Thermaltake Symphony MiniFormer staff writer - May 6, 2007
Category: CPU Cooling
Price: $179.99 USD
I have been overclocking my CPUs for as long as I can remember and the only time I ever tried water cooling was when I tried to make my own CPU block out of a hunk of copper at work. I did all the cross-drilling and tapping to make ports for the water to go in, circulate, and exit. The pump I bought separately and the radiator was confiscated from a trash bin. The idea here is to let the water absorb the heat from your CPU and have the heat expelled from the water as it is circulated through a radiator that is cooled by fans. It worked, but not as I expected, hence, it's sitting in a closet somewhere. This unit I received to review, if compared to what I made, is like comparing a Porsche to a Vega. It is very sexy looking, and well made. The item I received to review is an external CPU water cooling setup from Thermaltake. Its construction and quality is something you would come to expect from a company as well known as Thermaltake.
Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd. started its core business based on its extensive knowledge of PC thermal management during the era where the area of performance CPU cooling was only exclusive to "overclockers" or PC enthusiasts.
With the company's core business of CPU cooling still growing at a vast rate, Thermaltake made another grand entry to the PC chassis industry. To date, Thermaltake has always been considered as the pioneering company that revolutionized the PC chassis industry with the Xaser series enclosures. The typical and traditional beige and plastic front panel design was outdone by the Xaser series chassis's atypical gaming red and aluminum front panel. It was also the first enclosure available to the public with a Hardcano unit which provided users full control over computer's thermal management system.
In the year 2002, Thermaltake announced the Purepower line of power supply units for the ever-growing power-hungry PCs. Purepower series PSUs quickly gained recognition with its extensive warranty and high-reliability guaranty.
Today, Thermaltake has grown into a world-class company with state-of-the-art testing and R&D facility based in Taiwan along with 60+ engineers and ID team covering each application segment such as Liquid Cooling, Air Cooling, PC Enclosure and Power Supply for main-stream users, high-end solutions, system integrators and industrial applications; thus achieves Thermaltake's company motto, "COOL ALL YOUR LIFE " !
When I arrived home from work and saw this large box sitting on my porch, I could not figure what it could be since it was so large. Then I saw the Thermaltake name and I was even more baffled. The shape of the box could not be one of their cases, and I was pretty sure there weren’t any CPU coolers that big. The only way I was going to find out was to open the box. Inside the shipping box was the retail box with the actual product inside that.
Oh, nice, it looks like I was wrong. Thermaltake does make a CPU cooler that was large enough to take up a box so large. It is not your typical CPU cooler though; this particular cooler is an external, free standing water cooling unit. Let’s get this out of the box to see exactly what we have here.>/p>
As you can see, it is securely packaged to prevent the product from moving around during shipment and from rough handling. The foam packaging at the base serves another purpose in that it encases the water block itself along with extra fluid for filling the system, a filler bottle and a small box containing an assortment of brackets, screws, and clamps. The reason for all the assorted brackets is because this system is made to be adaptable for a variety of configurations, such as socket 775, K8, K7 and socket 478 motherboards. It even includes the brackets for use in a BTX system. The manual included is easy to understand and is very helpful. The main unit itself is very stylish looking and is actually intended to look like a home theater speaker so it will blend well in a family room environment.
You should be aware that the fluid used to fill the system is composed of Ethylene Glycol, a dangerous substance is not handled and used properly.
The water block itself is made of pure copper for increased heat dissipation and has the Thermaltake logo molded into it. The included PCI slot bracket has two holes in it for connecting the hoses and a power jack connected to it with a lead that connects to your 12 volt rail on your power supply to power the twin pumps. That’s right; this cooler has two pumps working in parallel to keep the fluid flowing through the loop. It is a self contained system other than the water block that mounts onto your CPU. You can remove the back cover by taking out four screws that hold it in place. This allows you to see the working parts of the system. This reservoir is already filled when received and will need to be filled further after the system is started up for the first time. This is due to the fact that the hoses and the water block are empty to when shipped and will drain the reservoir a little as they fill when the system is first started. When the fluid returns to the tower from the PC after it passes through the water block, it should be warm from drawing the heat. In the tower, the fluid passes through a large aluminum radiator with three 120 mm fans which blow at 1400 RPM to dissipate the heat.
Something you should be on the lookout for in a water cooling system is good flow of your cooling fluid. In this particular case, after I opened the back of the unit, I right away spotted a pinched line. The only way for me to access this further to correct it, I had to disassemble the bottom of the unit and gain access into the depths of the system. It turned out, there were two hoses that I had to change the routing of because they were crossed, and making the one that was pinched, too short. The other hose that crossed it also was slightly restricted by too sharp of a bend. I fixed that by using one of the extra included clamps. I just slid the clamp up the length of hose to where it was kinked and left it there, so the clamp reshaped the hose to its original dimension.