Battle of the Water Cooling Kits

Thermaltake Big Water 745

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.

Thermaltake Packaging Thermaltake Packaging

Thermaltake Packaging Thermaltake Packaging

The back of the box gives a fair bit of information as to what is included in the kit, with some basic specifications of the pump and other components.

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.

Thermaltake Kit

The first thing that stands out with the Bigwater 745 is that the package includes both a dual 120mm and a single 120mm radiator, both of which can be used at the same time in your water loop for improved performance. At this point I would like to say that we will only be using the dual 120mm rad in our testing in order to obtain fair results against the other kits in this review.

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.
- Manual

Big Water 745 Manual Big Water 745 Manual

The included manual from Thermaltake is quite possibly the best of the bunch. Every part of the install procedure is documented with full colour pictures. Thermaltake also include tips and answers to common questions throughout the manual, which will definitely be of great assistance for people new to water-cooling.

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.

Big Water 745 Block Big Water 745 Block

Big Water Block Big Water Accessories

At just at a quick glance I could see that the Big Water 745 water block is a low restriction, high flow block. Water enters the block and is forced to pass through a zigzag maze before exiting the block. This block layout has been tried and tested in the past, and normally offers mediocre performance. It is also worth noting that the block has a blue LED inserted into the Acrylic, which can be connected to your motherboard's fan header.

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.

Big Water Tubing Big Water Coolant

As mentioned earlier, Thermaltake have provided a large container of coolant for filling your water loop. This is a nice touch as it means you don't have to go to the trouble of finding a retail outlet that dells de-ionised water.

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.

Big Water 745 Pump Big Water 745 Pump

Big Water 745 Pump Big Water 745 Pump

Not the best looking of pumps in the world it has to be said. The Thermaltake pump connects directly to a molex, but also includes a speed monitoring wire, so you can keep an eye on how fast the pump motor is turning at. Another disappointing issue with the pump is its lack of mounting hardware. Thermaltake do not appear to have included any screws or sticky pads to affix the pump to your case.

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.

Big Water Radiator Big Water Radiator

Big Water Radiator Big Water Radiator

Both radiators use Thermaltake's trademark orange and black fans. What I found most strange was that Thermaltake have quoted the fan on the single 120mm radiator as being 93.7cfm, whereas the fans install on the dual 120mm radiator as being a maximum of 54.4cfm. Whether these are indeed two different models of fan is yet to be seen, but we'll find out for sure during the testing.

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.

Big Water 745 Radiator

A slight problem I noticed on the dual 120mm radiator was that one of the barbs was overly bent. I'm not quite sure if this is a manufacturing fault, or something that has happened during the packing/transit of the Big Water, but as you can see from above, it has caused the piping to kink slightly, which will probably reduce the flow rate.
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Most Recent Comments

26-06-2006, 09:55:03

well done mate, time well spent! awesome review

(as you can tell by the time stamp im still in the middle of reading it)Quote

26-06-2006, 10:11:16

Nice review mate. I read it before posting Quote

26-06-2006, 10:17:56

lol, cheers guys.Quote

26-06-2006, 12:37:05

Awesome review man, I really enjoyed it. Some of those kit's really kicked butt!


26-06-2006, 13:47:12

must say the thermaltake didnt manage well.

45celsius at load is higher than i get on air :/Quote

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