Battle of the Water Cooling Kits
Published: 19th June 2006 | Source: Alphacool | Price: |Packaging & Manual
Thermaltake have always been big on flashy but functional packaging and the Big Water 745 is no exception. Being one of the most bulky boxes in the review, Thermaltake have gone to the trouble of including a plastic handle for easier transportation.
Credit has to be given to Thermaltake for the way in which everything is securely enclosed in moulded styrofoam inserts. I can confidently say that this kit could take quite a bit of rough handling by a courier before any damage would come to it.
Another thing that stands out from the rest of the kits in this review is the use of UV reactive tubing and coolant. This is a nice touch, and something that I had expected of Thermaltake considering most of their other products are aimed at the case modding scene.
Included in the box are the following items:
- Copper & Acrylic Water Block with Blue LED.
- Support for AMD K8, LGA775 and BTX motherboards.
- Thermaltake pump (400L/hr).
- Thermalte reservoir (350cc).
- Thermaltake 2x120mm radiator.
- Thermaltake 1x120mm radiator.
- Coolant (500cc)
- Green UV Tubing (3/8")
- Fan speed controller PCI bracket
- PCI Bracket for leading tubing outside of case.
Water Block & Accessories
Having never personally heard much about Thermaltake water blocks, I was interested to find out the kind of design they employ. The Big Water 745 is different to blocks used in many of their other water-cooling solutions, so maybe this is a high performance block used only on their top-end kits.
When inspecting the top of the block I noticed that a muddy residue had been left behind from when the block was manufactured. It shouldn't cause any problems for the kit when in use, but Thermaltake do need to take more care with the cleaning up process.
The bottom of the block is also a bit of a disappointment, having the worst finish out of all the kits in this test. The block has visible machine marks, scratches and is covered in small speckles, which I was unable to remove with alcohol based cleaner.
The accessories kit includes everything required to install the water block on the following platforms:
- AMD K8 (A64, Opteron, 939)
- Intel LGA 775
- Intel BTX
Also included in the accessories kit is a fan speed controller, a PCI bracket which allows for tubing to be routed outside of the case and two feet for standing the dual 120mm radiator outside of the case.
The included 3/8" tubing is UV reactive and glows very well under a UV cathode. A large amount of tubing has been included, which should be more than enough even for the tallest of PC cases. Thermaltake haven't included any official figures to the actual length of the tubing included with every kit.
Pump & Reservoir
In a similar manner to Alphacool, Thermaltake have opted to integrate their reservoir with the pump. This has many advantages, including that the pump will never be starved of water as the pump inlet is directly connected to the reservoir. A big disadvantage is that you cannot place the reservoir elsewhere if space inside your case is tight.
The following information has been taken from Thermaltake's website:
- Dimensions: 75(L) X 70(W) X 75(H) mm
- Bearing: Ceramic bearing
- Maximum Capacity: 400 L/ hr
- Rated Voltage: DC 12V
- Noise: 16 dBA
- Life time: 70000 hr (MTBF)
The reservoir isn't the best looking of items either. I'm really not sure why Thermaltake decided to go for a brown smoked reservoir, as a clear one (so that you can show off some UV dye) would have been much better.
Most worrying of all, was the fact that the reservoir (containing up to 350cc of water), is in no way fixed to the pump. All that prevents water from leaking out between the pump and reservoir are two o-rings that slide over the pumps inlet. This could cause major problems when transporting your water-cooled case anywhere, as the reservoir is free to slide off the pump, and dump all of the water inside the case!
Radiator & Fans
What makes the Big Water such a 'big' kit is its use of two radiators. Normally a triple radiator or two separate radiators would only be used when there is a serious amount of heat to remove (from graphics cards, northbridge, mosfets..etc). Under almost all circumstances a dual radiator should be enough to remove the heat from a processor, which leaves me confused as to why Thermaltake have included two radiators.
The radiators are actually quite small, and should pose no more of a problem to install than the other radiators in this review. The exact dimensions are as follows: 272 x 120 x 35mm (LxWxD) for the dual radiator, and: 166 x 122 x 35mm (LxWxD) for the single radiator.