If you'll recall the introduction, you will remember that one of the big claims from Corsair was regarding the ease of installation of this device. Having worked intimately with almost every style of water cooling in the past, it isn't that uncommon to spend the better part of an hour setting up all components. Even the all-in-one units tested in the past generally require anywhere from 15-30 minutes under good conditions.
I can say right from the beginning that the boasts of an easy installation are generally true. The entire installation of the hardware took maybe six minutes total after beginning with a clean processor and a dab of Arctic Silver 5 in the center to finish and ready to bleed.
Before we begin the installation process, I wanted to show off what a manual is supposed to look like. Full color pictures and a step-by-step detailed set of instructions that will make this an easy task even for the novice. When Corsair makes claims about the ease of installation of this product, this is where it starts.
Mounting the waterblock is a thing of ease. We're working with an Athlon64 processor in our tests today and the installation was very simple. The bracket itself is not attached to the screws commonly used when using a heatsink and this type of processor. Just set the block onto the processor, place the included foam pad and metal shim onto the block, then snap the mounting bracket into place. The only precaution to note here is to make sure that the foam pad and metal shim are set so that it can go in between the metal hose clamps. The foam pad ensures a proper amount of pressure between the block and the processor core.
For those concerned about how the tubing will pass from the exterior to the interior, the answer is quite simple. This PCI bracket pass-through allows you to get the tubing set up properly. Just feed it through the bracket and cut to an appropriate length. Attach the quick-release tips and insert them into the back of the external unit.
I had a concern with this area of the installation. While it is a simple and quick step, the hose is quite tight going through the PCI bracket and there are no rubber grommets to protect the tubing. Any water system is going to create at least a small amount of vibration due to the pump circulating water, so this could be a concern over time.
Once the hardware is in place (yes, it really is that easy), you empty the contents of this COOL additive into the reservoir of the external unit. Fill the remainder of the reservoir with distilled water, then refill as the system cycles through its circulation system. As always, make sure that you use distilled water only in your cooling system. Tap water has impurities that can cause corrosion later on down the line, and this is definitely something you do not want in your cooler.
With regards to the hardware installation, it is as fast as Corsair says it will be. Don't be too quick to bleed the system, however. I found that this was the slowest part of the installation process. The goal of the bleeding is to remove all the air from the circulation liquid and it took between 10-15 minutes to accomplish this. The system was fully operational and there was no danger to the processor during this phase, but just be patient and get all the air out before closing off the reservoir and calling it good.