility with a wide range of CPU sockets.

Mounting hardware for just about every socket

The block ships with mounting hardware for Sockets A, 478, 754, and 940. It should also be compatible with AMD’s new 939-pin socket, which uses the same heat sink retention bracket as Sockets 754 and 940. The water block’s one mounting restriction pertains to Socket A, where a motherboard that conforms to AMD’s optional four-hole heat sink mounting design is required.

Despite that one limitation, the Reserator’s water block is generally well-behaved across all CPU sockets. The block takes up considerably less room than standard Pentium 4 or Athlon 64/Opteron coolers, and the mounting screws are carefully threaded to ensure that the block isn’t screwed down too hard. Limiting the number of threads on each screw prevents the water block from crushing a processor core or damaging a motherboard. However, even with the screws tightened as far as they’ll go, the water block is just loose enough to rotate slightly from side to side. Mounting hardware keeps the block centered, and there isn’t nearly enough play to break contact with the processor. However, some may prefer a tighter fit.

Putting it all together
The Reserator depends on water flow through the system to channel heat from the processor to the cooling tower. Without this water flow, processor temperatures could climb to dangerously high levels.

Keep an eye on flow with this handy indicator

Thankfully, the Reserator comes with a handy in-line indicator that makes it easy to confirm that water is flowing through the system. When water is flowing freely, the orange lead vibrates slightly. When it’s not, the lead is still.

Of all the Reserator’s components, the flow indicator is probably the flimsiest. The indicator’s plastic body and hose fittings are a stark contrast to the Reserator’s otherwise metal components, which makes the indicator feel a little out of place. Still, the indicator is easy to install, leak-free, and essential for paranoid types like me. I’d also recommend using Motherboard Monitor or a motherboard BIOS to set CPU temperature warning and shutdown levels on the off chance that a pump failure or flow problem occurs when the system is left unattended. To be fair, I make the same recommendation for air-cooled systems.

Plenty of tubing

To connect its various components, the Reserator comes with three meters of 12x8mm silicone tubing. The flexible tubing is easy to run through a system, just be careful not to bend it at extreme angles that could produce flow-restricting kinks.

Metal fittings and clamps

When installing the Reserator, you have a couple of options for routing hoses from the processor to the cooling tower. If you don’t plan on moving the system or replacing fluids with any regularity, you can run hoses directly from the water block to the cooling tower (with the flow indicator in-between, of course). The silicon hosing will easily fit through an open case expansion slot or any hole larger than 12mm in diameter.

For those who move their systems regularly or want to be able to separate the cooling tower from the rest of the system without draining it completely, Zalman provides a pair of PCI expansion fittings and hose clamps. The fittings are secured to a case’s expansion slot like so:

Fittings from the outside…

And from the inside

To separate the system from the cooling tower, clamp the tubing on both sides of the PCI fitting and remove the hose from the external fitting. The clamps do an excellent job of stopping water flow, although I wouldn’t want to leave the tubes pinched for an extended period of time for fear of creating a permanent kink. If you’d rather not crowd a system’s PCI slots with hoses and fittings, you’re free to drill your own holes and mount them elsewhere in a case. In your system is crowded with multiple PCI devices, custom holes are probably the best way to go. The fittings are easy enough to mount in a PCI slot, but they’re also wide enough to potentially make contact with solder points and components mounted on the back side of PCI devices mounted directly below them.

A handful of spares, just in case

A handful of spare parts rounds out the Reserator’s hardware. Zalman provides a spare compression fitting, cable fitting, and O-ring in addition to a sealing bolt that’s necessary to run the Reserator with an external pump.

Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

Processor Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz
Front-side bus HT 16-bit/1GHz downstream
HT 16-bit/1GHz upstream
Motherboard Abit KV8 Pro
North bridge VIA K8T800 Pro
South bridge VIA VT8237
Chipset driver VIA Hyperion 4.51
Memory size 512MB (1 DIMM)
Memory type Corsair XMS3500 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz and 2-7-3-3 timings
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200
Graphics driver ForceWare 56.72

Western Digital WD1200JB 120GB 7,200RPM ATA/100 hard drive

Operating System Windows XP Professional
Service Pack 1 and DirectX 9.0b

We tested the Reserator’s performance against a stock AMD cooler and a ThermalTake Silent Boost K8 heatsink/fan. The system was set up on an open test bench with ambient room temperatures between 28 and 31C. Prime95’s FPU-intensive torture test was used to generate a high heat CPU workload.

We used the following version of our test application:

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1024×768 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests. All of the 3D gaming tests used the high detail image quality settings.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Noise levels
An Extech 407727 digital sound level meter was used to measure our test system’s noise levels. The meter was placed six inches from the open test bed at idle and after 10 minutes of our Prime95 load. When testing the Reserator, the water tower was placed directly next to the test system.

Although not all motherboards can manipulate processor fan speeds based on system temperatures, our test system can. The KV8 Pro’s FanEQ variable speed fan controller was enabled during testing, resulting lower fan speeds and noise levels at idle. Under load, FanEQ cranked both the stock and Silent Boost coolers up to their full speeds.

The Reserator’s water pump isn’t variable flow, so it doesn’t get any louder under load. Our air coolers do, and they’re much louder than the Reserator with Prime95 cranking in the background.

Although hard drive and power supply noise prevent the Reserator from achieving lower system noise levels, the cooler itself is nearly silent. You can hear the pump if you put your ear right up against the water tower, but that’s about it. Still, it will take a quiet hard drive, a passive graphics cooler, and a silent power supply to bring the rest of a system in-line with the Reserator’s faint noise levels.

CPU temperatures
I had my doubts about the Reserator’s ability to cool a loaded processor consistently over extended periods of time, especially in my steamy Benchmarking Sweatshop, so I subjected our coolers to a 24-hour marathon of testing. The test started innocently enough with half an hour of idling. Next, the system was pounded with 22.5 hours of Prime95’s maximum heat torture tests followed by an hour of cool-down with the system running at idle.

Testing was conducted over three consecutive days with ambient room temperatures consistent within a degree from day to day. Ambient temperatures varied between 28 and 31C across the length of each day.

Over our 24-hour torture test, the Reserator managed much lower average and maximum temperatures than the stock and Silent Boost air coolers. That’s no small feat considering the steamy conditions in the Benchmarking Sweatshop. Here’s how temperatures stacked up across the full 24-hour test:

At idle, the Reserator is only marginally cooler than a stock AMD heat sink/fan. However, the Reserator managed much lower CPU temperatures across the load portion of our test and leveled off at a relatively cool 53C.

CPU/System temperature differential
Because convection is so dependent on ambient air temperature, I’ve also graphed the CPU/System temperature differential of each of our cooler configurations. On an open test bed, system temperatures should be proportional—though not identical—to ambient room temperatures.

Looking at our CPU/System temperature differential confirms that simple convection, with a little help from a water pump and massive cooling tower, does a much better job keeping our Athlon 64 3200+ cool than our stock or Silent Boost active air coolers. There’s a much smaller gap between our system and CPU temperatures with the Reserator than with either of the air coolers we tested, which is enough to quell my fear that warmer climates and higher ambient temperatures would cripple the Reserator. I’d certainly heed Zalman’s warnings about putting the tower in direct sunlight, though.

Since concluding my Reserator testing, I’ve had the cooler running on a Pentium 4 2.4GHz for nearly 72 hours straight. Instead of running Prime95’s maximum heat torture test, the system is slogging through WMP9 video encoding and Folding@Home. The system is sitting in a closed case in my slightly less-steamy living room, and CPU temperatures haven’t eclipsed 51C. And from eight feet away, the system doesn’t make a sound.

Our benchmarking groupies can’t get enough
of the Reserator

Given how easy the Reserator is to assemble and how well it works, even under a constant load in a relatively warm room, I’d be inclined to pick one up for every system I own. Seeing giant blue towers all over my apartment might take a little getting used to, but I could deal with it.

Unfortunately, my credit card couldn’t. The cheapest price I’ve found for the Reserator online is $201, with most vendors selling the cooler for between $250 and $300. There’s a hefty price to pay for silent water cooling, although compatibility with a wide range of socket types at least ensures that the Reserator will work with multiple systems.

Apart from the Reserator’s high price and love-it-or-hate-it aesthetic, there’s not much to complain about. I’d rather see the cooler’s plastic fittings replaced by metal ones, but for consistency’s sake rather than any concern that the plastic fittings are prone to leaks. Of course, just because I can find few faults with the Reserator doesn’t mean that the cooler is appropriate for all applications. Those looking for a high-flow water cooler for serious overclocking will likely be unimpressed with the Reserator’s performance. I suppose one could always use a high-output pump and rig a fan or two to blow air across the cooling tower, but such a configuration would compromise the Reserator’s low-noise design, and that’s what the cooler is really all about. LAN gamers should also stay away from the Reserator, not because it’s difficult to detach the cooling tower for transport, but because the tower weighs close to 20 pounds when filled with water. Its weight and less-than-compact design make it a big of a chore to lug around with any kind of regularity and quite inconvenient for a LAN gaming rig.

If you’re not a LAN gamer or a serious overclocker and are unfazed by the Reserator’s price tag and aesthetic, I suspect you’ll be quite happy with the cooler’s performance and noise levels. The Reserator is barely audible and does a fantastic job keeping processors cool under extended and extreme loads. Perfect for bedroom PCs and home theater systems, the Reserator is even appropriate for gaming rigs and workstations.

As impressed as I am by the Reserator’s performance, I’m even more encouraged by the fact that Zalman was audacious enough to create and market such a product. The Reserator is easily one of the most daring and innovative cooling products I’ve ever seen, and given the cooler’s full “Reserator 1” name, it looks like Zalman is just getting started.

Comments closed
    • AGerbilWithAFootInTheGrav
    • 16 years ago

    Can you fill the resonator with antifreeze and put in into the freezer? would the pump handle that? If not you could at least try to put it into the fridge… now it would be overclocking galore for $200 🙂

    • tcbo1
    • 16 years ago

    I’ve been searching (unsuccessfully) for on of these at $200 all I can find is around $279.. Where on the street did you find $201???


      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago

      Froogle points to

    • leor
    • 16 years ago

    i’m kind of curious about what kind of girls the guys who are crackin on these 2 get

    if you’re chillin, datin a fine hunny, it doesn’t really occur to you to talk a bunch of mess about women they could probably never get anyway 😉

      • SXO
      • 16 years ago

      I think the problem is these guys live fantasy lives where they date women like Lara Croft or nVidia’s Dawn in their minds. So ofcourse when they see a real woman, as beautiful as she may be, if she doesn’t have those “comic book” proportions, they don’t appear attractive.
      Likewise, I’m sure if they ever got any *[

    • Dissonance
    • 16 years ago

    Behave. Duke Nuked is feeling frisky and name-calling/personal attacks will not be tolerated.

      • SnowboardingTobi
      • 16 years ago


      ay ay captain!

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 16 years ago first fp on page 2..

    .ummm 😉

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 16 years ago

    damn..the pics are gone …sigh !!!

      • 5150
      • 16 years ago

      Can you blame him? I wouldn’t appreciate trolls ripping on my G/F

        • Dissonance
        • 16 years ago

        He’s talking about different pics not originally in the review, but sitting in the same directory on the server. I’m sure they’ll pop up in the Smokey Back Room.

          • Ricardo Dawkins
          • 16 years ago

          gorgeous don’t do that again…hire some model…you know…

          • FroBozz_Inc
          • 16 years ago

          That’s it….where do I send my money again hehe

          Must….Know…The Truth about…..the SMOKEY back room!

    • SXO
    • 16 years ago

    So at what temp would you start worrying about damage to the CPU if it was an Athlon FX? The papers on the entire 64 line at the AMD site list 95 degrees Celcius for the die temp, but I find that very hard to believe.

      • Aphasia
      • 16 years ago

      What do you find hard to believe, that its such a low number or such a high number. I think there is some leeway in that 95C number at least. Thats only what AMD guaratees, but usually you can go a little higher depending on situation.

        • SXO
        • 16 years ago

        So in other words, all the numbers we have seen on the Reserator are well within tolerable limits. I’m currently just *[

    • muyuubyou
    • 16 years ago

    Posting in support of the chicks. Don’t listen to the naysayers.

    • LicketySplit
    • 16 years ago

    Meh…no class….i think she looks pretty damn fine:)

    • Logan[TeamX]
    • 16 years ago

    Reviews and chicks get my thumbs-up!

    • SnowboardingTobi
    • 16 years ago

    OMG… my eyes… my beautiful eyes!!

    Stop posting “undesirable” women!!! ahhhh!!! My eyes!!

    I feel sick….

      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago


        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 16 years ago

        Huh? So it’s OK for people to post in praise of those two girls, but not if they aren’t impressed?

        How even-handed of you. You chose to include that photo, so surely you’re man enough to accept (and ignore) a negative post?

          • 5150
          • 16 years ago

          When one of them is a member’s GF, I think it’s appropriate to not ridicule based on looks. Not that I am one, but it seems to be the gentlemanly thing to do. Otherwise I could keep the negative comments to myself.

          • Dissonance
          • 16 years ago

          Sure I can accept the post. It’s still there. I’m just not a huge fan of anonymous sniping so I’m merely replying with more information on the source, which I find quite telling.

            • AmishRakeFight
            • 16 years ago

            look at the bright side Diss…at least there are SOME people on this site that aren’t spanking it over thoughts of your girl!

            • 5150
            • 16 years ago

            Wow, you really know how to look at the bright side of things. 8-P

        • SnowboardingTobi
        • 16 years ago

        Ohhh… ahhh… you got me.

        I’m a Gerbil In Training and only joined last year year. Oh no… I feel so low. Oh no… I put lame comments for Location/Ocupation/Comments… ohh I feel so horrible.

        Still doesn’t change my mind that the white girl looks just ok and the asian girl looks like a cross-dressing man.

        • SnowboardingTobi
        • 16 years ago

        Asian girl still looks like a cross dressing man.

    • anand
    • 16 years ago

    I’m pretty interested in this system, but the price is nuts. To resurrect the classic AG post:

    ten dolrah too ecspensiv

    • Randy2
    • 16 years ago

    I doubt Zalman, or most other liquid cooling system manufacturers design thier product to run in an 85F+ enviroment, yet this unit does an excellent job. Since most room sized window(5K BTU or so)air conditioners can be had for less than the Zalman, I would assume prospective purchasers would invest in one of those prior to buying this unit, if they didn’t have one already.

    What I’m suggesting here is that the review is flawed in that this unit should have been tested in a lower temperature environment. That would be more realistic to it’s actual proposed usage, and would make for much better overclocking characteristics. Testing in such a high heat environment doesn’t demonstrate the purpose of this unit – to move heat from the CPU out of the case, reducing heat build up inside the case. I’ve done my share of water cooling and super cooling, and compared to some of the lousy kits I have seen, this one looks pretty decent. The problem is, people get the same results with a 86 Chevy Cavalier heater core and an aquarium pump.

    • FroBozz_Inc
    • 16 years ago

    Cool Product

    Great review

    STANDING OVATION on that last pic!

    Three cheer’s for Diss’s chixx0rz!


    You Mack Daddy You!

    • Captain AMD
    • 16 years ago

    Hmmm, a low hum or a big gigantic gawdy piece of blue metal. Hmmmm

    • drfish
    • 16 years ago

    Dude, a little warning before pics like the one on the last page would be nice… Might be work safe for some, but not all… 😉

      • 5150
      • 16 years ago

      What kind of nazi admin do you have at your work place? Jesse Jackson would have found that pic to be work safe!

        • drfish
        • 16 years ago

        The admin (me) doesn’t care one bit, but those walking behind me while I’m reading an artical about a CPU cooler just might… As the tech dude people expect to see motherboards and computer stuff on my screen, not chicks…

          • eitje
          • 16 years ago

          but it makes you wonder how the zalman cooler is standing up against that much HOT. 😉

          #3, i bet THEY can create some convection currents. 😀

          i like it. i want one.
          of the coolers, that is.

          ps – its color scheme would match a Dell Dimension XPS.

          • 5150
          • 16 years ago

          Those looking over your shoulder would simply think you found an awesome website, one that offers both cutting edge reviews, and quality chicks.

            • SnowboardingTobi
            • 16 years ago

            Quality chicks???? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            If that’s what passes as quality for you… I’d be worried.

            • firerules16
            • 16 years ago

            To each his own, I guess… they’re alright, not total knock-outs, but alright.

            • spuppy
            • 16 years ago

            Diss’ GF looks a lot better in her other pics in some other reviews… This is just kind of an unflattering pic, as they were all fooling around with the camera…

            Anyway, you shouldn’t flame, I bet you all look like a bunch of trolls 😉

            • SnowboardingTobi
            • 16 years ago

            Which one is his gf?

            The white woman looks just ok.

            The asian “woman” looks like a cross dressing man.

            Sorry Dis if your gf is the asian woman. But uhh… yeah… nothing I could say would help her.

            • 5150
            • 16 years ago

            It’s called politeness. Crawl back in your hole.

            • Ragnar Dan
            • 16 years ago

            Posting in support of your comments.

            • drfish
            • 16 years ago

            Most of the people here would only appriciate one of the two… And no one but me likes the hardware… 😉

    • R2P2
    • 16 years ago

    Whoever proposed this thing either had balls or a drug habit.

    • shoarthing
    • 16 years ago

    Test procedures appear to be iffy – specifically calibration of ‘system’ readout: Ambient thorugh test-cycle is quoted as 28~31C; peak reservator-cooled CPU temperature is shown on page 6 as 55C; while peak differential between ‘system’ & reservator-cooled CPU is shown on the graph on page 7 as 15C:

    55-(28~31)=24~27C, not 15C . . . unless by some physics-defying miracle the ‘system’ temperature is substantially below room-ambient . .

    Also note from the graph on page 6 that ambient/CPU delta at idle appears to be around 5~8C: if true this is astonishingly low, unless AMD’s speed-step throttling was enabled.

    – appreciate you are probably trying to show contrast between the reservator system & stock/quiet air-cooling solutions; if so, only deltas are relevant & these need to be tied to accurate ambients.

      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago

      Ambient room temperature != System temperature. From page 7:

      “On an open test bed, system temperatures should be proportional—though not identical—to ambient room temperatures.”

    • ripfire
    • 16 years ago

    $200 bucks for a hulking device and it only brings down noise level from 45.7dB to 40.5dB? Is this worth it? Granted the cooling performance is pretty good, I doubt serious overclockers would care about the noise or would simply pass it up for a cheaper cooling solution or just use the money to get a faster processor.

      • getbornagain
      • 16 years ago

      did you know db scale is a log scale?

        • ripfire
        • 16 years ago

        so is our hearing. what’s your point?

      • liquidsquid
      • 16 years ago

      6dB is a lot when it comes to constant noise in a room that you live in. To your ear it is 1/4 a loud… (1/2 and another 1/2). What I would like to know is if you can also find a water-cooled power supply that you can share the tower with. Then just the hard drives spinning would be the only noise… but you would still probably need a low-speed case fan of some sort to keep all the other components at a reasonable temp.


      • muyuubyou
      • 16 years ago

      You’re right. To justify this, you have to invest in a silent graphx cooling and PSU at least. This will add some $100-$200 more. Depending on the purpose of the system, adding $400 can be even reasonable. It still makes a big difference compared to spending $1000+ in this: §[<<]§ There is niche for this. I'd probably get a Thermalright SLK900 + a big fan rather than this, because I'm not going to invest ~$400 when ~$100 are enough for my room.

    • ieya
    • 16 years ago

    Quite impressive … though the noise levels of Shuttle’s XPCs are on the whole quiet enough for me.

    On the topic of which, curse them for bringing out a limited edition SN45G shortly after I bought one of the ordinary ones …


      • Convert
      • 16 years ago

      <Carl voice> Friggin awesome! </Carl voice>

    • spworley
    • 16 years ago

    There’s no airflow past the fins, so you’re limited to slow heat diffusion.
    I wonder if you could CREATE fanless airflow by making it a natural chimney.
    If you losely wrap the sides the tower in tinfoil, you’d make chimney-like channels between the heat fins. The heated air would rise, pulling cooler air in from the bottom. The airflow would therefore create more cooling than stagnant air.

    This would be fun to try out. Though likely the Zalman guys would have done this themselves if it would have helped..

      • SpotTheCat
      • 16 years ago

      this is essentially what is happening. It’s called a convection current, as mentioned, and is caused by the heated air’s lower density pulling it up above the cooler air coming on from the bottom. As that new air heats, it too rises up. It doesn’t need to be sealed to have that effect, and is much better off not sealed

      • Spotpuff
      • 16 years ago

      Isn’t that happening already?

      Wouldn’t adding tin foil just reduce air flow and heat convection?

      I’m confused how adding tin foil would magically increase air flow.

    • SpotTheCat
    • 16 years ago

    if they wanted to be very swanky with their kit, they could put the pump on the inside of the tower.

    if I were looking at completely fanless water cooling, I would want a bigger pump to handle graphics and CPU(s). They should sell the radiator with the PCI brackets without the other stuff so people can use hydor or ehiem pumps inside their towers and use better water blocks without paying for the whole set.

      • atryus28
      • 16 years ago

      Ummm look at the second page. The caption under the picture says “staring down the barrel of the resorator. Looking at the pic it seems to be in there.

    • danny e.
    • 16 years ago

    i too have grown tired of loud fans.
    .. just cant afford to go silent yet.
    over $200 is a bit too much to pay for quiet.

    nice review.

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