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

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!

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

Thermaltake Bigwater

 

Thermaltake has tried its hand at water-cooling in the past already. The first unit Thermaltake came up with was the Aquarius III external water cooling system. This came with the pump, reservoir and radiator in an external enclosure much like the Corsair Hydra did.

 

This time Thermaltake has gone for a separate setup allowing a much better cooling profile, and with the right case, a totally sealed in unit for LAN users.

 

- Radiator

 

 

Thermaltake uses for its radiator on the Bigwater a self contained radiator with a 120mm fan attached. This unit is best mounted outside of the case to the back of the chassis. The radiator is a 10 pass copper pipe with alloy core fins for higher thermal transfer. The fittings are only for quarter inch piping and this means a reduction in water flow compared to the Corsair unit.

 

The fan has an attachment at the bottom for a dial controlled speed setup that mounts to the back of the case in a spare PCI expansion bay. A thermally controlled unit might have been a good idea with a thermal probe unit inside the radiator to monitor the water temperature, allowing the unit to increase speed when the water temp begins to rise.

 

- Pump

 

 

The pump is the unique centre of the unit. First off the pump has 4 water pipe connectors - two have quick connects, the other two are covered over (this we will explain in a bit). The two barbs with quick connects are the water in and water out that is driven by the pump. The barbs are labelled in and out to indicate the direction of flow. The other two are used for the additional fill reservoir. The pump also holds 50ml of water inside itself as a primary reservoir if you prefer not to connect the extra fill/reservoir unit.

 

The pump gains its power from a motherboard CPU fan connector. This allows the pump to start and stop with the power scheme of the system. The pump also has a RPM sensor that allows you to monitor if the pump is running by looking at the CPU fan speed in your hardware monitor software, just be sure to disable any automatic CPU fan throttling otherwise the pump will not have enough power to pump the water through the system and cause stability problems.

 

 

Here we see the fill/aux reservoir tank. This is connected with hoses to the water pump. This will allow you to fill the pump externally as well as keep an axillary supply of coolant in case any should eventually evaporate as well as when the water bubbles work their way out, you won't have to fill the pump up again.

 

- Water Block

 

 

This is where the Bigwater shines, its compatibility with the CPU platforms. Thermaltake uses a copper water block that uses its patented "H" mounting brackets. This bracket allows you to install the water block on either Pentium 4 in LGA775 or 478 or AMD platform in Socket A or Socket 754/939. So if you change platforms, you can still use this cooling setup without needing to buy any additional bracket mounting systems.

 

To make the unit more attractive, Thermaltake has put a blue LED in the water block, however, a black light LED would be better as this kit is supposed to be UV reactive.

 

- The Extra bits

 

 

Thermaltake doesn't include a huge amount of extras, as there is little left over. Thermaltake provides its own coolant that is UV reactive, prevents rust and fungal build-up in the water. This coolant is all you will need, as the Bigwater doesn't need much water at all to operate.

 

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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