Thermaltake Bigwater 760 Pro Review

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Thermaltake are a company who need no introduction, founded in 1999 they have been evolving their brand over the past decade and beyond.  With multiple brands including their latest Tt eSPORTS brand focusing on gaming peripherals such as keyboards, mice and headsets which they recently flooded the gaming market with.  LUXA2 is another to name and focus on the more refined tech user with items such as stylish phone cases, carry bags and laptop coolers.

Thermaltake make an array of popular gaming cases and CPU coolers but I have something different today.  There are many AIO (All-In-One) CPU water coolers on the market but how many allow you to tube up, fill and even change parts to make it more personal?  Well I have the answer here.

Today under the spotlight is the Thermaltake Bigwater 760 Pro Water Cooler.

Lets take a look at the coolers specifications.

 

2U Bay Drives Dimension : 252.8mm(L) x 145.8mm(W) x 84mm(H)Weight : 1.5kg
Application CPU : AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2Intel LGA 2011/1366/1155/1156/1150/775
Water Block Material : CopperDimension : Ø 45mm x 35mm(H)Connector : For 9.5mm ID (3/8”) tubingWeight : 156 (g)
Pump Dimensions : 75(L) x 70(W) x 75(H) mmBearing : Ceramic bearingMaximum Capacity : 500 L/ hrRated Voltage : DC 12VInput current : 600 mAConnector : 3 pinNoise : 16 dBALife time : 80,000 hr (MTBF)
Radiator Dimensions : 144.3(L) x 120(W) x 33(H) mmMaterial : AluminiumConnector : For 9.5mm ID (3/8”) tubing
Fan Fan Dimension : 120(L) x 120(w) x 25(H) mmFan Speed : 1600~2400 RPMRated Voltage : 12VNoise : 29.4 ~39.9dBLife Expectancy : 30,000 hrConnector : 3pin
Liquid Tank Dimensions : 79.9 (L) x 67.8(W) x 76.4(H) mmCapacity : 270 c.c
Tube Dimensions : 9.5mm ID(3/8”) tubeMaterial : Green UV
Coolant Capacity : 500 c.cMajor Material Ingredient : Propylene Glycol

Now lets take a look at the packaging.

On the front of the box, which is quite large compared to normal CPU coolers, we have a nice, clear and crisp illustration of the Bigwater 760 Pro.  The main colour is black, with the Thermaltake logo in its traditional orange.

Flip the box round and on the rear you have a more detailed list of the Bigwater 760 Pros features.  There are also a couple of illustrations including the main working parts such as the pump, radiator & fan, and a picture of the unit installed into a case.

The packaging overall is very attractive and in my opinion, very eye catching which in a retail environment would attract attention.

Bundled with the Bigwater 760 Pro is a plethora of different parts needed to get the unit working.  Here we have the fluid which is a UV green colour; we also have a fill bottle which is a fantastic addition.  This allows you to fill the reservoir up easily and greatly reduces the risk of spillage.  As you can imagine there is nothing worse than a puddle of water all over your expensive components!  The other important piece of the puzzle is the operating manual which gives you illustrations on how to install the Bigwater 760 Pro inside your system.

Here we have the main show piece of the unit, the actual CPU water block and the mounts.  This is what carries the heat from the CPU, through the fluid into the radiator, where the air from the fan cools the fins which in turn, lowers the overall temperature.  The block itself is very shiny and reflects light very well.  If you are a fan of LED fans inside your case you can put money on the light reflecting off the block.

Lets have a closer look at the unit itself and the CPU block.

From a slightly askew angle, we can see the main unit of the Bigwater 760 Pro, which consists of the pump, reservoir, and 120mm radiator in complete housing.  This is extremely useful especially in cases that have no radiator mounting space.  The unit itself takes up 2 x 5.25” drive bays and fits snuggly when mounted with the included screws.

 

Face on you can see the viewing window for the fluid. The Bigwater 760 Pro also has a dial for increasing or decreasing the speed of the radiator fan.  On the top there is also the fill port which is positioned perfectly for filling;  simply pull out, fill, push back and screw back into the case.

 

With the block there are the two different types of mount;  AMD and Intel.  We have support for AMD FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2 and Intel LGA 2011/1366/1155/1156/1150/775. The Intel bracket comes pre-installed on the Bigwater 760, but if you do have an AMD system this is very easy to change and there are clear instructions how to do so inside the manual.

  • CPU – Intel i7 3770k
  • Motherboard – ASUS Z77 Sabertooth
  • Graphics – MSI 3GB 7950 Twin Frozr III Boost Edition
  • Memory – 16GB (4x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaw-Z 2400MHz CAS10 DDR3
  • Case – CM Storm Stryker
  • Power Supply – Enermax Platimax 850w Platinum

Installing the Bigwater 760 Pro was a relatively painless process, everything is done step by step and is well documented in the instruction manual.  The main unit which includes the pump, reservoir and radiator are all together out of the box so no assembly is required here.

After pushing the main unit through my drive bays, you can see a better shot of the rear of the radiator.  In view is the 120cm blue LED fan which cools the radiator.  Notice the black rubber plugs covering the fittings.  This is an ingenious idea which stops dirt and contamination from entering the loop prior to fitting etc.  These plugs are also featured on the CPU water block itself.

After installing the main unit into the case (same way you install an optical drive as the screws match up to the regular mounting holes), it’s time to install the 2nd major component of the loop, the CPU water block.  The block itself is very easy to install.  On the block itself make sure you have the correct mounting plate installed.  It comes pre-installed with the Intel mounts attached but the AMD mount is included in the box.

At the rear it’s very easy to tell which way the mount goes, with Intel it has 3 guide holes over the socket where it fits.  Simply push the 4 long screws through the mounting holes (through the mount) then attach the 4 double nuts which screw on to secure the mount to the rear of the motherboard.  Depending on your case you can do this either with the motherboard installed in the case or if you have insufficient room behind the back plate, you will need to install it outside of the case.  Finish off by screwing the four remaining locking nuts in place.

 

The Bigwater 760 Pro comes with plenty of tubing for a simple rig, no matter what size case you have there will be enough tubing for the job.  As we can see here the tubing matches the colour of the fluid, the tubing itself is also UV reactive.  To cut the tubing I am using a tool for cutting the tubing (not included) but if you have a careful hand you can use a sharp knife or scissors.

Now it’s time to start tubing up the water cooler, first I decided to start with the radiator, which is directly connected into the reservoir and pump.  The fittings, which come pre-attached are of the barbed variety.  They affix into place with clamps which are included, simply cut the tubing to measure ensuring you have enough to reach the CPU block, then carefully cut the tubing ensuring there are no snags or cuts into the tubing at a vertical angle.

Next simply slide the clamp over one end, hold the grips together to release the pressure until you reach the barb then let go.  If you try pulling on the tubing gently you will notice it’s secure (if you have installed it correctly).

The same method applies to the CPU block and the other section of tubing.  Once you are done just lightly tug (not to hard or you risk damaging your components) to ensure the tubing is secure.

Next on the agenda is filling the reservoir.  Included is a filler bottle which holds 250ml of fluid at a time.  This is a fantastic addition and will greatly reduce the risk of spillage.  Simply pour the fluid into the filler bottle up to the top line and then simply screw the lid back on.  You might have to fill the bottle up twice depending on how much tubing there is, but small amounts at a time works best to ensure you don’t waste any fluid.

Now it’s time to take the plug off the top of the reservoir.  The best way to install it is to fit the tubing without screwing the main unit in place to allow you to bring it out slightly for filling.  Once the plug is out, you can start filling.  Note there is a max fill line, I recommend filling to this point and then waiting until you are ready to switch your system on to add more to avoid the risk of overflowing.

The thing to remember about water cooling of any variety, is when you’re ready to switch on for the first time, make sure you have plenty of paper towels at the ready to catch any leaks that might occur.  I generally recommend leak testing or around 2 hours but usually if its not leaked within the first 30 minutes then you will generally be fine.  Make sure to place the paper towels over the components where the fittings are over.

Now you are ready to switch your system on, upon switching the system on the reservoir starts to drain.  This is normal as the fluid is going round the block.  At this point remember to fill the reservoir up to the max line to ensure optimal performance and noise levels as air bubbles going through the loop can cause a lot of noise and that is not the aim!

Here is the finished article.

Time to prepare our tests.

To put the cooler through its paces I used 3 different CPU settings; stock which runs at 3.5GHz, overclocked at 4.5GHz and overclocked at 5.0GHz.  The variation of the overclocks gives you an idea of how much the temperatures fluctuate between the different settings.

To stress the CPU, I used Prime95.  What this does is load all the cores and threads to 100%, so in this case 4 cores & 8 threads.  This is what gives us the temperature results.  To monitor the temperatures I used CoreTemp.

Here are the individual screenshots of CPU-Z to show the settings of each overclock used.

STOCK

4.5GHz

5.0GHz

 

 

Now lets see how the Thermaltake Bigwater 760 Pro performed under our tests.

To test the thermal performance and to showcase the difference in air and water cooling, I used the stock Intel heatsink.  I also performed a variety of overclocks in which I ran Prime95 to measure the given temperatures on both the Bigwater 760 Pro and the Intel stock heatsink.

To give a fair comparison I used the same thermal paste which is Thermaltake’s stock thermal paste which came with the Bigwater 760 Pro itself.  I split the testing into 3 main stages which included stock settings and two different overclocks.

Here are the results:

As we can see from the results, there is a massive difference in both idle and load temperatures.  With the stock cooler we thought it fair to only run the stock settings as the cooler itself is not designed to sustain overclocks of any kind!

When we came to the first overclock, the Bigwater 760 Pro performed like its namesake, it handled the overclock with ease.  One main issue is that for the price, there are plenty of coolers that are cheaper which perform very similar at these overclocks.

For the 5GHz test, which is probably the max overclock I would advise trying, I certainly wouldn’t run that on any form of air cooler, I came across what I would consider to be the unit’s bottleneck.  At idle the cooler performed well, but obviously at this kind of overclock, I can’t see there being many times where the CPU would remain in its idle state.  Cue the Prime95 load testing and as we ran it the temperatures soared into the 90c region which in my eyes is a fail.  Some people might be wondering why, but to put it simply, I wouldn’t run any CPU at 80c 24/7, let alone 90c and obviously with the hotter temperatures comes increased noise as the fan struggles to keep up with the cooling.

Now to summarise my thoughts and feelings on the Thermaltake Bigwater 760 Pro.

Well I have had the pleasure of getting to grips with Thermaltake’s rendition of the AIO CPU cooler, but how did it do overall?

Well first I need to start off by saying that during our tests, 5GHz is custom water loop territory and it still performed very well.  The 4.5GHz overclock was the sweet spot, nice mid temps with low idles, coupled in with quiet operation (until we challenged it with 5GHz of course), I couldn’t really fault the Bigwater 760 Pro on performance.  Sure there are many coolers, water and air alike that can provide these temperatures but this cooler is so much more than a regular water cooler.  It also doesn’t help that Ivybridge CPUs run hot and if this would have been on Sandybridge then 5GHz would have been easy in my opinion.

The main benefits and features come in the way the cooler itself is designed.  By incorporating the radiator, reservoir and pump into one unit, it is perfect for those with less than adequate space for radiators, or even those who have tall heatsinks on their RAM.  The other striking feature is the ability to be able to tube the loop up to exactly how you want it.  This is good from an aesthetical point of view, and with the ability to use your own fluid, not to take anything away from the bundled fluid as it matches the UV green of the tubing perfectly, but those who wish to do so can.

In terms of noise, the fan itself at full speed can be very loud.  With a moderate overclock you can keep the harmonious balance between noise and temperature.  During the tests we had the fan set to the minimum on the dial to give you an idea of how the cooler performs.  The unit is connected and powered via a 3 pin connector, which I plugged straight into one of the headers on my ASUS Z77 Sabertooth.  General noise was low but it was noticeable so in my opinion, it could come with a better fan but that is just my opinion.

Finally when it came to the actual performance, in my opinion the cooler performed better than I had expected.  Factor in the radiator and the fan are enclosed in the front of the case as opposed to having the radiator mounted elsewhere for better airflow, enclosed it performed brilliantly with a moderate overclock of 4.5GHz.  Obviously it failed to cope with 5GHz but I have to give credit where credit is due.

My main niggles with the cooler stem from the price really, there is so much competition and priced at a whopping £140, it would take a really good reason to buy this cooler.  Obviously you’re paying for the customizability of the cooler but performance wise, a lot of coolers cheaper will be on par if not slightly better overall.  Also the bright blue LED fan that comes with the radiator might not be to everyone’s taste but I quite liked it!

If you’re looking for a great looking cooler, that performs well and comes with added features such as customizing the aesthetics and you’re not put off by the hefty price tag, then you’re onto a winner with the Thermaltake Bigwater 760 Pro.  Due to the superb design and features I have proudly giving the Bigwater 760 Pro our awards for performance and design, well done Thermaltake!

 

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value
4.2

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