Thermaltake Tide Water - Water Cooling for your Video Card

Cooling/Water Cooling by jmke @ 2006-05-11

Want to water cool your VGA card easily without spending a fortune? The Tide Water from Thermaltake is a compact unit with plug and play installation. We power up the mini pump and cool our test VGA card to see if it can keep it cool when overclocked, and comparing it to another popular third party heatsink.

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Installation & First Noise Tests

Installation of the water block

The installation of the Tide Water is actually very straight forward an easy, something I wasn’t quite expecting from a water cooling kit. The water block is mounted on the VGA card at two points, before you can put the block into its place you need to place two stand-offs in the appropriate mounting holes.

ATI cards have the wide stand-offs, nVidia the smaller:

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Stand offs installed on broken Geforce 4 Ti 4600


Once that’s done you align those new mounting holes with the water block, in my case with either Geforce 4 Ti4600 and ATI X800GTO2 I didn’t have to use the extra metal bracket, those can slide out (by adjusting those other two screws you see) and provide the required extra length to mount the water block.

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On GF4


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On X800GTO2


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On X800GTO2 from the side


If your memory had small separate heatsinks I would suggest leaving them on, however most stock cooling solution have a heatsink which covers both memory chips and the GPU. Thermaltake does not provide separate memory heatsinks, so for some higher end VGA cards it’s advised to install memory heatsinks.

Installation of Tide Water

The Tide Water’s main unit fits in 2 spare PCI slots, it uses two mounting holes of those 2 PCI slots but also slides in 2 PCI slots in the motherboard, so those will be surely be rendered useless.

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Sticking past PCI slots


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Tight fit with SATA ports on Asus K8N SLI Premium


The Tide Water fills up the PCI slots enough for air to escape the case, however some parts of the exhaust are blocked.

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Sticking past PCI slots


If you want to be adventurous you can also put the Tide Water outside the case, just make sure you have a power lead which extends that far, as the Fan and Pump are powered of a 12v plug.

The fan speed control is located at the side, which means you need to take of the side panel in order to change the setting, it would have been more practical if the small switch was located at the rear or maybe through a small separate fan control?


First noise impressions – unit outside of the case

Before I installed the Tide Water inside the case I powered on the unit using a separate AT power supply, the ambient noise was 36.5dBA.

  • 30cm from the rear exhaust

    - No fan: 42.5dBA
    - Fan at low speed: 45.2dBA
    - Fan at high speed: 58.3dBA

  • 30cm from the side

    - No fan: 41.5dBA
    - Fan at low speed: 44.5dBA
    - Fan at high speed: 59.3dBA

    Those seeking extreme silence will find the pump of the Tide Water too noisy, with the fan at low speed the noise is slightly less compared to most stock cooling solutions. With the fan at high speed the unit is extremely noisy.

    Let’s see how it performs ->
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