Thermaltake ProWater 880i ReviewZertz - March 26, 2009
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Thermaltake intends to bring water cooling to more people with their accessible and flagship ProWater series. The 880i is the latest there is and with support for all the latest processors and it's well armed to claim the throne. All you need to get started is waiting for you in a single package, including the radiator, pump, reservoir and the processor cooling block. They also bundle everything you need to easily get the kit installed, and then some. There's plenty of tubing, enough for at least two or maybe three full setups if you take care not to waste any. Even after the kit is built, every little thing from clamps to screws to anti kink coils have leftovers, which can always be handy at some point in time. The supplied liquid is good for about 1 and 3/4 fills provides the protection required to keep a clean loop flowing for several months - up to twelve according to the manual, after which they recommend to replace it.
To a lot of people, the idea of cooling a computer ranges from silly to downright dangerous and Thermaltake seems to be aware and has taken the steps to make it as safe and simple as possible. The manual is clear and does a good job at keeping you on track with the installation. Mounting the blocks also wasn't the best experience ever, although the final product is much better than push pins. It's not as easy to get a good, solid and, most importantly, flat mount than what we have seen from other manufacturers. On the other side, mounting the radiator, pump and reservoir was a total pleasure. Having all three in a single assembly makes it infinitely easier for us and even saves some tubing. People with smaller cases, often forced to air cooling, will certainly appreciate this compact and space efficient kit. Equipped with those tools, only the custom planning, measuring and cutting water cooling brings is in your hands.
Water cooling kits are reputable for their under-performing cooling abilities, but the ProWater 880i proves otherwise. Thermaltake uses their own parts of seemingly good quality, beside the water blocks, which could definitely use some more work. Both came with scratches and one had some sort of sticky stuff on the base. At least they were flat, which is pretty much the only thing a good cleaning or thermal paste can't fix. However, the pump was quiet - silent would be more appropriate, actually. The radiator did a good job since it was able to beat or, at the very least, keep up with a custom Swiftech loop.
Once all the bubbles have made their way out, all I could hear were the other fans in my system, thanks to the potentiometer adjustable fan speeds on the radiator. At the minimum, you really can't hear them, but once you get to roughly 70% and up, the noise quickly becomes very distinguishable, although not nearly annoying as small video card fans. Fortunately, the kit keeps the performance at very good levels while keeping noise under control.
Prejudices aside, Thermaltake, with their new flagship ProWater 880i, was able to deliver a very capable water cooling kit. Not only is it a perfect kit for beginners, but performance also is quite impressive. I wholeheartedly recommend this kit for anyone looking for great performance all in a single, compact and easy to install package. All it needs for success is competitive pricing, which has yet to be determined.
- All in one package
- Plenty of accessories
- Radiator mounting
- Cooling blocks surface
- Processor mounting