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Liquid cooling: You will not get wet

When it came to building my first PC, my goal was to put together something that could turn on and not fry within 24 hours of use. Though trembling and sweating as I installed each component, I let out a big sigh of relief when the power LED turned on and my loading screen came up. So when Jessie came to me with the challenge of installing my first liquid cooler, I just about fainted.

I’m going to put THIS in my computer?!

How could I keep things up and running by introducing water into my PC? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought this before. Well, as I’ve discovered with the KUHLER H2O 620, a compact, uncomplicated approach to liquid cooling works great for a CPU.

Red Flags Lowered
I used to think about liquid cooling as the means to the end…the end of my computer. Corrosion, maintenance, transportation, LEAKAGE – who wants to risk all this and end up spending more money? It didn’t seem worth it to me.

That’s where the KUHLER H2O comes in to save the day. The KUHLER H2O is a compact setup with a small, lightweight pump & cold plate that mounts on the CPU socket, a 120 mm radiator with fan, and a prefilled coolant. The flexible tubing has a low permeability to prevent water from seeping through and messing up your motherboard. Besides, the unit comes factory sealed anyway, so you won’t run the risk of leakage right off the bat. With one of these systems installed, you can have a trouble-free processor, and you can transport your PC to and from LANs without ruining your components.

Water Cooling for All!

I used to think that I needed a liquid cooler only if I planned to overclock or run a high-performing system. True, many liquid cooling systems are designed for pushing your PC to the limits (like our KUHLER H2O 920), but that’s not what I’m looking to do. On the other hand, I don’t want my CPU to struggle through a Battlefield 3 fragfest.

The KUHLER H2O 620 is a great way to keep my system in check because it performs much better and runs much quieter than a stock cooler, and, unlike some of the massive aftermarket air coolers out there, it puts a lot less physical stress on my CPU socket.

The KUHLER H2O gets the job done within a small space.

And what about cost? Heaven forbid you cut into your games budget. Well, money has yet to grow on trees, but I find that this liquid cooler is very affordable in today’s world of $300 processors. 60 bucks gets me a stalwart guardian for my CPU, the nucleus of my PC, that I won’t have to fuss with for a few years. Just gaze deeply into your PC, and ask yourself, “What would show my CPU how much I love it?”

Installation

When I look at a liquid cooler and compare it to other rigid components like graphics cards and PSUs, it looks foreign; perhaps it would go in a fish tank instead of a computer. The thought of the many installation steps, such as mounting the pump onto the socket or getting the tubes to clear your graphics card, seems very daunting for an inexperienced builder like me.

All is well, my friends. Look at it this way; installation is like loading a dishwasher with slots that designate where each item goes. You load your large plates, then your small plates, followed by some cups and then each type of silverware.

With the KUHLER H2O 620, you place the back plate on the back of the motherboard tray, attach the fan to the radiator and secure it to your chassis, fasten the pump and retention ring to your CPU socket and then connect the fan and pump cables. Whew…I guess it’s almost easier done than said, but once you’ve installed your KUHLER H2O, that’s it. There’s nothing else to do but take in the wonders of liquid cooling.

KUHLER1
The compact KUHLER H2O fits in with the modest appearance of my build.

I could bore you with a more detailed instruction, but instead I’ll point you to a very useful video from Hi Tech Legion right here.

I’d also like to add that the KUHLER H2O comes with thermal paste already applied, so you don’t have to worry about fumbling around with that and guessing how much to use. You’ll have plenty of clearance for your GPU, too.

As a side note, I was completely stumped when I opened my right side panel and saw the mounting brackets from my aftermarket air cooler on the back of my motherboard, realizing there was no other way to remove other than by means of force. So I took a butter knife and, with the grace of a mountain troll, pried those suckers off.

Conclusion
I’ll admit that you may end up taking more time to install a liquid CPU than an air cooler, but you get some awesome benefits from having one up and running in your rig.

First, the KUHLER H2O does the job right without constantly reminding me; I can hardly hear the fan or the liquid circulating through the tubes.

Second, I don’t have to refill the liquid to keep performance up to par, and I don’t have to move the unit around to upgrade my RAM or GPU (just my processor, but I know that’s working very well!).

Krios came to play. Oh yeah.

Third, a liquid cooler looks much more stylish and, dare I say, avant garde when compared to a giant heatsink. A couple of my friends still don’t believe I put it together.

And what I absolutely love about the KUHLER H2O 620 is that there’s nothing you have to do following installation; just sit back, play an FPS or two, and let the components do the work. That peace of mind alone is worth my 60 bucks.

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Comments (5)

  1. morten

    im building a pc with the P193 V3 enclosure and the h2o 920, but i cant fit the door, it conflicts with the cooler, any advice?

  2. Exsosus

    I just installed this yesterday. Highly, highly recommend it for everyone. Here are a few tips for the installation:

    In the nearly last step of the installation, the Quick Install guide will tell you to loosely install the screws for the CPU socket. By loosely, they really mean nearly not screwed in at all. Do not screw the screws in! Instead, leave the screws in their sockets ready to go in, then squeeze the circular-shaped cooler down hard onto the CPU while turning clockwise. Once you’ve succeeded in locking it into position, then proceed with screwing the 4 screws in following the X format (top right, bottom left, top left bottom right for instance).

    Get a heat monitoring program for your CPU to make sure that your new product is working for the first few days of use. I suggest http://www.cputhermometer.com/

    I was so inspired by this product I was going to write a full review of it. Love it! Recommend it to your friends, seriously.

    System:
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Processor, 3712Mhz (4 Cores)
    Current CPU Temp with H20 620: 38 deg. Celcius
    Win 7 x64 Pro
    8GB Mem
    AMD Radeon 6970 2GB GPU
    Asus D2 7.2 Audio

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