All-in-one CPU liquid coolers have become pretty standard these days. They look great in nearly any build, they are quiet compared to other cooling solutions, and they also offer solid performance. Having been around for a while, there's not too much room left for improvement or innovation in the design though. Thermaltake's new Water 3.0 Riing RGB Liquid Cooler promises great cooling performance while staying quiet. It also features RGB fans to match your build. Let's see how it performs!
The Water 3.0 is compatible with a wide range of sockets and is mountable on virtually any platform. Although not listed on the box’s tech specs, it also supports AM4 with an additional included mounting bracket. The graph on the back of the box can be a bit misleading since the scale jumps at the beginning and is zoomed in near the top. We'll go more into performance later in the review though.
The fans come with RGB lighting but it is only adjustable through the controller device. This means you are stuck with a few preset effects. In terms of specific details for the unit, it measures 313mm x 139mm x 27mm and weighs in at 1.18Kg. Be sure to check compatibility with your case before purchasing but it should be fine in most situations. The braided tubes are 326mm long and I didn't have any problem reaching the CPU from a top or front mounting configuration. And of course we can’t forget about the most important part. The kit also includes two 140mm static pressure optimized RGB fans with specialized connectors.
Inside the box we find the two fans, the rather large controller, mounting instructions, the cooler itself, standard Intel and AMD mounting hardware, and finally an additional AM4 mounting kit. The waterblock itself is made from copper while the radiator is made from aluminum. Mixed metals aren't typically used in custom loops but they are pretty much standard in All-In-Ones. I wouldn't be too worried about it though. The included instructions are very straightforward which is a nice thing to see. Each piece of hardware is clearly labeled and defined in the document.
Next up are the included fans and controller. The fans are very nice quality with rubber on the edges for vibration dampening. They have a matte black finish with a clear ring through the center that transfers the RGB LEDs' light. Take note that they are terminated in a non standard 5-pin plug. The fans plug in to the controller device which determines the speed profile and the LED color. There are ports for up to 4 of the Thermaltake RGB fans and the controller is powered from a single 4-pin fan header. If you decide not to use the controller, you can plug the 5-pin plug into one of your motherboard's 4-pin ports, although you obviously won't have the RGB functionality. Maybe Thermaltake could make an adapter cable to allow this system to interact with other standard RGB headers as well.
On the front of the controller you'll find the three function buttons and an indicator LED. The LED shows which speed setting is enabled. Red means the fans are in a low noise mode and will operate from 400-1000 RPM while blue is normal speed at 800-1500 RPM. The actual speed is still controlled from the 4-pin header but this gives an easy way to change between high performance and soft acoustics. The other two buttons control the fan LED settings. The play/pause button, like the name implies, starts and stops the RGB color shift cycle. If you don't like any of the preset color options, you can let the cycle run through the 256 options and then stop it at whichever one you like. Finally, the mode button selects between solid colors and the color shifting. Unlike other RGB solutions, Thermaltake’s implementation illuminates all of the lights at once and doesn’t allow for individually addressable LEDs.
Here is the main unit. There's nothing really special about it as the design has been pretty standard for a long time now. It's interesting that the fins are significantly thinner than the rest of the radiator but I'm sure there was a design reason for that. The tubing and fittings are non-replaceable like nearly all AIOs. Besides that, there's not much to be said about the design since it has become so standardized.
The pump and waterblock are quite thin and attach using a twisting mechanism. The design is dominated by a large Thermaltake Water 3.0 logo in the center. The pump terminates in a single 3-pin fan header and is very quiet like most other pumps. You likely won't hear it run until the speeds passes 75% or so. Another thing I really like is the tubing itself. The braiding around them is top notch and looks really nice. I much prefer it to standard black tubing since the sleeving gives off a high quality feel.
Here is the whole unit fully assembled and ready for installation into a case. The mounting mechanism seemed a bit over-complex, but it wasn't anything crazy. You start by selecting either the Intel or AMD kit since the dimensions are different between the two. I used an Intel board but the procedure is the same regardless. The first step of assembly is to secure the 8 tiny plastic pieces onto the top retention bracket. They fit together intricately and must be oriented in the proper direction or else the system won't go together and you'll have a difficult time taking it apart to fix. Once you have that done with the two pieces installed in each corner, you can push the 4 bolts in to the top bracket. Next up, hold the back plate in place behind the motherboard and lightly screw in the four bolts from the front. Depending on your socket, you may have to adjust the positioning of the bolts but that is very easy to do. Stop screwing them in at about 1/3 of the way to lock the waterblock into place. Its grooves fit in between the mounting bracket's ones and then with a slight turn, it stays in place. After that, you can finish tightening and you're done!
I'm pleased with how the Water 3.0 installation turned out. The tubing was long enough to reach without being too bulky. It also was easy to bend and never formed any kinks either. The pump is low profile enough that it doesn't obstruct any other components. The Water 3.0 comes with pre-applied thermal paste which means you don't have to mess with under or over applying it yourself. Just as the name implies, the RGB fans have a ring of color on the outside. Personally I like Corsair's inward facing LEDs and light-transmitting fan blades a bit better, but the Water 3.0 still looks pretty darn good all lit up.
You've made it this far, now it's finally time for some performance tests. I ran at three different fan speeds: 50%, 75%, and 100%. The cooler was nearly silent at 50%, audible but not obnoxious at 75%, and sounded like a jet ready for takeoff at 100%. I would keep your fan curve at around 40% during idle and then bring it up to a max of 80%. The other coolers tested were the stock Intel cooler, a beefy air cooler, Thermaltake's previous generation Water 2.0 cooler, and Swiftech's H240-X. The 280mm Swiftech unit uses full custom water cooling gear and I would consider it the top of the line in terms of All-In-One liquid cooling. All of the other units were ran at 50% fan speed.
As you can see, the Water 3.0 performs very well. It's within a degree or two of the competition which I would call margin of error. Sustained load temperatures of below 60 degrees on a Core-i5 overclocked to 4GHz is good to see. I tested the Water 2.0 a few years back and since then, temperatures have improved by a few degrees. Like I said at the beginning of this review, there's not much room left for innovation in this market so performance numbers won't change much between competitors. A few degrees here or there won't matter a lot and I wouldn't use that solely as your purchasing decision.
To wrap this review up, there's nothing really wrong with the Water 3.0 Riing RGB from Thermaltake. It's a fine cooler, looks great in nearly any case, and has of course made it on the RGB bandwaggon. At $150, it's about $20-30 more expensive than a non-RGB liquid cooler of the same size. It's not a bad deal though when you add up the cost of including two additional RGB fans though. The Water 3.0 Riing is also available without the RGB for $120 and each RGB fan sells separately for $25. EVGA does have a similar 280mm RGB liquid cooler for $10 cheaper though, so you might want to take that one into consideration as well when making your purchasing decision. Although it’s expensive, it would be hard to go wrong with this product if you wanted an RGB liquid CPU cooler.
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(UK) Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB High Static Pressure Fans 240 AIO Water Cooling System CPU Cooler