Installing The CryoVenom R9 295X2
All of the included parts appear daunting when they're laid out on a table. But open-loop liquid cooling systems are a lot less complicated than they look. The first step is always good planning, of course. A simple hand drawing of the loop should help you visualize what you're trying to accomplish. Of course this is Tom's Hardware, so we put together something a little fancier. Our order of operations is pump, then the cooling blocks and finally the radiator. Some power users place the pump before the radiator, but we prefer to put it after so that the pump is not heated unnecessarily.
Next, we're going to measure the hose length requirements. It's good practice to perform a dry install so you know exactly where your components will sit and how long the tubing needs to be before you start cutting.
Here's a great example of why careful planning is the way to go. This wasn't a problem with the CryoVenom; this is on me. I could have used the inlet and outlet options on the other side of the graphics card. It's workable on the test bed, but isn't pretty. Fortunately, the freedom to make changes is exactly why an open loop is so attractive to customization-hungry enthusiasts. Closed-loop systems are not adjustable in this respect.
When you know how long your hoses need to be, make sure you have enough length before proceeding. Once cut, the 1/2" tubing (3/8" inside diameter) requires no tools to assemble. Simply sheathe the tube over the inlet or outlet and hand-tighten the compression fitting.
We installed the CryoVenom R9 295X2 on our test bench, so the hose lengths are longer than we'd need in a standard PC case. Nevertheless, there was enough included tubing to do the job.
Other colors are available, but our test card came with blood-red coolant that needed to be mixed in a 1:9 ratio with distilled water. Make sure you don't use tap water because impurities may cause unwanted wear and build-up. If you have a container to store the coolant, you can use that to mix it all. Alternatively, you can put 100ml of coolant in the reservoir and chase it with 900ml of distilled water, continuing until there is enough to reach the maximum level.
We're not done yet. Before we can turn on the PC, we need to purge air bubbles from the system. First, close the fill hole (on the left) so that coolant doesn't leak out when the pump is engaged. Leave the reservoir hole on the right open though, allowing air bubbles to escape.
The pump is powered by a single Molex connector, and in order to get coolant running through the system, we need to switch it on without energizing the PC. To do this, VisionTek includes a power supply connector. To activate the pump, simply disconnect the power supply from the motherboard and clip the connector to the PSU, allowing power to run to the auxilliary power connectors. Remember, running the pump dry will damage it, so only supply power until the coolant falls below the minimum level. After that, stop the pump, open the fill hole, add more coolant, and close the fill hole again. Repeat this process until all of the air has been pushed out of the loop.
While you're doing this, it's important to keep an eye out for leaks. Once the air bubbles in the system have been purged and the liquid coolant is between the minimum and maximum levels as shown on the reservoir, the system is ready to run. You may now plug the reservoir hole and re-insert the power supply connector on the motherboard. Fire up the PC and install drivers as necessary.