Water-cooling for computers is nothing new. Some of the earliest vacuum tube based computers utilized water and extensive plumbing to remove the enormous amount of heat these behemoths generated. With the advent of solid-state technology, heat became more easily managed. Heatsinks and/or fans became the industry standard for cooling CPUs and the evolution of the heatsink/fan combo has produced some very efficient coolers that can tame the hottest processors. Some of these air coolers can be quite loud, however, and may not be up to the task when the processor is overclocked. When done correctly, water-cooling can reduce both temperature and noise in a computer system. Not that long ago, water-cooling enthusiasts had to rely on modified aquarium pumps and salvaged automotive heater cores attached to home-made waterblocks to cool their machines. Not surprisingly, a few manufacturers stepped into the breach with specifically engineered pumps, radiators and waterblocks. This made water-cooling more accessible to the consumer, but choosing components was still a bit of a chore for the novice, as the available information was spotty and sometimes conflicting. To make matters worse, the expense of the components put trial-and-error experimentation out of reach for many would-be waterheads. Recently, several manufacturers have developed and marketed “turn-key” systems with everything you need to water-cool your machine in one package. These kits can be roughly divided into two groups.
In a higher-end kit one would likely find a large radiator (or two), fans, a CPU waterblock (possibly GPU and chipset blocks as well), a high volume-high pressure pump, large diameter tubing, a fluid reservoir and coolant. These kits can easily cost several hundred dollars and require case modifications to work properly. At the other end of the spectrum are what I'll call entry level kits, targeting the novice, they are usually a somewhat bare bones approach to water-cooling, supplying the consumer with fewer, and less expensive, components. Some time ago, Thermaltake entered this market with a complete system they called Bigwater. Recently, Thermaltake introduced their next generation successor to the Bigwater liquid cooling system. Dubbed the Bigwater SE (I assume this means Second Edition), Thermaltake has added/subtracted/changed some components but the fan, radiator and CPU waterblock remain unchanged from the original Bigwater system. Available online for as little as 105USD, the Bigwater SE is even more affordable than its predecessor. I'm going to install this kit in my Kandalf case, which is designed with the Bigwater kit in mind, but the kit should be easily installed in most any case with a 120mm fan opening and a free 5.25-inch front bay.
THERMALTAKE CORPORATE PROFILE
Thermaltake Incorporation, based in Taipei, Taiwan is the global leader Thermal Solution and Thermal Management for PC & Industrial Market. Its Engineering Staffs masters in Airflow Analysis, Material Conductivity and Heat Dissipation Efficiency. Thermaltake offers a wide range of products and services, providing effective and cost-conscious cooling devices. The Company has more than 1,000 employees worldwide supporting customers from its headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, as well as from offices in China, Europe and United States Continent.