AMA Aragon 900 Water Cooling Kit ReviewZertz - March 22, 2009
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Firstly, before going too far into the installation, remember that component layout will vary on a case-by-case basis, although the basics remain true. Secondly, it's important to take your time when setting up a water-cooled loop, because once you've started to cut tubing, you can't easily go back. As usual, measure twice, cut once. Also, keep in mind that tubing does not bend indefinitely and sharp turns will kink it, or at least hinder flow.
Now that I have the very basics covered, it's time to get this AMA kit installed. I started by installing the processor cooling block which is pretty much identical as air cooling as far as mounting goes. The block uses a backplate, so you will need the motherboard out of the case to proceed. All four small, flat headed screws have to be screwed into the the aluminum plates used to keep the block into place. Then, with the backplate lined up with the socket, drop the block into place and insert both plates onto the block and lightly screw every corner. Once all four are in, tighten them up as equally as possible for optimal cooling.
Proceed with the installation of barbs on the block, reservoir and radiator. The process is pretty straightforward, just tighten them using a 5/8 wrench, but not too tight, so not to break the threads and rubber sealing ring. Once you've done that, it's finally time to move on to the fun part.
Before inserting tubing on a barb, it's important not to forget to slide a clamp in first, especially when one side is already clamped into place. Tubing can be quite a tight fit, so use warm water to help stretch it just a bit, but enough to make it less of a pain to install. Once the tube is fully inserted onto the barb, slide the clamp in and tighten it. Beside the length, which will obviously vary, the very same steps have to be followed for the rest of the components.
Once everything is wired up, it's time to fill it up. AMA provides a solution composed of various liquids. Running the pump without water in it isn't exactly good, so, when filling for the first time, it's important to have the reservoir higher or at least level with the pump. To achieve that, I temporarily removed the second hard drive bay on which the pump is resting and put it back after the loop was filled. Simply fill the reservoir, get some liquid to flow into the pump and power it for a couple seconds to get some water into the loop. Make sure you don't completely empty the reservoir, else the pump will start sucking air and that's something you don't want. So simply refill until the loop is full. It's possible some bubbles will have gotten stuck somewhere, which will cause additional noise for the first couple minutes or so.
Finally, you can turn the system up and hope for the best, which, clearly, isn't a good idea, or use a spare power supply to power the pump alone. I let it run from another system's power supply for a couple hours in order to ensure there wasn't any leaks and, luckily enough, there wasn't.
Here's a shot of the final product installed into a Thermaltake Armor, which is a full tower. I installed the radiator like AMA suggests, outside and held on its side by the aluminum feet they provide. In order to keep the pump and reservoir inside the case, I had to sacrifice one of the bottom hard drive bays - there was simply no other place to put that reservoir without interfering with one thing or another. On a brighter note, the fans light up blue when powered on.
With the setup into place, let's see how AMA's water cooling fares.