how to install liquid cpu cooler

The best way to Set up Liquid CPU Cooler

On a sizzling day, would you fairly stand in entrance of a fan to chill your self or would you be in an air-conditioned room set to your good temperature? I feel most overclocking, hardcore gaming, and efficiency lovers would agree that having a liquid cooler put in is a lot better for efficiency than a typical air cooler.

Fashionable CPUs that run in 4-5+ GHz clock pace inventory and devour a number of a whole lot of watts of electrical energy. It’s like they’re a university freshman chugging beer on a spring weekend are able to producing super quantities of warmth.

If this warmth isn’t managed correctly, your CPU will quickly hit the thermal restrict and begin throttling. A thermally throttled CPU sheds its gigahertz like timber do leaves throughout fall and lengthy story quick, you’re not a cheerful camper.

To keep away from this, you want an excellent CPU cooling resolution. And whereas a daily air cooler would possibly barely get the job accomplished, having a liquid CPU cooler is a lot better. Like a daily Toyota corolla vs a Porsche 911 higher.

Granted, a liquid cooler will likely be barely costlier, and it requires a bit extra talent to put in. Nonetheless, your top-of-the-line CPU additionally deserves a greater cooling resolution and that’s the reason you’re right here. We are going to information you thru this barely difficult course of of putting in a liquid CPU cooler on this article. You simply learn fastidiously and take care to not miss any steps.

Liquid CPU Cooler Vs. Air Cooler: Which is Higher?

As with all issues that exist, there are some intrinsic benefits and drawbacks of selecting a liquid cooler over an air cooler.


  • A lot better at cooling the CPU.
  • A lot quieter than a typical air cooler.

  • Pricier.
  • Harder to put in.
  • Bulkier.

How Does Liquid Cooling Work?

Supply: Intel

The CPU generates warmth when underneath stress, which will be transferred out of it through the Built-in Warmth Spreader (IHS). IHS is the steel lid you see on CPUs, on prime of which some thermal paste is utilized earlier than attaching a cooler to it (both air or liquid). Air coolers are strong items of steel (both aluminum or copper) with a lot of fins, and have a cooling fan hooked up to the highest in order to disperse warmth. All this sits instantly on prime of the IHS on the CPU.

In distinction, in liquid cooling, the radiator that dissipates warmth into the air doesn’t sit instantly on prime of the IHS. A baseplate is first hooked up to the IHS with a layer of thermal paste. The bottom plate is product of steel and is a part of the waterblock, which additionally sits on prime of the IHS.

There are two pipes, linked to the waterblock at one finish and the radiator on the different finish. You’ll be able to configure the location of the radiator to your liking. A pump circulates cool liquid in and sizzling liquid out of the waterblock, and the warmth is dissipated by means of the radiator.

Liquid coolers normally are available two varieties – an All-In-One (AIO), and a customized loop. In precept, each are the identical. We’ll principally be specializing in the AIO techniques on this article.

Preliminary Work


Effectively, first issues first. If we need to set up an AIO, we’ve got to make it possible for the CPU casing can accommodate an AIO, don’t we? And by we, we imply you. Guarantee that your CPU casing is large enough to deal with the AIO. Additionally look into AIO producer’s suggestions, if there are any accessible.

Subsequent, AIOs come in numerous sizes. Essentially the most used sizes are: 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm. 

When you have a tiny case, you’ll most certainly use the 120mm. The radiator can home a single fan.  This measurement is right for non-overclocking informal customers. 

240mm doubles the 120mm measurement, which suggests two 140mm followers. You have got an honest, mid-sized casing and you’ve got greater than a passing curiosity in putting in a liquid cooling system. Possibly you wish to play video games with settings cranked up. You would possibly barely overclock your CPU, however not an excessive amount of.

360mm screams hardcore, and that’s what you’re. You wish to play video games in 4k or 8k cranked to extremely and your CPU has been overclocked to excessive heavens. In all probability.

In any case, choose a cooler measurement of your desire and make it possible for it suits the casing.

Putting in the Liquid Cooler

Now that you’ve picked an AIO that matches your CPU case, you’re prepared to put in it. Observe the information under and use your discretion when mandatory. Don’t overlook to confer with your AIO’s Set up Information since completely different AIOs could have some slight variations in elements and procedures.

Making ready the Workbench

First issues first, you might want to put together a clear workbench so that you’ve a neater time protecting observe of elements. You don’t need to waste time “discovering screws that had been there only a second in the past.

Put your CPU casing within the workbench, together with a toolkit consisting of screwdrivers. Guarantee that cumbersome elements already put in within the motherboard, for instance – your GPU, have been eliminated. 

Lay out your AIO CPU cooler elements. This could encompass backplates, screw adapters, fixing bolts, and followers, together with the AIO block itself.

Set up the Backplates


You utilize the  AIO backplate to safe the connection between the waterblock and the CPU. The CPU will sit sandwiched between the backplate and the waterblock, and you’ll create a good connection by screwing down the backplate.

Some instances will accommodate for putting in the backplate by having a detachable cut-out cowl, during which case you possibly can simply take away it and you’ll expose the motherboard the place you possibly can repair the backplate.

In case your casing doesn’t have this function, you will have to take away the motherboard from the casing.

When you’ve uncovered the motherboard the place the backplate sits, you’ll line-up the backplate to match with the screw holes within the motherboard across the space the place the CPU sits.

Use the offered help screws to carry the backplate in place, and depart them in place. You’ll use this to screw on the waterblock later.

Be aware: Some motherboards could have CPU entrance plates that come put in with suitable watercooling headblocks (e.g., LGA 2011), during which case you don’t want to the touch the included backplate. You’ll as a substitute use the included screw adapters. Use the screw adapters into the included backplate. You’ll use this to put in the waterblock later. Discuss with the set up guide for extra particulars.

Set up the Followers


Seize the included followers and the lengthy screws. You will have to orient the fan(s) within the appropriate configuration to optimize the airflow. In case your AIO has a number of followers, they’re in all probability meant to be linked in a push-pull configuration. Once more, confer with the set up information/consumer guide for the right fan orientation.

Subsequent, seize the right screwdriver and set up the fan into the radiator with the offered lengthy screws. 

Set up the Radiator


The subsequent step is to put in the radiator block. You could possibly, in idea, choose up any handy location to put in your radiator, however we strongly suggest that you simply place the radiator block top-side.

This manner, your waterblock will likely be put in under the radiator, supplying you with some important benefits.

  • Your waterpump will run a lot quiter.
  • Your AIO will carry out higher than if the pump had been above the radiator.
  • In some instances, having the radiator put in under the pump broken the AIO techniques, forcing the customers to open an RMA with the producer.

Maintain the radiator securely in place whilst you feed the cables by means of the cutout on the again of the casing. 

Guarantee that the screw holes within the radiator line up with the cutouts within the casing. Whereas nonetheless supporting the radiator along with your hand, screw within the included screws. You would possibly must make an adjustment as to the ultimate place of the radiator, so don’t tighten the screw but. Simply make it possible for they’re safe and so they can maintain the radiator to the case for now.

Set up the Waterblock

Supply: MSI

That is in all probability probably the most difficult little bit of the entire ordeal, so proceed with warning.

If you’re eradicating an air cooler, be sure that to wash the outdated thermal paste off the IHS. 

Often a skinny layer of thermal paste is already pre-applied by the producer onto the waterblock. You’ll be able to decide to make use of that in case you are a first-time installer. When you have expertise with putting in thermal pastes, you possibly can set up your personal thermal paste as properly. Your selection.

Set up the included retention brackets across the water pump. Retention brackets can are available quite a lot of shapes, relying upon the producer and mannequin, and so confer with the set up information on the right process on methods to accomplish this.

Lay your casing on the aspect in order that the motherboard is flat and horizontal. 

Bear in mind the help screws that you simply put in into the backplate on the very starting? (Or the screw adapters in case your motherboard got here with a backplate already hooked up). Line up the pump bracket holes over the help screws and slot into place. 

Guarantee that the pump is sitting flush and horizontal. Connect the thumbscrews (included within the AIO packaging) and screw them in by hand. Screw-in all of the thumbscrews after which end the job with a screwdriver.

Cable Administration


The very last thing you might want to do is join the cables in order that the factor works after which put them away neatly.

Join the fan cables to the fan headers. When you like your RGBs, plug them in as properly. You’ll be able to daisy-chain your RGB cables.

Lastly, plug within the SATA cable to the PSU to provide energy into the AIO.

Tidy all the things up and tuck the cables neatly into the again of the casing.

Energy up the casing and ensure all the things works as meant, earlier than closing the case on your on a regular basis use.

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