Now that the tubing was measured, I started permanent connections. First, take a section of tubing, and slide a cap onto it, with the smaller end of the cap towards the tubing and the threaded end away from the tubing. Slide the cap an inch or so onto the tubing…it will be a tight fit, and will scrape the outside of the tubing, but tight is good. Keeping in mind that there will be two caps on each section of tubing, repeat with the other end of the tubing section. Now you should have two caps on the section of tubing, with the small ends of both caps facing each other. Repeat this with the other sections of tubing.
Next, slide the tubing onto the connectors. The tubing should fit flush with the connector stop, and it will if you made your cuts straight. If not, stop and straighten up the cut.
Now slide the cap down to the threads on the connector. Being careful not to cross-thread, screw the cap as tight as you can with your fingers. Repeat this with the other caps. I do not recommend using pliers or some other kind of tool to tighten the caps, however tempting it may be.
At this time, check your work. Your loop should be running from the reservoir outlet to the left side of the waterblock, from the right side of the waterblock to the radiator, and from the radiator to the reservoir inlet. Double-check to make sure that every cap is as tight as you can get them by hand.
Now, wire up the reservoir unit. If you aren’t using ESA, you need only connect a 4-pin Molex and the two radiator fan connectors. If you are using ESA, you will also connect the temperature sensors to pins 1 and 2, and connect USB from your motherboard.
Next mix the coolant. The bottle of coolant additive should be mixed one part additive to three parts DISTILLED water. You should find distilled water in the beverage section of your grocery store. It is very important to use distilled water to not introduce the various things that are dissolved in your tap water into your watercooling system, such as iron, lime, etc. Besides depositing themselves on your cooling components, these can and will contribute to galvanic corrosion.
Though the coolant additive is not poisonous, it should be handled with care. If you use kitchen utensils to mix and pour, make sure you wash them thoroughly after use.
At this time, again, I highly recommend you check the loop for leaks prior to final installation of the waterblock by “bench testing” the cooling system. Remove the waterblock from the CPU socket and move it outside of the case if possible. If you have added a NB waterblock to your loop, I’d recommend removing the motherboard altogether. Fill the reservoir with the coolant mixture. Disconnect all devices excepting the reservoir unit from your power supply, including the 24-pin and 4- or 8-pin connectors from your motherboard, hard drive(s) and optical drive(s), and any other hardware you may have connected. Turn the I/O switch of your power supply to “O”. (or unplug it if it doesn’t have a switch).
Observe your 24-pin motherboard connector. There is one green wire connected to the connector, it will be the fourth pin from the end on that side of the connector. Next to it, the third pin on that side, will be a black wire. Take a piece of wire (I use a paper clip), and jumper it from the green wire pin to the black wire pin (pin #4 and pin #3). Yeah, I know, if you haven’t done this before it is pretty scary, but people do it all the time, just don’t let your jumper wire touch anything besides the two pins. All you are doing here is performing the same action that your case power button does.
Turn on (or plug in) the power supply. The radiator fans should start spinning and coolant should start moving through the tubing. The coolant level in the reservoir will drop as the loop begins filling, carefully add coolant until the loop is full. Check all connectors for leaks. Once the loop is full, you will probably see bubbles at some of the connectors. You can usually tap the bubble with your finger and it will move into the flowing coolant.
I usually bench test the loop for 30 minutes or so to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
Finally, apply thermal compound to your CPU according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Install the waterblock by alternating tightening each screw a little at a time until all four screws are snug. Remove the jumper from your 24-pin power connector, and reconnect power to your motherboard and drives. Start your rig and observe the tubing connectors again to ensure there is no leaking. I’d check it now and again just to make sure.
The radiator fans on the Aquagate Max give a strong green light, enough to light your entire case. They kind of clash with my existing blue fans, but no big deal.