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Water Cooling Madness - Corsair vs. Thermaltake vs. Gigabyte - The Contenders - Corsair Cool

Today we're taking a close look at three of the most recent water cooling kits released from Corsair, Thermaltake and Gigabyte. We put them all inside the ring to find out which offers the best overall features and cooling performance. If you're on the market for a new CPU cooling solution which offers better performance than air coolers to aid in higher overclocking and quieter operation at the same time, read on and find out which one is the best buy!

By: | CPU Liquid Coolers in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Aug 24, 2005 4:00 am

Corsair Cool


Corsair is more known for its impressive line of memory products rather than any cooling products, however, Corsair made a push into the enthusiast cooling market some time ago with the Corsair Hydra. This was reviewed by us a while ago, and was somewhat impressive however, still not what we would call up to speed with the rest of the hardware community.


This time, Corsair has pushed even harder into the market with a dedicated water cooling kit that isn't a full enclosure like the Hydra.


- Radiator Assembly



The Radiator setup is not a new radiator to the market, yet is one of the best available. Corsair uses the Black Ice Extreme radiator which features 3/8 inch hose barbs, 12 pass cooling and a 120mm diameter cooling surface. The cooling setup is designed to take a 120mm fan. Another feature is the extension housing which is designed to connect the radiator to the case.


- Pump



The pump included in the package is a Swiftech MCP350 12v pump. This pump is a fantastic design as it is extremely thin and can be bolted to the inside of the chassis. The pump is able to pump 350 Litres per Hour at a pressure rate of 22PSI, ideal for adding in other water cooling components, as there is more than adequate pressure to keep up with a totally water cooled PC setup. The power for the pump comes direct from the power supply unit, so the pump starts and stops when the power to the PC is applied and cut.


- Reservoir



The Reservoir used is a 5.25 inch drive mount unit with 2 hose barbs installed in the back with a bung plug. This plug can be replaced with a special tube for emptying the unit if you don't use treated water, as servicing a water cooling unit is essential to its continued use. At the front is a black screw in plug which is where you fill the unit from.


- Water Block



The water block is yet another product from Swiftech. This unit is a MCW600 in the new black finish. Corsair has re-sprayed the mounting mechanisms from blue to green. The kit we received had the brackets for Socket 775 and Socket A. The other kit available fits Socket 478 and Socket 939/754. We would have preferred to see a universal bracket that would allow you to use the same kit on all processors rather than having to purchase extra mounting brackets.


- The Extra Bits



Now we have seen the primary components, let's have a look at the rest of the bits you will need.


First we see the tubing. A clear PVC pipe with 3/8 inch diameter is the tube of choice. If you find that the supplied length isn't enough, or you want to add extra water cooling components later on, this tube is easily available at your local hardware store. Included is a wrap around anti-kink tube protector that prevents the tubes kinking up if use in tight corners - a very good addition.


Next we have the PCI backplane. This goes over a normal PCI expansion slot at the back and is where the two water tubes and power cables for the fan exit the PC case while keeping the case as aesthetically pleasing as possible.


Finally we have the coolant. This coolant is an Ethylene Glycol concentrate, same as what is used in car radiators to aid in the waters ability to transfer heat. This also prevents the water from boiling at 100 degree Celsius as well as allowing the temperature to be dropped below 0 without freezing. Added to this is an anti fungal and anti corrosive agent to aid in keeping the radiator as rust and algae free as possible. This mix needs to be added to the radiator and then filled up with distilled water to complete the circuit, as there is not enough to fill the entire unit with the amount in the bottle.


How much does it cost?


Thermaltake BigWater (CL-W0005) Water Cooling Kit


Further Reading: Read and find more Cases, Cooling & PSU content at our Cases, Cooling & PSU reviews, guides and articles index page.

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