Thermaltake Bigwater SE Review - Thermaltake Bigwater SE Review


Installation is relatively straightforward provided you have a suitable location, either internally or externally, for the radiator and fan assembly. You may need to remove your motherboard though, in order to attach the water block retention bracket.

The pump can be mounted using the supplied screws or alternatively with the self-adhesive Velcro pad, also supplied.

Mounting the radiator and fan assembly on the outside of the case requires using the supplied expansion slot blanking plate which has two cut-outs for the feed and return water pipes and a smaller cut-out for the power feed to the fan to pass through. The fan controller sits in any available expansion slot location.

The water pipes had a higher tendency to kink than most I’ve worked with in the past so exercise a little caution and if necessary increase the radius of your bends slightly.

With no ATX power bypass lead supplied to verify circulation of the water before powering up your PC for real, the manual instead suggests you simply switch on your PC. This is fine if the water does make its way around the circuit but slightly less fine if it doesn’t. Also, this method means the motherboard is live straight away so if there are any leaks and a jet of water squirts onto it, then there’s a fair chance you’ll ruin it.

Personally I always use a small wire or paper clip to bypass the motherboard on the ATX power connector and thoroughly check the installation first and I urge Thermaltake, and others, to supply one of the inexpensive, purpose-made adaptors than can safely perform the same bypass trick.

In the manual, Thermaltake suggests you lay the pump assembly on its back to purge it of air when power on for the first time, though I found the pump primed for me just fine without doing this.

After a couple of hours of monitoring to confirm the system was completely free from leaks, which it was, it was time to evaluate overall performance. Cooling efficiency was very good for a product in this class, though it naturally trailed some of the more expensive multiple-radiator systems.

Noise levels were also fairly restrained, even with the fan running at full tilt, though this will vary depending on whether you mount the radiator and fan internally or externally.

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