120mm Water Cooler Round Up Part 2 – Looking Inside

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Zalman Reserator 3 MAX Disassembly

Zalman Pump housing

The Zalman Reserator 3 Max is the odd one of the bunch as it had a rather custom cylindrical radiator. It also had the least amount of coolant in its loop.

Zalman Pump housing lower and mid-section

There are 3 sections to the Zalman Reserator 3 Max. 8 screws hold the cold plate and baffle to the mid-section, and then another 12 hold the mid-section to the top.

Zalman cold plate and lower section

The lower section not only holds the cold plate it performs the same task as the gasket on the LQ315.

Zalman Cold plate close up

The thing that surprised me was the staining on the cooling fins. The cooler is brand new, less than 48 hours of use before I disassembled it. Seeing this staining this early in the coolers life, I wonder what a year’s worth of hard 24/7 use would look like.

Zalman Upper and Mid-section

Separating the middle and upper sections we find the impeller.

Zalman Pump with top cover removed

Pulling the top off we can see the plastic on the top that diffuses the light.

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  • David Campbell

    Zalman Resonator 3 max on a core2duo E8600 @ 4166 never seen higher then 67c
    not dead yet march 2017 haahaha might even put it on my ASUS GTX 580 dcii just for fun that sits at 905gpu 2153gddr5

  • Bansaku

    ” I just can’t seem to wrap my head around how little liquid there is in these things, especially the Zalman Resorator, I mean, how does the pump go about pumping essentially little-to-none liquid in the loop? ”

    1/2 cup in the loop is plenty! One has to consider two things; The fact that the channels running through the radiator are extremely thin, and when liquid heats up, it expands. In my automotive experience, I can tell you that when coolant heats up it is no different than any other liquid in regards to the fact that it bubbles. When doing a radiator flush on a vehicle, it is very important to have the engine running as hot as possible with the rad cap off. This is to bleed out any excess air, and to attain the proper boil level of coolant. Adding too much coolant or not properly bleeding the bubbles can result in the loop literally bursting due to the liquid/air’s expending pressure. In the case of auto motives, either the hoses blow, or the head gasket on the engine block. Now think of that happening inside you case. 😛

  • arterius2

    I just can’t seem to wrap my head around how little liquid there is in these things, especially the Zalman Restorator, I mean, how does the pump go about pumping essentially little-to-none liquid in the loop? is this really how much the loop can hold? (it does seem a lot bigger from the outside). Is it filled to the top or is the pump pretty much pumping air half the time? I’m quite baffled how these things can perform “relatively” well considering what has been revealed here. I’m just not understanding the science here. it’s my understanding that you need a reasonable amount of liquid to absorb the heat and transfer them to the radiator to dissipate it, it seems to me it would be difficult to fulfill that role without enough liquid to even wet my pants with.

  • basroil

    As a mechanical engineer (and computer enthusiast), I love articles like these. Good job!

    “Zalman Resorator Max had only about ¼ cup of what Zalman calls Nano Fluid; but
    smells and looks a lot like ethylene glycol that has been dyed blue.”

    You might want to check out “Enhanced thermal conductivity and viscosity of copper nanoparticles in ethylene glycol nanofluid” , Zalman probably applied a similar method to increase thermal conductivity of the fluid. Considering that those nanoparticles are made with copper sulfates, it could explain the blue tint in the liquid and even the “stains” on the fins. The half volume of the fluid is easily explained by the difference between the heat pipe method that device used vs the radiator method of everyone else.

    Any chance you would be up to burning the solutions (just a small bit) to see if there are differences in a flame test? (if you do, I’m sure people will be clamoring for videos) If there’s Cu(II) in there, it should burn more green than the rest.

  • jack

    why is page 3,4,5,7 are blanks? where is the rest of the review?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Jack, Should all be there now… Had a formatting issue.

      • jack

        much thanks!

  • Will Lyon

    Are you sure that’s a plastic impeller shaft and not a ceramic one? Kinda looks like white ceramic to me.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      We can double check!