Be warned, installation is definitely where water cooling takes a step in the direction of advanced. Although not a feat of engineering, there are multiple opportunities to destroy components. Follow our guide though and you will find the safest easiest way to get your Raystorm kit installed. The kit does come with a full sized color manual that is full of pictures to assist you as well.
Let’s begin. The first thing I always do is get the rad mounted in the case. This can be a little tricky depending on how well designed for water cooling your case is. Fortunately we are using a slim 240 rad and won’t have any space issues in our test case. Our’s has mounting holes that will allow us to attach the radiator right to the case. However if you’re having trouble with this the Raystorm kit does come with external mounting brackets.
These brackets use the same holes that your top rear exhaust fan does. They hang the radiator off the back of the case, or if you have holes on the top outside it can be mounted there as well.
I will be mounting the radiator to the bottom front of the case. Since there is only going to be one set of fans they should be optimally installed pulling air through the radiator. With that in mind, the coolest air source with the highest capacity for heat is outside the case. This means that I want the non fan side attached to the case and the fans pulling air into the case from the front. What is very convenient about this is that it allows us to mount our fans to the radiator first and then attach everything to the case as one.
There are several sets of mounting screws you will use the silver ones that match the photo above. The smaller ones are for attaching the radiator to the case and the longer ones attach the fans to the radiator. Go ahead and attach the fans to the radiator.
With the fans attached take two of the barbs and screw them into the G1/4 holes on the radiator. Make sure they have an oring on them, you really want to get them as tight as you can. If you are unsure if you got them tight enough you can always use a wrench to get them tighter. Be careful not to over tighten them though as they can be stripped out.
With everything attached to the radiator go ahead and attach the radiator to the case using the four smaller screws.
With the radiator in place let’s go ahead and install the Raystorm block on the CPU. One neat thing about the block is the removable aluminum top plate. It comes painted black, but since it’s easily removed you can take it off, sand, and repaint it to match your build if you like.
To install your block you will need to select the correct set of mounting screws for your backplate. XSPC includes 3 sets of these, Intel, Intel 2011, and AMD. They are all different and you will need to make sure you use the ones with the correct thread pitch.
In the photo above the one on the right with the tighter thread pitch is regular Intel and the ones I need for my installation. The ones on the left are AMD. Assemble all four with the mounting hardware so that it matches our photo below
Now take the correct backplate for your build, (ours is socket 1155 so we need the one with the T shaped cut out) first removing the stickers, press the backplate through the mounting holes and against your motherboard. Unfortunately I found that the stickers don’t work well for holding the bracket in place, so you will likely have to do this by hand when you attach the block.
Now flip the case on it’s back (I held the backplate in place with one hand). Apply some of the included XSPC thermal grease. XSPC shows a method in the manual of covering the whole CPU with a thin layer. (using a plastic card) I just went with the standard grain of rice size bead I always use. After the the thermal grease is in place, press the block onto the CPU. Without allowing it to move to much start each mounting screw through one of the four corners. With all four started you can let go of the backplate and tighten each screw one by one alternating to get them attached evenly. Once the screws are in all the way, you turn the bottom thumb screw to tighten the block down. You want to do this evenly on all four corners to achieve an even amount of contact across the entire CPU surface.
Once attached, screw two barbs into the G1/4 holes on the block the same way you did with the radiator.
The block and radiator are now installed, on to the final main item, the X20 reservoir/pump combo. You will first attach the final two barbs to the inlet and outlet on the back of the X20. Now is also the easiest time to to remove the fill plug, so go ahead and do that. You will want to use a quarter or something similar to do this. It’s a soft plastic and a screwdriver that is too small will only strip it.
Simply slide the X20 into your open drive bays, power cord first of course. You are either going to need an open space above it, or will have to make your tubing extra long in order to fill the reservoir . Do not attach the X20 with screws yet as you will likely need to move it when filling. If you must for stability, use just one so it will be easy to remove. Route the power cord to an open molex plug from your PSU.