Thermaltake Water 2.0 pro

11/14/2012 5:52:52 PM

Thermaltake aims to bring CPU water-cooling to the masses

Water-cooling is an expensive business, and mostly belongs in the realm of overclocking enthusiasts. However, in the last few years there's been a surge in the availability of all-in-one single loop CPU water-cooling kits, largely thanks to the OEM manufacturers Cool IT and Asetek, which license their products out to hardware companies. Currently priced at over $145.5, Thermaltake's Water 2.0 Pro (made by Asetek) is still far cheaper than an equivalent custom water-cooling loop, but also significantly more expensive than similar products such as Corsair's H80, which retails at around $121.

Description: Thermaltake Water 2.0 pro
Thermaltake Water 2.0 pro

The Pro features a full-size single radiator, with a high fin density that lends it a very large surface area for cooling. Two 120mm fans attach to this radiator in a push/pull configuration and are designed to be mounted in your case's rear 120mm mount as exhaust fans. As it only uses a single 120mm mount, most ATX cases should be able to comfortably house the cooler. The radiator is connected via rubber tubes to the pump, which sits directly on top of the copper baseplate that makes contact with your CPU.

Whichever socket you're using, mounting the pump onto the CPU is a relatively straightforward task. Plastic clips hold the screws and the mounting bracket itself in place very firmly if you're lucky enough to be using an Intel LGA2011 board, the mounting bracket then simply screws straight into the motherboard. With other Intel sockets and AMD ones, a back plate needs to be attached first via sticky pads, which are also very secure. For extra ease of use, the baseplate comes pre-applied with thermal paste, saving you a potentially messy job.

Description: Thermaltake Water 2.0 pro

With its hefty price, it's rather stingy of Thermaltake not to have included a manual fan controller. It's a feature found in most of the Pro's lower-priced competitors, enabling users to strike an appropriate balance between cooling and noise levels. Instead, this job has been delegated to the motherboard, as the two fans bundled with the Pro are PWM-capable, so they speed up only when needed (i.e. when the CPU is placed under heavy load). Noise levels from the Pro do become noticeably loud when the system is stressed, but less so than the Corsair's H80 and H100 coolers at full speed.

The Pro's cooling performance is frankly excellent regardless of what socket it's installed on. It can even tame a toasty LGA2011 setup, featuring a heavily overclocked Core i7 Extreme Edition CPU placed under full load in Prime95. It easily matches the cooling abilities of the Corsair H80 and the Corsair H100 when they're running at full speed. Although both of these coolers are cheaper than the Pro, the H80 runs louder and H100 is much bigger thanks to its dual radiator.

With a lower price, the Pro would be a excellent addition to the cooling setup of anyone interested in CPU overclocking. As it stands, however, other all-in-one coolers can do as good a job as the Pro for less money and also come with fan controllers. Nonetheless, the Pro's performance is fantastic, especially given its size.

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