by Rob Williams on September 10, 2012 in Cooling
Want to take your CPU cooling to the next level and adopt a self-contained liquid cooler? The market at the moment is packed with such offerings, and Thermaltake just padded it further with its WATER2.0 series. Available in three flavors, we’re taking a look at the Performer and Pro variants here to see if they deserve to be in your rig.
This CPU cooler review isn’t like most of our others, where we have many other coolers to compare to. Instead, this is more of a one-off article. It’s with regret that I don’t have other coolers to compare to; I had wanted to compare to the Corsair H70 already equipped in our GPU test rig, but the results I saw were not reasonable, so I didn’t feel comfortable posting them here.
That said, when I built this machine for our GPU testing, I had tested out Intel’s RTS2011LC self-contained cooler, also developed by Asetek, to see if it’d be suitable for use in the machine. At stock, the CPU reached 69°C during the same stress (I didn’t test it overclocked). Bear that in mind as we check out the performance of Thermaltake’s coolers.
But first, a quick look at our test PC:
||Graphics Card Test System
||Intel Core i7-3960X – Six-Core, 3.30GHz, Default Voltage
||GIGABYTE G1. Assassin 2 (X79)
||Corsair Dominator GT 4x4GB – DDR3-2133
||AMD Radeon HD 7850 1GB
||On-Board Creative X-Fi Audio
||Kingston HyperX 240GB Solid-State Drive
||Corsair Obsidian 700D Full-Tower
||Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer Self-Contained Liquid Cooler
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro Self-Contained Liquid Cooler
||Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
To test these coolers, I waited for the room to get as close to a 70.0°F ambient temperature as possible, then boot up the machine and started AIDA64 immediately. After about five minutes of sitting idle, I then used the program’s built-in stress-test and allowed it to run for 15 minutes. AIDA’s stress-tester is one of the most comprehensive out there, so we feel confident using it for our cooler testing.
To say that I’m impressed with the performance of the Performer would be an understatement. At stock speeds, it managed to keep this beefy six-core CPU under the 60°C mark during a stress, and with the CPU kicked up to 4.4GHz, it peaked at 72°C – a completely safe temperature. Compared to the Intel cooler I tested before, which is quite similar in design, there was just no comparison.
The Pro, on the other hand, didn’t impress at all – at least in comparison. It managed to shave a couple of extra degrees – 3°C at best – but costs about 50% more. I am going to bet that most people wouldn’t find that too compelling.
I must say – I am very impressed with the WATER2.0 Performer. To keep a six-core under 60°C during a stress is quite impressive. I am currently using a Corsair H60 in my personal rig, and I regularly see 80°C temperatures from the Core i7-990X. While that CPU does run hotter to begin with, the differences in efficiency here is staggering.
In terms of noise, neither the Performer or Pro are particularly loud at full load. They’re clearly audible, but not to an annoying extent, and compared to a stressed GPU, the noise from them is actually pretty modest. I run seven fans in my main rig, so the noise of the benchmarking PC with these coolers was a breath of fresh air.
If you’re worried about a complicated installation with coolers like these, don’t be. If you take a minute to analyze the diagrams in the manual, you’ll be set. From start to finish, swapping out one cooler and installing one of these WATER2.0s took about 15 minutes.
Overall, I highly recommend the Performer, because it does live up to its name. Overclocked to 4.4GHz, our six-core never went above 72°C, which is rather impressive. This cooler regularly sells for about $60, but if you are not adverse to taking advantage of mail-in rebates, you can score it for under $50 – which quite honestly, is a steal. Especially for the fact that it includes not one, but two competent fans.
The Pro on the other hand simply didn’t separate itself enough from the Performer to warrant its 50% higher pricetag. We’re talking a difference of 2°C at idle, and 3°s during an overclocked stress. Thinking I must have had the cooler installed wrong, I happened to notice that Thermaltake’s own numbers back me up (scroll to the bottom).
While the Pro leaves a lot to be desired, the Performer is excellent for its current price and amazing if you take advantage of a mail-in rebate.
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer Liquid CPU Cooler
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