Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme LCS

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Product: Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme Liquid Cooling System
Provided By: Thermaltake
Price: $129.99 MSRP (Find Lowest Price Online)

Introduction:

Hot on the heels of our reviews of both the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro and Water 2.0 Performer kits, we have a look at the Big Daddy - the Water 2.0 Extreme.  This kit is the beefy father - or maybe more like the hired muscle.  While it has a pump that looks very similar, it comes with a USB connection and some software for monitoring fans, liquid temperatures and overall performance.  This kit features a dual-radiator that is big enough to put two 120mm fans on one side and it supports all current and last-generation CPUs.  In this review we'll cover the features and specifications of the unit, but we'll skimp a bit on some of the installation and such as it is identical in this regard to the Water 2.0 Pro and Water 2.0 Performer.

Water 2.0 Extreme Box 
Water 2.0 Extreme Box

First Impressions:

I had some heads-up that this kit was coming so I made sure that I was able to keep my testing system exactly the same as with the previous coolers that we've reviewed.  The box is pretty much the same size as the other single-fan-rad coolers and this is nice as it's not super bulky. 

First Look at Radiator 
First Look at Radiator

 

The Radiator comes pre-drilled with spots for 120mm fans on both sides.  You do have the ability to mount four fans on this unit if you wanted to place fans on both sides.  For our review, we will be only using the supplied fans - as we have with the other Water 2.0 kits.  This way we can see how the stock performance of this kit compares.  I have no doubt that if you wanted better performance or lower noise, you can switch up your fans to something different.  That is the beauty of standard size equipment.

Kit
Kit
Dual Rad with Fans
Dual Rad with Fans 

 

The pump and water-block are combined into a single unit and this pretty slim compared to the pumps and water-blocks of yesterday.  Once again, Thermaltake has put this unit on the shelves with a pretty nice finish and comes pre-applied with a TIM (Thermal Interface Material) to make installation super simple.


 

Features:

The information below has been pulled from Thermaltake's site and posted here for your convenience.  If you have any questions or want all of the information, please always check the manufacturer's site.  In the meantime, we've included a handy little bit for you below.

No-maintenance operation
Traditional water cooling solutions require constant upkeep to prevent clogs or performance degradation. Thermaltake WATER2.0 Series of water cooling solutions are self-contained and proven to last.

Super quiet
WATER2.0 water cooling solutions offer the best of both worlds: performance and silent operation thanks to the highly efficient radiator and pump design.

Universal Support
Upgrading or switching between CPU platforms? No problem, WATER2.0 water cooling solutions are designed with universal mounting to support all available AMD and Intel desktop processors.

Smarter cooling
Users should not have to adapt to the tool they are using. Instead, WATER2.0 water cooling solutions all come with PWM-enabled fans so the cooling performance adapts to you. WATER2.0 Extreme also comes with software-based control system that allows the user to fine-tune performance perameters.

Hose ConnectionsTop of the line liquid cooler, Equipped with Power and Performance. No Refills Needed. 

  • High performance Copper base plate accelerates the heat conductivity.
  • High reliability low profile pump provides quick liquid circulation lowering the temperature. 
  • Pre-filled coolant reduces the liquid replenishment hassle.
  • Low evaporation tube decreases the loss of coolant effectively.
  • The high-tech sealed circulation system prevents leaking issue.

240mm Radiator Doubles the Cooling Surface

  • Powerful fan blows the heat of radiator out to the chassis to maximize cooling performance.
  • PWM control function fan spins between 1200~2000rpm, can be adjusted on fan control software.
  • Easy and simple installation methods.
  • Fan control software (included), users can control, monitor and customize according to their desires.

Universal Socket Compatibility

  • Intel: LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155
  • AMD: FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2
Pump Head
 Pump Head
Cables
Cables 

Specifications:

Water Block

Material

Copper

Pump

Motor speed

2800±150 RPM

Rated Voltage

12V

Rated Currentt

220mA

Fan

Dimension

120 x 120 x 25mm

Speed

1200~2000RPM

Noise Level

27.36dBA(Max)

Rated Voltage

12V

Rated Current

0.5A

Max. Air Flow

81.32CFM

Connector

4 Pin

Radiator

Dimension

270 x120 x 38.3mm

Material

Aluminum

Cooling Surface Area 4755 cm2

Tube

Length

326mm

Material

Rubber

Weight

1,150g


Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme Testing:

Test Setup:

For Intel (LGA1336) testing we will be using the Intel Core i7 920 CPU, which produces 130 Watts of heat. This could be considered a mid-range processor, and while most Dual-Core processors produce ~50-80 Watts of heat, this should give you a pretty accurate estimate of what type of temperatures a cooler will provide you with.

For both AMD and Intel testing, we have taken all temperatures using CoreTemp v.0.99.4. CoreTemp takes a temperature from the CPU core, and allows for much more uniform results across different motherboard and CPU Dual Fans platforms. These temperatures may seem higher than other temperature recordings; because chances are they are taking temperature recordings using the diode underneath the CPU, which isn't able to be as accurate, and can really fluctuate between different brands of motherboards.

For all tests we are using the Highspeed PC Top Deck Tech Station , and we are using no additional cooling in our testing. All temperatures are recorded in a controlled environment that is set to 23 degrees Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) to provide fair results between coolers.

For all tests we use Arctic Cooling MX-2 High-Performance Thermal Compound (Paste).  We use the same thermal paste in all our testing so that we can keep our results consistent. If a cooler is shipped with thermal paste pre-applied, it will be removed and we will re-apply it with Arctic Cooling MX-2 to provide fair results.

Intel Test System:

Software Setup:

One thing that really separates the Water 2.0 Extreme from it's smaller siblings is the software that comes with it.  This software gives you the ability to monitor and control pump and fan speed - which in turn affects your liquid temperature - which is also monitored. The software is very simple to setup and use and allows for Extreme (high-speed), Silent (low-speed) and a custom setting where you can change parameters to your liking.

Dashboard 
Dashboard
Graphs 
Graphs
   
Custom 
Custom
Settings 
Settings

Test #1 - Fans on "Silent" Low Speed Setting:

To start things off, we'll give the Water 2.0 Extreme a run with the fans turned down low (~1200 RPM).

Low Speed Performance 

As you can see, running the fans on low speed still provides very good performance of the Water 2.0 Extreme kit.  Let's turn up the fans to the high speed setting and see what happens in the next section.

 

Test #2 - Fans on High Speed Setting:

For this test, we are going to run the fans at their highest speeds (~2000 RPM).

High Speed Performance

In order to get accurate temperatures with a liquid cooling system, you have to wait a lot longer for the coolant to stabilize that you do with a regular heatsink.  It's amazing that the temperature of my Core i7-920 system dropped to a mere 30°C when idle - albeit, it was not quiet.  All of these systems make a fair bit of wind noise at high speed.

Test #3:

The Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro was one of the highest performing kits we've seen on the chart, and the larger dual-fan radiator of the Water 2.0 Extreme we're looking at today makes it stand out.  The MSRP on this kit is just under $130 - making it a fairly expensive cooling system, but as you can see below, it trumps everything we've looked at so far.

Comparison Chart 

Now that we've seen how it compares to the rest of the competition, we'll head on into the final section and provide our final thoughts and give it a final score.


Final Thoughts:

Hot on the heels of our Water 2.0 Pro and Water 2.0 Performer reviews, I got a chance to take a look at the Water 2.0 Extreme.  Once again, the overall kit impresses me in terms of installation, ease of use and overall noise from this kit.  What impresses me even more is the massive radiator and extra cooling performance this brings to the kit.  I'm liquid cooled PCs quite a bit over the years - and even put together a few custom kits, but they always featured a single-fan radiator - not the dual fan of this kit.  The extra performance it brings is worth the extra size - if you have a case that will hold it.

The performance is definitely a setp above the Pro version, and is worth the extra money.  No question about it.

 

In our testing, we used one of the hottest CPUs available and the Water 2.0 Extreme comes out as the best cooler we've tested.  We tested with a couple of fans in the intake side, blowing air through the radiator, but if you wanted maximum performance you could add a couple of fans to the exhaust side as well and have them pull air at the same time.  I'd expect a couple more degrees cooling in this situation.

Just as with all of the Water 2.0 kits, the only concern I have in terms of quality is the retention bits.  While we didn't cover this specifically in this review, we go over this a bit in the full review of the Water 2.0 Pro here. With all that said, the retention mechanism has proved to be reliable as I've been using the same one on all three cooler and have mounted it to a CPU multiple times.   

Installation is simple and swapping between these two kits for the review took less than two minutes - even with my 7 year old son "helping" at the shop.

At the end of the day however, it's pretty easy to call the Water 2.0 Extreme from Thermaltake a winner.  Granted, it isn't cheap, but if you want a kit that can help you squeeze the most from your CPU, the extra radiator cooling area of the Extreme kit is worth the extra money in my opinion. 

Pros:

  • Excellent performance
  • Extreme Liquid Cooling for under $130
  • Quiet performance with PWM fans
  • Software helps monitor and control temperature and noise
  • Easy to setup and use
     

Cons:

  • Large radiator may not fit in most cases
  • Some hardware feels flimsy

BCCRating

Gold

I'd like to thank Thermaltake for sending over the Water 2.0 Extreme for us to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.