Silent Cooling Performance

Testing the Thermaltake Water 3.0 kits at their quietest reveals not just how important having a good fan control solution can really be, but also how important it is to pick good fans for your kit. The two 120mm kits do an absolutely horrible job of keeping noise down; they offer strong thermal performance, but the fans are extremely noisy in the process.

Load Temperatures (Lowest Noise)

You can see for thermal performance they're near the top of the list, beating all of the air coolers. The problem is that, as you can see below, the air coolers are nowhere near as loud. Noctua's excellent NH-U14S is able to produce performance only 4C warmer at a staggering 14dB lower.

Idle Noise Levels (Lowest Noise)

Load Noise Levels (Lowest Noise)

Balance is the name of the game, and our stress test forces the fans to eventually run full tilt. Only the Water 3.0 Extreme and its "Silent" fan control setting is able to keep the noise down. On balance, it looks like the best deal for quiet performance short of the Swiftech H220 or NZXT Kraken X60.

While I'm not a fan of absolute performance and prefer a more balanced approach to thermals and noise, I know my esteemed colleague, the good Dr. Ian Cutress will just run his cooling systems to the hilt to eke out as much performance as possible.

Load Temperatures (Maximum Performance)

Under those circumstances, the Water 3.0 Extreme comes out looking a lot better. Of the closed loop coolers, it really continues to be between the NZXT Kraken X60 (280mm), Swiftech H220 (240mm), and Water 3.0 Extreme (240mm) for giving the widest latitude of performance and acoustics.

Idle Noise Levels (Maximum Performance)

Load Noise Levels (Maximum Performance)

You'll pay dearly for that performance in terms of acoustics, but the 40.5dB of the Water 3.0 Extreme is still nowhere near as nasty as the 120mm Water 3.0 kits get.

Primary Test Results Conclusions: Narrowing Down the Competition
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  • Wixman666 - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    FIRST! OMG! Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Do you feel like your existence has somehow been validated by this tremendous feat? Reply
  • Jorgisven - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Please don't validate him with a response. Meanwhile, I'm wondering on product availability. Anyone able to find this or a release date? Reply
  • nocturna351 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    SECOND! OMG! Reply
  • cindywu - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    the h80/100 pumps flow .5gpm
    looks like i'll start a custom loop using my h100 as base and slowly work my way up to replacing everything. thanks for doing the research and work finding flow rates and how well the smaller pump supplies a real 240 rad.
    my plans: buy a rez, next a real rad, then get the block n pump. it'll take longer and cost more than going custom straight off but i'll still have a modded h100 when im done.

    again, thanks for the work. http://goo.gl/9tsYx
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Why? Reply
  • nilfisktun - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Im very happy with my H100i, but i replaced the fans with 2x noctua 120mm pwn fans, and it helped alot. MUCH lower noise, and my idle and load temp dropped 3-4 C´s ontop of that.
    Ofc it adds some expense, but i couldnt live with the noisy crap fans Corsair sold with the H100i.
    Reply
  • pintycar - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Second paragraph, first line read: you're dealing with a traditional 120mm radiator in the Water 3.0 Pro, you get a double-thick 120mm radiator with the Water 3.0 Pro, and then you go back to standard thickness and double-length with the 240mm radiator in the Water 3.0 Extreme

    when it should read:

    you're dealing with a traditional 120mm radiator in the Water 3.0 Performer, you get a double-thick 120mm radiator with the Water 3.0 Pro, and then you go back to standard thickness and double-length with the 240mm radiator in the Water 3.0 Extreme
    Reply
  • rms - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    The H220 looks better with every review, no wonder it's often oos Reply
  • EJ257 - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Has anyone try to mod one of these to use a huge (like 55 gal. drum) tank of water instead of a radiator and fan? I'm not saying it's practical but it would be cool to see it done. That would be a huge heatsink. Reply

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