The progression from air to water as the primary method of cooling your PC’s CPU seems to have been 'on the horizon” for a lifetime, but despite a shaky start there’s no doubt there are more people than ever before giving it a try.
One of the major benefits of the increasing acceptability of water cooling, apart from lowering prices, is that the additional research and development makes for better quality and generally more reliable components. Pumps, reservoirs, radiators and water blocks tend now to be designed and built to be used alongside each other. This means they often use the same connectors throughout, and these connectors are specifically matched to the type and the diameter of tubing that is to be used. The result is a far more integrated cooling circuit that’s generally more robust than trying to piece together a system using parts that are not necessarily well suited to each other, such as an aquarium pump from here with a car heater radiator from there.
There are plenty of water cooling kits to choose from at the moment, at a broad spectrum of prices. Generally, I tend to prefer the external units such as Corsair’s Hydrocool and Koolance’s Exos when it comes to simplicity and ease of maintenance, particularly for the less experienced user. They also have the added benefit of being suitable for use with smaller cases, something not always possible with internal systems.
Today I want to take a look at an entry/intermediate level internal water cooling kit from Thermaltake, a company that’s far better known for its air cooling products and case range than for its liquid cooling know-how.
Christened the Bigwater SE, this compact water cooling setup aims to provide a simple and stylish solution for users of all experience levels.
Packaged in a relatively large box with a window cut-out, the kit comes nestled snugly in-between a pair of expanded foam trays. With one exception, the kit provides everything you’ll need to install and run the kit on any Intel LGA 775, Socket 478, AMD K8 or AMD K7 system. What Thermaltake neglected to include though, is a funnel, an error all the less forgivable due to the very narrow filler on the reservoir.