The previous version of Thermaltake’s Bigwater received a smackdown from us last year, and though this new kit is significantly improved, it still suffers a fatal flaw.
The biggest change to the kit is the addition of a second radiator. That’s right, the kit sports two radiators—one large, one small. You’ll bolt the small one to the rear of your case, and set up the second double-wide radiator on four little feet outside your case.
It’s an awkward design, and it would make more sense to mount it on top of your case. The Bigwater also lacks the quick-detach plugs we’ve grown to love on external radiators, so moving your PC with the large radiator in tow is a major hassle.
The kit uses a brand-new silent pump that’s extremely easy to attach and fill. It sports 3/8-inch tubing, which is much fatter than the 1/4-inch tubes used in the previous version. The upgraded copper water block features more water channels, and all tubes attach using compression fittings that screw onto the radiator.
The radiator barbs are poorly designed, as they’re screwed onto the radiator inlet/outlet ports instead of being permanently affixed. When you move the radiators or your PC, the tubing twists and unscrews the connectors from their sockets, resulting in leaks. The kit leaked throughout testing, and even leaked as we were setting it up for photography. This issue can be resolved by tightening the nuts with a crescent wrench, but you shouldn’t have to do this to a kit right out of the box.
Installation has gotten much easier, but motherboard removal is still required for all sockets, which is unfortunate. Once you install the included backplate, it’s simply a matter of securing the water block via thumbscrews.
We love the decadence of the Bigwater, but water leakage is a deal-breaker. With solidly mounted (versus screw-in) fittings, it could be a real contender.
Month Reviewed: May 2006
+ RADIATOR: Super cool, very blingy, and easy to install.
- GLADIATOR: Mobo removal required, a second radiator is awkward, and the bloody thing leaks!