Watercooling. It used to be synonymous to overclocking, at least until mainstream manufacturers like Apple started including watercooling options in their systems. Zalman's Reserator 1, an imposing tower designed for watercooling might look like an extremely powerful unit, and looking at the cost had us believing it would be. Our tests, however, gave us a whole different picture. The highs: it's quiet, looks good, and easy installation. The lows: high cost, lack of mobility, and mediocre performance. The lowdown: If you're looking for silence, this is worth a look. If you're looking for pure performance, look elsewhere.
Water cooling used to be reserved for the hardcore overclocking enthusiast. The only reason water cooling was necessary then was to cool down TECs, otherwise known as peltiers. These devices, which pulled heat from one side and dumped it on the other, could cool CPUs way below ambient temperatures, but the devices themselves needed to be cooled well. Air cooling was simply not enough and people turned to water as a liquid coolant.
Today CPUs are using in excess of 100 watts of power. This translates into a tremendous amount of heat being output that needs to be removed effectively. Naturally, water cooling became a common form of cooling for overclockers because of its ability to achieve close to ambient temperatures. And while most people look to water cooling for high performance, some people also use it for silent performance. One restriction remains for many people:overcoming hydrophobia. Everyone knows water and electricity is not a good combination. The fact that computer components are very expensive and the danger involved with water cooling a component just to achieve a small gain in cooling performance makes water cooling less than appealing to many people.
Manufacturers like Koolance, GlobalWIN, Thermaltake, Corsair, and Zalman have been working to break hydrophobia. And they've all succeeded in making solid water cooling kits that are leak-free when installed properly. Each kit has its ups and downs, offering varying degrees of cooling performance, noise, aesthetics, and ease of installation. Today Dev Hardware will review the Zalman Reserator 1.
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