Date: September 26th, 2005
Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Thermaltake
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL & SETUP
One of the best improvements Thermaltake has made with the Bigwater SE is the manual. While still a bit small in size, the updated manual is printed on glossy paper and has clear, color photos. Installation instructions are much easier to understand this time around and the glaring omissions of the previous manual have been rectified in the new edition. The first-time user should have no trouble with installation using this manual.
With the improved manual, installation is fairly straightforward. To measure the hose length, the bay tank should be placed in the desired bay, but left far enough out to access the fill port. If you cut the hoses with the tank fully inserted into the case, you won't be able to fill the bay tank without disconnecting the tubes. (Remember, while the pump can be placed anywhere in the case, it must be lower than the tank.)
After the hoses have been cut and dry-fitted, the pump should be primed by filling it with coolant as directed in the instruction manual. With the pump in place, reinstall the hoses and tighten all the fittings. Then check them all again.
A small funnel is a virtual necessity when filling the bay tank. Thermaltake really should supply one with the kit. At any rate, the next step is to fill the tank with coolant and begin the bleeding process. I use my spare PSU to intermittently power the pump without powering up the computer until I'm sure I don't have any leaks. You can do this by powering up the system, but I wouldn't recommend it. Keep adding coolant a little at a time as the air circulates out of the system, finishing up with a coolant level between the indicators on the front of the bay tank. Check for leaks often. Remove the funnel, install the cap, slide the tank into position in the case and secure it.
This installation took 400 of the 500 ml supplied with the kit. This is a significant increase in capacity from the original Bigwater kit. It will be interesting to see if this affects cooling performance. Only about half of the supplied tubing was used but should you need more tubing or coolant, they are available from several online retailers.
The Bigwater SE looks very nice when illuminated with a UV cold cathode or two. The LED in the pump doesn't assert itself as much as I'd like. Its glow can only be seen when viewed from above as the light is blocked by the inlet/outlet connections. As you can see, I have a hose that is just a bit too long, but there are no kinks. More importantly, there are no leaks! If I had it to do over, I would mount the tank higher in the case. (Mr. Bones likes to bask in the UV glow, even though he knows it's not good for his complexion.)
The bay tank doesn't match my silver case, but it doesn't look bad, either. Contrary to my earlier assumption, the bay tank does make some noise. A barely audible “trickling” noise, similar to an indoor water fountain, can be heard when the pump is running. While some would find this objectionable, I find it strangely relaxing.