Primary Test Results

These cooling roundups produce a tremendous amount of raw data, so it pays to look at the results in specific context. The three Thermaltake Water 3.0 coolers can be used to get a general idea of how Asetek's more traditional CLCs perform as well, and their maximum cooling capacity can be ascertained when we take a look at the absolute performance results later on.

Initially we'll look at what I consider the most "balanced" results for each cooler we've tested so far; these results find the optimal balance between cooling performance and acoustics. Unfortunately, because the two 120mm Water 3.0 units use the motherboard's PWM control, fan speed gets ramped up under load and you'll see they become two of the loudest kits we've tested.

Load Temperatures (Balanced)

First, thermals. It may seem unusual that the Water 3.0 Extreme's 240mm radiator takes last place behind its siblings, but when you look at the noise levels it produces as a result of its more sophisticated fan control, you'll see why. The results overall are essentially competitive, though; between the CoolIT-based Corsair H80i and H100i and the Asetek-based Thermaltakes you'd be hard-pressed to find too much of a difference in overall thermal performance, or at least performance potential. We can narrow that down by looking at the CLC results specifically.

Load Temperatures (CLC)

Cull the bottom three "quiet" results from Corsair and NZXT and you essentially look at only a roughly seven degree delta between the least powerful and most powerful closed loop coolers. In fact, going from a 240mm to a 280mm Asetek doesn't seem to yield much of a performance advantage. When we bring noise into the equation, though, the results separate a bit.

Idle Noise Levels (CLC)

Load Noise Levels (CLC)

Load noise on the 120mm Water 3.0 entrants is frankly pretty nasty. The 240mm Water 3.0 Extreme on its Silent setting acquits itself reasonably well, but its performance is near the bottom of the pack. To me, this is where the closed loop coolers in general lose some of their appeal. Swiftech's H220 does a stellar job with its copper radiator and powerful pump, and it's really the odd man out due to its comparatively low load noise.

Testing Methodology Silent Cooling Performance and Absolute Performance
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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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