Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate AIO CPU Cooler Review

Bigger is always better and Thermaltake keeps with that thinking with its Water 3.0 AIO (All-In-One) CPU cooler. Thermaltake expands it radiator system to an impressive 360mm's worth of liquid cooling. What is probably most impressive though is it does not have a ton of other generally useless blinky light features.


There are few companies as synonymous with PC cooling as Thermaltake. The company has been around for decades and has produced some of the best CPU coolers during that time. HardOCP has history with Thermaltake and showing off pre-release products all the back to 2002. A couple examples of its ingenuity come in the form of the Jing and the Frio CPU coolers. Sharp eyed readers will notice it has been far too long since we looked at products from this trendsetter and today we aim to correct that oversight.

Like most companies, Thermaltake looks at where the market is headed and tries to get there first. In the event it does't get there first, it’s imperative to be the best or differentiate the product in some meaningful way. With that, today we look at an AIO water cooler from Thermaltake as it attempts to carve a way through the competition and earn your modding and cooling dollars. Since we have had AIO coolers in the market for years Thermaltake is going to have its work cut out for it if it hopes to garner attention.

Today, we give you the Water 3.0 Ultimate from Thermaltake. In what can only be described as extreme, Thermaltake has seen what the market has to offer and scoffed, upping the ante with a massive 360mm radiator water cooling kit. Are you intrigued? We are.

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System Setup

Today's review takes place on our fourth generation [H]ard platform. The test bed consists of the ASUS Z87-Deluxe motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7 4770K.

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Test Methods


The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted its methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.


Once again we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.


Corsair was kind enough to provide us with its Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the paste of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do the job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.


Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.


Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.


Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty minute period for air cooled systems, and thirty minutes for liquid cooled systems, at 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using AIDA64 Extreme Edition v3.00.2500. This places an even greater load on the CPU than before and includes some benefits. Because the load is so extreme we see the temperature vary wildly from 72C to 86C in some instances. To get an accurate reading we will utilize AIDA64’s ability to average the temperature over time. Given twenty/thirty minutes at 100% load we arrive at a temperature that accurately represents our heatsink’s performance.


Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.