Thermaltake W3 3

Thermaltake W3 Review

Performance »

The waterblock

Thermaltake’s Aqua brazing waterblocks seem to be space oriented – they consume as little space as possible. Again, similarly to the W2, the base is protected with transparent plastic, to ensure a scratch-free surface for the user. As the name suggests, the blocks have an all-copper construction and are brazed shut. As with just about anything, there are pros and cons to this: no leaks from the waterblock itself, but no changing of barbs directly on the block either. A Tt logo is engraved into the top of the waterblock.

The bottom side of the block is flat and polished to a mirror-like reflection. Faint milling marks can be seen.


My “test rat” today will be a DFI Lanparty nF4 SLI-DR Expert motherboard.

First, I removed the plastic caps covering the barbs, and slid on the tubing provided. The clamps do a good job of holding it. I tugged at the tubing several times and it did not come off. I then screwed in the 3/8” barbs, no Teflon tape was necessary as the barbs come with o-rings.

Thermaltake has again opted for barbs with a very small ID, and then uses “adapters” to allow you to use ¼” and 3/8” tubing. This, other than restricting water flow, also doubles leak possibilities: water might come out at the bottom (barb to hose), at the top (hose to barb), at the thread, or at the top of the barb, where the “system” hose is connected.

Next, I removed the original cooler and cleaned up the thermal paste.

Following the instructions, I installed two screws with one metal and two fibre washers through the motherboard.

I am glad that Thermaltake thought about nForce4 users by including a foam spacer which you mount on the SMD components arount the chipset. This prevents the block from shorting out the circuitry around the chipset. Thermaltake gets both my thumbs-up for this!

I applied a thin layer of Arctic Silver Ceramique on the chipset and installed the block.

Installed, the waterblock takes up very little space, you can mount your video card(s) in both slots (so this block is SLI-friendly).

I would just like to stop at the mounting mechanism, which I find a flimsy. I wish that Thermaltake would rethink the way that their blocks are mounted and include some more sturdy method – first, I would prefer self locking nuts (the ones that have a plastic ring around them to prevent them from loosening) instead of the included stand-off like nuts which loosen rather easily. Next, springs to evenly distribute the pressure would be nice, as I had no idea about how much I should tighten the block, and I was afraid of breaking something.
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