How To Install A Liquid CPU Cooler

Looking for a helpful procedure on how to install a liquid CPU cooler? Go ahead and read this article, as we uncover the right way to install this nifty computer accessory.

No matter how casual or convoluted your usage of the computer is, chances are your CPU will soon heat up. This is where the liquid CPU cooler shines – it allows your computer to process at higher levels while keeping the CPU temperature in check. This preserves the life and integrity of CPU parts and accessories so that you can enjoy it a lot longer.

Steps on How To Install a Liquid CPU Cooler

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install a liquid CPU cooler without breaking too much sweat or spending later on reinstallation:

1. Read the installation manual.

If you want to ensure that you’re doing the correct steps installing a liquid CPU cooler, do some reading on the specific product in your hands. Although most liquid CPU coolers have a standard way of installation – which we will talk about in succeeding steps – you might need to learn about some minor differences between products.

Bottom line, open up the instruction manual that comes with the box!

2. Prepare the PC.

First off, remove the panels of the CPU, as well as other components that may get in the way of your cooler installation (such as drive cages or RAM modules).

Assuming you’re working on a standard CPU, do the following:

  • Remove the CPU fan.
  • Remove the heatsink by loosening its pins.
  • Take out any thermal paste residue using cloth and alcohol.

3. Install the liquid CPU cooler assembly.

When you look at the liquid cooler on first glance, you may feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the number of parts that come with the assembly. However, by following these steps, you should be on your way to a stress-free installation:

Pump backplate

This plate secures the pump assembly as it sits atop the processor. Check the product box for a bracket that fits whatever your socket design is (i.e. Intel or AMD).

Look for 4 holes behind the motherboard that run around the processor, and insert the mounting points of the bracket. Lock the bracket securely using screw-in standoffs.

Radiator fans

Next up, install the radiator fans on either side of the radiator, although this will depend on the number of fans in the box.

You may also choose a preference for airflow – either push the hot air through the grills or pull it out of the CPU box. Some CPU owners choose both for their fans because it creates more efficient liquid cooling, although it tends to generate more noise.

Take note of the airflow for each fan, sometimes indicated by an arrow to reveal the air direction.


You may now put the radiator inside the CPU case. Take care not to hit fan cables or tear rubber radiator hoses. Secure the radiator using screws that are usually supplied with the assembly.


Most pumps come with a retention bracket that is customized to fit together with the motherboard standoffs. If so, you need to connect this bracket to the pump first before putting the pump inside the case.

When placing the pump, be careful not to kink tubing parts. Secure the entire assembly using screws. BY this time, no part of the assembly should feel loose or wobbly.

Some people prefer to install the pump first before the radiator, and so it’s totally your call.

4. Connect the required cables.

Hook up your new assembly to the power cable, SATA power connector, pump tach connector, and fan connectors. Also, use the mini-USB cable to connect the pump to the motherboard’s USB internal header.

5. Turn the CPU on.

Don’t reinstall your CPU panes just yet! Test the connections by powering up the computer. Check for activation of the radiator fans, pump, and optional lighting. If something looks amiss, trace back the previous steps.

Once everything works great, return the CPU case enclosure.

More Tips on How To Install a Liquid CPU Cooler

The intricacies of how to install a water CPU cooler may be made easier if you purchase a good CPU cooler in the first place. Check out our review of the best liquid CPU coolers here.

Make sure also that the liquid CPU cooler fits inside the PC case.  Check if you’re using single-fan or dual-fan radiators, because this may require additional space.

In addition, you also need to know the product well before starting to install it or dismantle your CPU. Reading the product manual could strike the difference between an easy installation and a potentially damaging process.

So what do you think? Are you ready to install your liquid CPU cooler?

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