Author: Derrick Ubbink
Tt Water2.0 Extreme Overview
Like all markets, computer cooling solutions certainly follow trends. Right now the closed loop cooler is probably the hottest item. They make possible for the timid and uninitiated what many consider to be the only adequate form of continuous thermal dissipation: water cooling.
Water cooling functions fundamentally the same as an engine’s cooling system. A water pump circulates a liquid through channels, tubes, and blocks; all the while taking on a great deal of heat (water has a much greater amount of potential heat saturation than air) as it passes through. The liquid is then passed through a radiator, typically made of copper or another metal with a low thermal resistance, which is another series of channels. It’s in the radiator that heat is dissipated into thin fins of metal over which air is blown to remove the heat from the system once and for all. This part is much the same as air cooling, that is passing cool air over hot metal to remove heat.
So you ask, “Why not don’t we all just set up a custom water cooling loop then?” Unfortunately also like a car engine the gear selection and setup is very important to how well the loop will perform. The water cooling market contains hundreds of choices and the process of simply choosing your gear is difficult unless you do a lot of homework. On top of that assembling the loop itself can be difficult and often requires modifications to be made to your case or chassis. Putting the loop together yourself makes you both the installer and quality controller. Any leaks or other issues are your problem to deal with.
And that brings us back to this hot item, the closed loop cooler. These systems are essentially the best of both worlds. They are exactly the same cooling setup as described above. Water is moved over a copper heat sink located in the base of the pump, through the tubing and into the 240mm radiator where the heat is dissipated. The advantage here is that there is no set up on your part to screw up. The loop is “closed” meaning that all you do is stick it in and turn it on. The liquid is already in the system and will never need to replaced. These clever units give you the benefits of water cooling without the risk.
When it comes to water cooling the biggest factor in how well your loop performs is how much surface area you have to remove heat. This means that the bigger and or more radiators you have, the greater your potential to keep your CPU cool.
And with the Water2.0 Extreme, there is a quite a bit of radiator surface area. Over the past year the biggest trend in these closed loops has been to move from a 120mm to a 240mm radiator. This is measured by the fans that will fit on them. So, 1 x 120mm fan = 120mm rad. Thus 2 x 120mm fan = 240mm. And I must say that this 240mm radiator in particular is very nice. It has a high quality build and clean finish. It’s a little thicker than the average rad which equates to more surface area to pass heat through. However, it’s not too thick or large to make installation difficult. One thing to consider with a thicker rad is the type of fan used. With a thicker rad you actually want a slower speed fan that has good static pressure (a measurement of how well a fan can push or pull air against a resistance). Hopefully Tt considered this when selecting the fans for this radiator as it can make a big difference.
The pump and heatsink are housed in the same circular unit that mounts over the CPU. The one used here is streamlined and has a nice low profile. To tubing attaches to the side as is usual for these units, one is an inlet the other is the outlet. The mounting mechanism is also standard with a little twist that I will explain about more in the installation section. Attached next to the tubing, is set of 4 wires. One plugs into an open USB header on the motherboard. Another is a standard fan plug to be plugged into the CPU_Fan header on the motherboard. The last two are PWM fan plugs. This is quite a lot of wires for one of these coolers, but as you’ll see it all makes sense once installed.
One last thing worth noting is a nice large copper base that comes with thermal grease factory applied and is covered with a protective piece of plastic.