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Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate Review

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Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate Testing:

Testing of the Thermaltake Water 3.0 will be accomplished by installing the cooler into the test system case, rather than a test bench. Most systems are built and mounted into a (relatively) sealed chassis, so this method will be used to generate the idle and load results to give a real world view as to the cooling performance one can expect, based on the test system listed below. Of course, your results may vary by several degrees due to case design, case fan placement, and ambient air temperature. The CPU load is generated by Prime 95 version 27.9 for a period of two hours, with a cooldown period of one hour after the computer has returned to an idle state. Real Temp 3.70 is used to log the temperatures with the highest and lowest averages across the four cores of the Core i7 4770K test CPU. Ambient temperatures are kept at 24 °C during the testing to minimize the effect of temperature variations. Each cooler is tested with the manufacturer-supplied thermal compound as delivered.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Coolers:






 

  

 

 

 

Idle temperatures with no overclock come in at 25 °C, which is at the low end. In fact, the lowest I have tested. With a non-overclocked load it jumps to 62 °C, which is right there at the top of the chart - just a couple degrees from the Scythe Mugen Max. I still haven't figured out how the Mugen Max pulled such a low load temp. Regardless, 62 °C is certainly something to be proud of. No thermal concerns here. Now, after we put the overclock in gear, the idle hits 32 °C, which is in the middle of the pack. Now when we crank up the overclock and load the CPU to 4.2GHz, the temps come in at 67 °C, which had me wondering if I missed some settings on the overclock. That can't be right, can it? I checked the BIOS overclock setup and everything was in proper order. 67 °C is five degrees better (cooler) than anything I have tested. The Ultimate simply laughed at that overclock. The bar has been raised, and I'll bet it will be a while before this record is broken or even matched.

Fan noise - well, it is actually not too bad. Of course when you spool up three fans, it comes as no surprise that you can hear them. And you certainly do under a full load, but under normal use they were no louder than the case fans. Add three more for a push / pull configuration, and you can expect to notice them a bit more. But you wouldn't buy a cooler like this to sit quietly in the shadows, would you?

So if it does that well at fairly mild 4.2GHz, I figure that there is probably some room to play a little. After some tweaking I was able to get the 4770K to a stable 4.5GHz on 1.241 volts. And the temps only hit a little over 75 °C. With a different (better) chip, I might be able to squeeze a little more out of it and still be well below the thermal limits. This further proves that the true capability of the Water 3.0 Ultimate is just that - Ultimate! No doubt - this cooler lives up to its name.




  1. Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate: Specifications & Features
  4. Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate: Testing: Setup & Results
  5. Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate: Conclusion
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