Hey there everyone, I am a big fan of custom water loops and have been building them for some years now, although for the first time I am being asked to go in ‘hard’. Thermaltake entered the watercooling arena a few years ago adding to their expansive portfolio of PC components and peripherals, cases to power supplies, chairs to keyboards.
Thermaltake have sent me the C240 DDC Hard Tube Liquid Cooling Kit, typically such loops are purchased in parts rather than kit form and this aims to simplify the buying process by including a set of parts that are compatible yet flexible enough to suit a multitude of builds.
Thermaltake C240 DDC Hard Tube Liquid Cooling Kit Specifications & Features
|Dimension||520 (L) x 200 (W) x 232 (H)|
|Compatibility||Intel LGA 2066/2011/1366/1156/1155/1151/1150/775
|Components Dimension||Pump & Reservoir: 86.54 (L) x 62 (W) x 140.1 (H) mm
Copper Radiator : 29.5 (H) x 119 (W) x 279 (L) mm
|Tube Dimension||OD : 16mm , ID : 12mm|
|Fan Spec||PWM 500~1500 RPM ,
( ARGB Controller or 5V MB ARGB Sync )
|Coolant||T1000 Coolant Pure Clear|
|Kit Contents||CPU Water Block
– Pacific W4 ARGB CPU Water Block x1Pump/Reservoir
– Pacific PR15-DDC Pump/Reservoir Combo x1Copper Radiator
– Pacific C240 Radiator 29.5 (H) x 119 (W) x 279 (L) mm x1ARGB Fan
– Pure 12 ARGB Sync Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition x2
– ARGB LED ControllerFittings
– Pacific C-Pro G14 PETG 16mm OD Compression – Black x6
– Pacific G1/4 90 Degree Adapter – Black x2Coolant
– Thermaltake T1000 Coolant Pure Clear x1Tube
– V-Tubler PETG Tube 16mm OD 500mm x 8Accessory
– Intel and AMD Universal Backplated & Mounting Kit
– 24pin ATX Bridge Tool x1
– Thermaltake Thermal Grease x1
– Silicone insert x1
Thermaltake C240 DDC Hard Tube Liquid Cooling Kit Closer Look
Arriving in a very sturdy box the C240 DDC kit has a great image of the contents on the front which is very helpful as I will explain a little later. The DDC part of the name stands for the DDC type pump which is attached at the bottom of the reservoir. The picture only shows four tubes however there are eight included.
The back of the box includes more detail, including acknowledging the eight pieces of tubing. A handy diagram is included as an example loop to give you an idea of what this kit is capable of. So we have tubing, fittings for a CPU only loop (6), two angled connectors, an RGB CPU Block, DDC Pump with integrated reservoir, two RGB fans, a 240mm radiator, a 1L bottle of clear fluid, a power supply jump start block and a piece of silicone tube bending insert material.
Here we have the contents laid out and I am quite impressed with the packaging, there is always going to be a fair amount of plastic to protect parts and the polystyrene blocks are modular for different radiator sizes and fan packaging. Alongside previously mentioned parts are a warranty guide, an instruction manual and lots of fittings, also crucially a squeezy filling bottle with a long nozzle, this will come in very handy.
Now let’s see what is NOT included in the kit, which will be quite necessary for a successful build. The heatgun for bending tubing I grabbed for around £25, I went a little higher on price as it has an adjustable temperature dial making it tweakable for optimum bending. To the left a tool I didn’t need to use in the end, it’s my trusty tube cutter which was going to be used if the pipe cutter didn’t work. Finally in the packaging a tube reaming too, this is for chamfering and de-burring for a nice finish on the ends of the tubing. It would be very difficult to accomplish the tubing build without this kit. In addition as with any watercooling build you will want to ensure you have the following: Old towels, paper towels, a spare power supply if possible, some washing up liquid for the bending silicone, a tape measure, a few litres of distilled water and if at all possible a second pair of hands to assist. I did luckily have a few friends who were very intrigued and wanted to be present to witness the build.
Here is the rig I am going to use for testing the hard tubing experience, Milky Milky was a fun project assembled inside an Aerocool Quartz Pro case, so lots of room to work.
I always feel it is essential to build in a draining line on a loop, the milky fluid is from XSPC and has held up very well for opaque and has been in around a year.
With the old loop disassembled and out of the way it was time to start measuring up where the various components could live within the system. I decided the radiator would live at the top as with the old loop so that was easy enough, the CPU block could of course only go one place so it was down to where the pump/reservoir would live. There are no permanent mounts for the Thermaltake DDC in this case so I opted to use the fan/radiator mounting bracket although as you can see there was no way it would mount over the 120mm spaced points on the inside of the front panel. Now some manufacturers sell brackets separately to allow this but I had to improvise in this instance.
I always have some mending plates in, as many previous watercooing endeavours have resulted in some creative mounting solutions being required. The end holes on the mending plate are 120mm so they fit to fan brackets or radiators very well, I drilled some holes to mount the reservoir bracket, this involved another tool i.e. the Drill and a 6mm metal drill bit.
It would be nice to see a couple of flat plates added to the kit to allow for solutions such as this. The reservoir does look really good however DDC pumps tend to create some heat and I don’t see a heatsink on this one.
The 16mm Fittings supplied by Thermaltake are actually very good looking indeed they also feel high quality, here is a quick fitting test prior to giving the components a rinse through with distilled water. The radiator did have some left over flux which came out with rinsing, it is important to do this to any watercooling part however as manufacturing can often leave something behind that you don’t want whizzing into your pump.
The pump and reservoir fits quite comfortably with the modded plate, I used the included cushion at the bottom to reduce vibration as that could bring unwanted noise to the system. Lining the pump outlet up with the motherboard for a straight line to the CPU block meant installing the pump/res at a little bit of a jaunty angle. This is normally much easier with pliable soft tubing. One possible future solution would be to put more bends in the tubing, although as this was my first ever hard tubing build I wanted to keep things simple.
Before measuring and bending tubes the CPU block was loose mounted to allow for accuracy. It does indeed look very smart.
So after viewing one or two videos and articles on tube bending I was ready (with some assistance) to get cracking. Preparing the silicone insert by applying a small amount of washing up liquid to ease removal once the bend was complete. Then it’s a process of holding and rotating the tube over the heat for bending. A neat feature of this heat gun is that it can stand on its back without being held in position. Be aware the nozzle gets very hot indeed, use caution.
Being very careful not to allow the tubing to get too hot it will become pliable after some time, always bend slowly and carefully to avoid distortions or breakages.
Once the bend is complete it’s time to measure and cut the tube to fit flush with the fittings at both ends, it turned out a bend took up around 6cm of tubing for a 90 degree angle, the cutting tool is quite cheap and available from most hardware stores and will cut most types of plastic or metal tubing.
Using the reaming tool, de-burr and chamfer both the inner and outer edge of the tubing for a smooth level connection. Please don’t mind the blood the radiator bit me.
After a thorough rinse to ensure all residue including washing up liquid is removed from the tube it is fitted into place and the fitting tightened down by hand.
A few tube bends later and the Thermaltake C240 DDC loop is complete and looking rather sharp. Time to get paper towels over sensitive components ready for filling. This will ensure a mop up of any leaks during the filling process to allow for fittings to be re-done.
After connecting the power cable to my spare power supply but left powered off as the pump must never be run dry, the handy squeezy bottle was used to fill the reservoir. In previous loops is have left connectivity for tubing and funnels for faster filling, but this works just as well. Intermittently when the reservoir is near the top, a quick power on and off of the pump (around 3 seconds) pulls liquid into the system, once a steady flow begins to pour in from the radiator exit pipe the pump can be left running while the reservoir is filled to the desired level. It is advisable to aim to have enough fluid in the reservoir to prevent any air getting into the pump.
With the loop filled it’s leak testing time, it is generally recommended to leave a loop running for around 24 hours to ensure no leaks occur, in fact the instructions with the kit recommend running the loop outside the case, however in the past I have found this difficult to balance for long periods. Being my impatient self I left it for a couple of hours while I cleaned up and had a bite to eat and seeing everything dry I was happy enough to let the assembly be finished and monitor it over the coming days. Keeping some paper towel handy of course. One thing to note is that the pump is running at full power here as it is only connected via a molex connector, there is a voltage control cable which will be hooked up to a motherboard fan connector to reduce the veracity of the fluid so it’s less frothy, PWM pumps are usually best for this or even pumps with a dial for speed settings.
Here we have the build completed and running, I must admit the hard tubing does look very smart but removes some of the convenience of soft tubing for system maintenance. I am keen to expand the loop to include my waterblocked GPU and a drainage channel. Maybe even a clever way to lift out the whole loop for maintenance.
The Thermaltake C240 DDC Hard Tube Liquid Cooling Kit Review: The Verdict
So here we have a hard tube loop in kit form with the majority of items needed for building a loop but not everything. The components supplied are plenty to build a loop in a pretty large case, enough tubing to make a couple of mistakes too which is important when starting out and learning the craft. Cooling performance from this kit is as expected, pure excellence, it is easily on a par with my soft tubing loops which outperform air cooling and AIO loops by a significant margin.
- Custom loop cooling performance.
- Pre-Picked parts for compatibility with a variety of systems.
- Fittings are very high quality.
- Doesn’t include everything you need to build.
- DDC Pump has no heatsink.
- Very expensive compared to other kits.
Having friends around to help really made the build day a fun event, the materials provided are of a sound quality and a decent looking loop was pretty easy to create. The documentation is a little simple and could be fleshed out more with techniques for measuring and bending tubes. I would have liked to see more mounting materials for the pump and reservoir and definitely a heatsink on the DDC pump. The RGB components work very well although much of the cabling can be a little tricky to tidy up, longer fan splitter cables would have helped. PWM on the fans is a very big plus, missing this on the pump is a little disappointing, in fact controlling the pump speed is pretty difficult so this does mean some pump noise is unavoidable.
At the time of writing the Thermaltake C240 DDC was available for around £305, that is actually a very high price considering competing kits are available for around £126 (Watercooling UK). Not forgetting the extra outlay for a heat gun, tube cutter and deburring/chamfering tool. At least you get quality fittings and great RGB to play with after you’ve finished building, so with all things considered it gives me pleasure to grant our Bronze Award. Remember a custom loop will almost always outperform any AIO or Air cooling setup.
Thanks to Thermaltake for sending a sample of the C240 DDC Hard Tube Liquid Cooling Kit in for review. It was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to review a proper custom loop. More information available directly from Thermaltake here.