- CPU Waterblock
- Pump and Reservoir
- Coolant, Tubing and Fittings
- Kit Performance
I don’t see the point of showing an installation in a case as every case differs, and so I will just cover the installation of the primary components. This is not a guide on watercooling, I expect readers of this article to be familiar with tube layout and radiator/bay reservoir installation and I will not insult your knowledge by repeating this.
Installing the pump into the bay reservoir is fairly simple. See this black clamp on the left around the pump top?
It’s held in place by 8 2.5 mm screws. Use the provided Allen key that came with the Bay Station to remove them, and it comes right off. There is a gasket in place already and make sure it is flat inside. Line up the pump and put it in, run the pump cables through the clamp and just screw the clamp back on:
You can easily rotate the pump to facilitate positioning of the control knob as you see fit. As far as installing this combo unit goes, there are 4 screw holes on either side that line up with 5.25″ bay cages in cases:
Position it in place, and use the provided 8 screws to hold it in place:
Except, with the bay cages/holders in between as well.
As for the fan/radiator, just use the provided M3 threaded screws (30 mm long) to go case/fan/radiator or fan/radiator. You can’t go case/radiator/fan on the other side here unless you get 5-6 mm long M3 threaded screws yourself. If you intend on using a shroud (up to 5 mm thick) you can use the 35 mm long screws as well.
On to the block now, and the demo below is using the XP3 Light Brass edition (same for the XP3 Light Black edition here). Let’s begin with Intel socket LGA 115x:
The provided Intel backplate does not work with this socket as best as I tried, no matter what the online instructions say. In fact, the instructions that came with this block suggested that is only for LGA 775/1366 and to use the mounting posts directly for LGA 115x. So there we start instead:
Make sure to have a plastic washer between the head of the screw (this mounting post is just an M3 screw with a hex head) and the motherboard and navigate 4 of these through the cooler holes from the back towards the front:
The four remaining plastic washers go over the screws on the other side now, and then thread the provided bolts in place to keep the screws in check. Having two plastic washers does not make this an easy process, and the provided Allen key only helps a bit. I would have much rather have the option to use a proper backplate with load adjusted throughout the larger surface area and get a consistent mount each time.
Put the Intel mounting bracket over the block, apply TIM on the CPU IHS (I used a pea drop in the middle here) and place the block over the 4 posts:
Now place the 4 metal washers on top over the screws, then the springs and finally use the locking nuts to apply pressure on the block thus mating it with the IHS as best as possible. There is guess work involved as to how many turns of the locking nuts are required, and this is where you want to do some experimentation and see what the best TIM spread you can get is. Tighten the locking nuts in a cross manner, doing two diagonally opposite nuts at a time and remember that overtightening can lead to possible bent motherboard pins and unstable CPU performance.
In the example above, the TIM spread was better on one side than the other despite equal amount of turns on each nut. So for the actual tests I had to compensate for this:
A few more turns on the right side and it was much better. As pointed out before, owing to the nature of the cold plate here there is no performance difference between the regular or “goofy” orientations of the block so install it to best suit your plumbing layout.
Now on to Intel socket LGA 2011 (-3):
Things are a lot simpler here as in most cases. Begin by screwing in the M4 threaded posts into the socket backplate:
Now the same process begins as before, apply TIM (for example, I used a thin line down the middle here) on the IHS and place the CPU block on top:
Use the metal washers, springs and locking nuts as before and do some trials to see what gives you the best TIM spread:
In this particular case, I ended up going with two lines of TIM in an “X” shape which helped more than the single thin line in the middle but your mileage may vary. Unfortunately, I don’t have any AMD CPUs or motherboards here so I apologize to AMD hardware users.
With these components installed, simply map out tubing, cut them to length and use the compression fittings to connect the 3 items (CPU block, radiator w/fans, pump/reservoir) together. Fill up the reservoir with the coolant- it will be easier if you can slide the reservoir out but not critical as the fill port will extend outwards- and power the pump on by using the provided ATX bridge on the 24 pin cable hooked to the PSU for power. Make sure no other components are powered on, use towels/tissues etc as need be and fill/bleed the loop accordingly. Consider using an air leak test instead if you are not comfortable with water fill/leak testing.
Now with everything looked at individually, let’s see how this fared as a CPU cooler on the next page.