Cooler Master Aquagate S1
Author: Rutledge Feman
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 07-23-2007
Provided by: Cooler Master

The installation of this system does require removal of the motherboard, but I'm learning to hate that less. Once you've removed the motherboard, you insert the four double-threaded screws. A normal installation would use washers instead of a backplate, but this backplate is stuck to my motherboard from a previous install, and it serves the same purpose, so I left it in. Once the screws are installed, you go to the other side and install washers and nuts to keep the screws attached to the motherboard. When that's all said and done, you're ready to start screwing things down to your processor…

…well, sort of. First you put four plastic risers into place on the pump, so that the mounting bracket doesn't press directly onto the pump and snap the plastic. Then you apply the MX-1 compound. This thermal compound looks and feels silver based, but I certainly hope it isn't for CoolerMaster's sake, because there are no warnings anywhere that it is electrically conductive, so that could make for some angry customers. With thermal compound applied and risers in place, you put the pump/block on the processor with the tubes facing whichever way you want.

After the contraption is in place, you take the bracket and lower it over the screws onto the plastic risers. It may take a few degrees of rotation to get the risers to fit into the slots, but nothing that will hinder installation too much. Finally, you hold the bracket and screw it down. They provide a nice hex-to-phillips attachment to make life a little bit easier. When it's all done, you put the motherboard back in the case and screw the radiator in like any normal fan. The last step is to install the pump three-pin plug into your CPU fan slot, and the radiator fan into any motherboard three-pin slot, and you're all done.

One of the major problems with this set-up is that the tubes come out sideways. This is because the pump is attached to the top of the waterblock, so the tubes can't come vertically out. What this means is that you have to orient the tubes such that they don't run into things around the CPU, such as the northbridge, RAM or the power supply. So, in the two positions available on my motherboard, they both run directly over a three-pin power port necessary to run the set-up (and in the picture shown, right by the CPU power port also). This doesn't render the product useless in any way, but it puts an unnecessary amount of pressure and strain on the power connectors, which isn't ideal.

Despite seeming pretty involved, this installation was actually very quick and straightforward. Continue as we find out if this thing really works…

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