As a newbie to water cooling, the kits are probably the way to go. I'm looking at jumping in myself and have been researching some over the last couple months. The XSPC Rasa kits are cheap ($150 or so) and perform quite well.
The great thing about "real" water cooling over that closed loop nonsense is you can always upgrade the kit later to better suit your needs. The kits seem like a great starting point to me.