As far as the water goes, I'd simply suggest other starter kits. The bigwater IS pretty cheap and will do what you want to do...get into water cooling. What do they go for...$150? Not bad, but for another $50 you can get into larger names like Swiftech.
That's a 120mm kit, and they have a cheaper 80mm kit which would also do you well. Swiftech, makes some really great stuff for cooling and don't ask a whole lot of money for higher-tier cooling methods.
I've advised that DIY put-togethers are fine, but really may be a bit much to just jump into. To do it right, you'll either have to do a moderate amount of studying or just take someone's word on what to get and how to go about doing it. So, consider both fields and remember that the forum is always here if you want to go DIY and need some advise...but the thought of opening a box and have all your stuff right there for the project is just dreamy!
Every DIY I do, I run into snags here and there. I don't mind because this is fun for me to figure out a cure, and in the end works better in most cases. But these snags may come off as heartbreaks and ruin the fun in a project pretty quick to others.
What snags could you run into? I have one pick that points out 3 snags I hit right off the bat this fall. Refer to this pic real quick and I'll point 'em out:
First, I had measured the rear area that holds the stacker's 120mm fan carefully. From specs all over the place, the BlackIce Extreme radiator would fit right in there. I even wrote and bugged distributers for an actual measurement of the product. I got it, and it didn't fit. So...I couldn't push air out like I had planned and had to hang it off the fan as it was designed to be. This changed my entire layout. It put the rad way out over the CPU making the first turn into the block a quick double 90-degree S-turn one. I thought that just wouldn't cut it, but some good Parker Parflex tubing made the bends without kinking. It also wasn't the way I wanted it to look.
This also caused another problem. See the red arrows? That's bad. The TDX uses springs on all 4 corners to keep the block level with the CPU and not applying too much pressure. I couldn't use all four anymore and my jaw dropped when I was doing the final fitting. I had to chop off 2 of the posts and ditch those 2 springs. And to ensure I didn't over-tighten the brass nobs, I had to borrow a special torque wrench socket from my buddy at my last job and follow Intel's whitepapers on the applied pressures (or something like that). Tighten the solid mounts pulls up on the spring side. I had to dance with the thing for a while before it reached a happy spot. THEN took the measurement of the spring side and the torque readings on the solid side, took it apart, and do it again after an external wet-run and then the application of the thermal compound. Ya...it took a while just because that stupid rad was 1/32" too wide.
The pink points to empty fitting holes. It came with DD nylon fittings, but I wanted more, So I tossed 'em. Well, nothing else worked as well as those fittings do as all the brass out there was just too restrictive. I had to re-order those things to get my by until lately I found a local Parker shop that hooked me up with some great highflow fittings (that cost way too damned much). I wouldn't have gone on a 3 month fitting turkey hunt with a kit...or wasn't so picky.
And with all this, I did the orange circle. Fitting and re-fitting abuses your stuff. I dinged the fins on the rad when it fell. That could have turned bad, but it didn't do more than bend over the fins. Just a butt-hair from hitting a cross-tube though. I about cried, but got 'em straight anyway. But I instantly ran and found that grill for the radiator to wear during the rest of the build (I took it off after it was officially up and going).
Moral? Kits are sweet if you don't have patience or want to bother too much about alot of the troubles you can run across in DIY's.
Oh ya...my MOM bought that waterblock for me for Christmas. I have no idea where she knew what to get and what I had, but one of my friends must have been a mole. Either that, or she watched where I was spending money (she's the pres of my bank) and contacted them. Dunno...but it's still a mystery how in the hell that lovely lady knew exactly what I needed! She won't give up the how's and why's...she's more quiet than an NSA agent :p