Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate Reviewred454 -
Category: CPU Cooling
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Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate Introduction:
Since its founding in 1999, Thermaltake have been setting the bar high with its cutting edge line of cases, power supplies, coolers, and gaming accessories. Remember when Thermaltake rewrote the book on case design when the Level 10 case series came out? How about when the Bigwater cooling systems were released? Clearly, Thermaltake have been a trailblazer with new technology and out-of-the-box designs. Today, there are many manufacturers who compete in the AIO (All-In-One) liquid cooler market. Thermaltake is a bit different in that it has both a full line of DIY liquid cooling system supplies (Pacific series) and a line of AIO coolers in addition to its popular air coolers. The Bigwater series of coolers is a compact system that lives within the confines of your dual 5.25" drive bays and in 2012, Thermaltake released the Water 2.0 series of AIO coolers and the Water 3.0 series is a follow up to that.
In the natural progression of improvements, the Water 3.0 offers a new / more efficient pump and coldplate design, along with a new fan design for better performance while producing less noise. The Water 2.0 series consisted of the Pro, Performer, and Extreme. The Water 3.0 series has grown to include the Pro, Performer, Performer C (China only), Extreme, Extreme S, and finally the massive triple-fan Ultimate.
While the standard bread and butter 120mm and 140mm AIO coolers have the ability to fit most of today's entry-level and mainstream cases, manufacturers have been gradually incorporating support for larger 240mm and 280mm radiators into mid and full tower cases. But support for 360mm radiators is typically reserved for large, high-end (and often expensive) cases. Fortunately, my Phanteks Enthoo Primo test case is up to the task. So let's take a look at the Water 3.0 Ultimate.
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate Closer Look:
On the front panel there is a nice shot of the entire cooler with three fans, tubes, and pump against a blue background that suggests the surface of a calm body of water. At the upper left is the familiar Thermaltake "COOL all YOUR LIFE" logo and toward the lower right we have a brief list of some features including universal socket compatibility and a note that the 360mm radiator doubles the cooling surface.
The bottom panel is set in an all black background with five feature photos and a much more comprehensive list of features such as a copper base plate, low profile pump, pre-filled coolant, low evaporation tubing, triple 120mm fans, and universal socket compatibility. There is also a performance graph comparing the Water 3.0 Ultimate to an Intel Box (OEM) cooler. No surprise that the Water 3.0 Ultimate is the winner! Finally there is a picture at the upper right showing the Ultimate installed in a case. On the rear panel is the same black background with a list of specifications in twelve languages.
Everything is packed away and well-protected in the formed fiber container. You can clearly see the long edge of the radiator and the tubes that wind around to the pump - with the tubes and pump protected in clear plastic. The three fans are nested in their own pockets, which keeps them from rattling around during handling and shipment. The packaging seems to have done the job, as everything looks to be in perfect condition.
Opening the main hardware bag, you will find all the mounting hardware you need for the installation, including: the AMD and Intel base plates and notched base ring mounts for Intel and AMD installations; locking ring and mounting screws. Socket coverage includes Intel LGA 2011/1366/1155/1156/1150/1150 and AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2. Notice that there is no tube of thermal paste - it comes from the factory pre-applied to the coldplate. A very important piece is the three-way splitter for delivering power to the fans.
The instruction set is printed on the front of two separate sheets - one for an AMD installation, and one for an Intel installation. The illustrations are very clear and easy to follow.