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Antec Kühler H2O 920 - A full Installation Guide

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: Created a full-length video guide:

Enjoy!


Hi there everyone!

After building my second ever PC, I found that the hardest part of actually building the PC was applying the Antec 920 liquid cooler to my CPU/motherboard (which in this case was the Asus Sabertooth Z77).

I highly suggest reading through everything, and then attempting to fit the Antec 920 on. It is a long guide, but I thought to cover everything, and explain everything to the best of my "nooby" knowledge.

The package contents I received were different from all the reviewers I saw online, and the instruction manual that I received - meaning I had to pretty much guess and take the initiative to apply my first ever liquid cooler on my own.

Here's a picture taken from Google image results of what most reviewers had:



Whereas, I had received this (again credits too Google for this image too):




Basically, the differences were the pins and the colour of the pins - although this should be pretty straight forward, there was no mention of the direction/shape they had to go in and so on.


So here is my installation guide and pictures that went along with it - sorry in advance if some are a little blurry than others!

OK - so first of all you want to place your CPU in its socket, and "clamp" it down. You may apply thermal paste if needs be, however in the image below, I had tried applying the 920 on it, to no success (as it wasn't fitting properly at first) - thus the image you see is actually an image of how the thermal paste, from the 920 is applied on your CPU:



So after putting in your CPU, you want to put the BACKPLATE on the BACK of the motherboard. Something that wasn't explained, and got my cousin and I completely confused as to where this backplate was supposed to go.




As you can see we were trying to figure out which way it was supposed to go - finally I discovered that it was supposed to go on the BACK of the motherboard - hopefully you have a case, like the R4, that has an opening for the CPU - if not, then you'll have to put the backplate on before putting the motherboard in (which might be a pain) - I should also mention there are two type of plastic backplates, and one is for Intel (LGA 1155/1156, 1366, 775) and the other for AMD (AM2/AM3)

So, now you have your backplate. Get the two plastic sticky parts, and apply them to the back of the plastic backplate. After doing that, you'll be able to see and use the 4 metal looking nuts. These metal nuts, go into the respective holes - ie. If you have a Socket 1155 in my case.
Put in the metal nuts by simply pushing them into the respective holes, and you'll have an odd looking configuration.
Once I placed it on my motherboard I was surprised (although this is normal) that the backplate doesn't look right on the back of the motherboard. By that I mean, it will look slanted. Now this depends on your socket, but in my case, it was slanted, as you'll be able to see in the pictures.








After "placing" this backplate on the back of the motherboard, you'll want leave it on there. You'll be able to screw it in, in just a bit.

Now, you'll 2 metal plates, to put around the CPU slot. You have the option of the AMD one and the Intel one, just like for the plastic backplates, seen above.

I got my Intel one, and was quick to realise, that the holes had to be filled with the plastic tension clips, however these clips, when rotated, would lead into a different fit (ie. I was on 1155 socket, but when twisted the other way, were the holes for the 1156 socket) - basically the plastic tension clips, which are oval shaped, when rotated 180 degrees, will have the larger plastic side on the outer edge, and thus meaning the hole moves a little closer to your CPU hole.

It is quite hard to explain, but easier to show - so hopefully the pictures below should help you figure that out:





From the above pictures, you'll be hopefully able to see how the clips should be arranged, and how it should look like. Also pay close attention to your hole - there should be no "triangle" or ledge when you look down the hole.

For example - this is wrong:



This is correct:








Now once we did that, the instructions said to put it on the processor, but didn't explain something that we didn't understand at first. The LOCKING mechanism. It is said that the locking mechanism should be straight forward, but when I played around with it, it didn't make any logical sense (thus why at the beginning you could see thermal paste on the CPU).

You'll be able to now see us trying to put the metal plate on the motherboard, but then removing it, and applying the screws, and even the cooler unit whilst the whole unit is OFF the processor:













So as you can now see, I had put the long screws in, and placed it on the motherboard, with it semi-fixed on.

However, after putting it on, as said above, the cooler unit wouldn't LOCK properly.

Here are some pictures of the radiator and one of the fans being applied, with the cooler just placed loosely on the CPU:






So, after a bit of logical reasoning, it made sense that the cooler had to go through the metal plate, and THEN the plastic LOCKING DEVICE to be applied from underneath.
This insured the cooler was TIGHTLY fastened to the metal plate and wasn't going to move around.
As instructed, you will have to TWIST and turn it, for it to LOCK. But what IS NOT explained, is the fact that you have to apply this plastic after slotting in the cooler into the metal plate.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but that's the ONLY way this locked and stayed secure.




After that is done, it is a simple process of placing the cooler with the metal place and screws, on your CPU, and then screwing it in to the plastic backplate with the nuts on it.

Furthermore, when screwing it in, don't put too much pressure whilst screwing, or else the nuts in the plastic backplate, will start turning. It did feel weird that it wasn't as tight as it should go, but it wasn't physically possible, as it was a metal nut, being held in place by a flimsy plastic backplate. But, it does the job, and actually stays secure. As my cousin put it: "I could lift the whole PC by the cooler if I wanted to".
Just make sure it is securely in, and everything is in place.

Now you are almost done. Screw in the fan to the back of your PC/radiator, and then the secondary fan on the radiator, which then the system of fans acts as a push (pushing air towards the radiator) & pull (pulling air out of the radiator) system. *A side note here: The pump would ideally be placed at the bottom of the radiator, and preferably not at the top (unlike the two pictures directly below). It isn't essential, however if you can put the pump facing downwards from the radiator, it will help the pump work more efficiently over time - see the pictures, near the end of this guide to see the pump located at the bottom of the radiator.

Anyway, once that's done, remember to plug the fans into the cooler unit, and plug the cooler itself into the CPU fan header. Make sure the Antec sign is not facing you, whilst you look at the motherboard. I initially had the air sucking into the motherboard, whereas I had to have the fair pushing out the motherboard. Again your air flow and your configuration might be different to mine, but in my case, and in most cases, you want the air to be GOING OUT of the case. Thus air being pulled from the case, and pushed out the case. Hopefully the images below should give you a better indication of what to expect (I should note that on the fans, there are little arrows, and on these arrows, it shows the air flow and direction of air - if you are confused, this is a good indication of where the air is going out from):




When you power on the cooler for the first time it will have a LOUD noise of a pump starting up, this is completely normal, give it 5-10 minutes and the pump noise will completely go silent. The reason behind the noise is bubbles being expelled from the pump and the system starting up.

Now, on another note, your motherboard, like mine, might think you are crazy as you are running an i7 with only 600-700RPM, and thus pop-up with some errors/warnings. Ignore them. In fact, go into the BIOS, and DISABLE notifications for your CPU fan. Although the figures it is saying are correct, the fact that it is "critical slow" is completely wrong - I wasn't the only one to have this problem, as it got me worried at first, but after a quick google search, my concerns were put to rest.

So now you have the cooler installed, the fans running, and the pump not making any more noise - pop in that CD, and install the software.

From then on, it is pretty much self explanatory, you can setup a custom fan profile, and can adjust the colour of the Antec.

I suggest having it on silent/extreme to test your CPU temps with Prim 95, before going for a custom profile. You have to monitor your temps and see WHEN you need to ramp the speed of the fans up. ie. when you hit 35c or 40c.

Here's my custom profile:



The colour of the Antec logo can change, depending on your settings you choose. However, I found, even after asking here on the forums, that the light stays ON, once your PC is OFF - so, I actually have my actual light OFF, all the time.

But here's some pictures with it ON:




You will notice form my pictures that the fans I have in there have changed from the stock antec ones. If you noticed that, props to you for being attentive thumb.gif

Anyway, the fans can be exchanged, and in fact I highly suggest everyone to replace them.
I had my antec fans making a loud noise when the ramp speed started hitting 1800+ RPM. I replaced the fans with 2x Corsair SP120 quiet edition (you can get the performance edition if you want too) - but the silent ones only went up to 1500RPM.
You might THINK that temps would be severely effected because of it - nop!
At 1500RPM the SP120's performed at the same TEMP levels as the Antecs at around 2200RPM. Which meant, an overall quieter system when on full load or with any sort of load.

On NO LOAD however, I found the stock antecs quieter, simply because they would drop to something like 600-800RPM, which meant they were quieter when there was no load. But seeing as I use my PC quite a bit, especially if I'm video rendering, or gaming, the stock fans would always ramp up, meaning I would be annoyed at the noise levels.

Anyway, here's some pictures of the SP120's with my Antec 920:










Finally, here are my temps with 24hr of Prime 95 at 4.5ghz OC on my i7 3770K (stock 3.5ghz):




My reviews can also be found of the Antec 920 and Corsair SP120s

In conclusion, the Antec 920 is a brilliant cooler, and runs really well. When paired with the SP120's too, it provides a cool but also silent system when gaming or video rendering.
Although the installation was a pain, it was totally worth it. Hopefully with this guide, it should make the installation of more recent builds easier to make.

I really hope this guide helped you all out! smile.gif
-Totally Dubbed
Edited by Totally Dubbed - 3/2/13 at 1:35pm
post #2 of 53
Nice guide! If I were a noob and had a 920 to install I would get it done no problem with this smile.gif

As a side note, I noticed in some of the earlier pics you had the rad installed with tubes at the top, then later it was rotated to have them at bottom. It is pretty key from what I have learned with a water cooling radiator to have the tubes at the bottom to allow any air in the system (if there is any) to make its way to the top chamber of the rad and remain there out of the water keeping the system air bubble free smile.gif
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post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideJob View Post

Nice guide! If I were a noob and had a 920 to install I would get it done no problem with this smile.gif
As a side note, I noticed in some of the earlier pics you had the rad installed with tubes at the top, then later it was rotated to have them at bottom. It is pretty key from what I have learned with a water cooling radiator to have the tubes at the bottom to allow any air in the system (if there is any) to make its way to the top chamber of the rad and remain there out of the water keeping the system air bubble free smile.gif

well I actually changed the direction, as you saw, and well noted, the radiator from top to bottom.
In other words, now it is in the ideal position.
However upon reading several guides and looking at various pictures, during my decision to flip it, there wasn't that much emphasis on where it has to be place, top bottom, or even when it is vertically facing upwards or not.

I will edit the guide, and include a side note about this - that ideally you would want the pump to be at the bottom of the radiator, but it isn't absolutely necessary smile.gif

EDIT: Done.

Oh and thanks for the compliment smile.gif!
Edited by Totally Dubbed - 11/23/12 at 12:22pm
post #4 of 53
I think it's more emphasized on custom loops where air gets into the system much more frequently/easily. With these all in one kits I hope/assume there is little to no air in the system when it's sold however there will be those few pesky air bubbles in there almost guaranteed.
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post #5 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideJob View Post

I think it's more emphasized on custom loops where air gets into the system much more frequently/easily. With these all in one kits I hope/assume there is little to no air in the system when it's sold however there will be those few pesky air bubbles in there almost guaranteed.
That's almost the same exclamations I read online!
Cheers for the confirmation!
post #6 of 53
Good guide, my setup was the same as yours so none of the vids or guides matched it, I thought something was wrong. Your right the new guide doesnt mention that locking ring at all BUT it does say that the cpu bits should be fully assembled before placing and screwing, unlike the old one where you screwed the ring in then twised the cooler bit into it, it all has to be done before placing on cpu. Your also right that those rubber bits in the ring have to be turned the right way or it wont fit, was lucky I decided to test just the ring before putting it all together so I didnt ruin my paste as I had them all the wrong way round tongue.gif

BTW when you installed the fans and radiator did you use the washers, firstly I didnt think the screws were long enough but then secondly I didnt think I had a hope in hell of keeping the washers on anyway, I cheated and bluetacked the first fan to the case (bluetacks still there) Was pure dumb luck I have my radiator hoses at the bottom, most of the vids had it there, so thought why not tongue.gif
Plus having them at the top would make the trip to my cpu a bit short, so lucky there. One thing I mentioned in another post that wasnt in the instructions was turning off all the bios fan controls, I had about 3 of them I had to turn off to get rid of a horrible buzzing due to the pump running to slow..

Good guide, I basicly did what you did with a few of your 'learning experiances' thrown in too, but if I had had your guide first I wouldnt have had a lot less stress and done the job in 20 mins instead of a lot lot longer, thanks for posting!!!

Soxy
post #7 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by soxy View Post

Good guide, my setup was the same as yours so none of the vids or guides matched it, I thought something was wrong. Your right the new guide doesnt mention that locking ring at all BUT it does say that the cpu bits should be fully assembled before placing and screwing, unlike the old one where you screwed the ring in then twised the cooler bit into it, it all has to be done before placing on cpu. Your also right that those rubber bits in the ring have to be turned the right way or it wont fit, was lucky I decided to test just the ring before putting it all together so I didnt ruin my paste as I had them all the wrong way round tongue.gif
BTW when you installed the fans and radiator did you use the washers, firstly I didnt think the screws were long enough but then secondly I didnt think I had a hope in hell of keeping the washers on anyway, I cheated and bluetacked the first fan to the case (bluetacks still there) Was pure dumb luck I have my radiator hoses at the bottom, most of the vids had it there, so thought why not tongue.gif
Plus having them at the top would make the trip to my cpu a bit short, so lucky there. One thing I mentioned in another post that wasnt in the instructions was turning off all the bios fan controls, I had about 3 of them I had to turn off to get rid of a horrible buzzing due to the pump running to slow..
Good guide, I basicly did what you did with a few of your 'learning experiances' thrown in too, but if I had had your guide first I wouldnt have had a lot less stress and done the job in 20 mins instead of a lot lot longer, thanks for posting!!!
Soxy

Hey Soxy,

Thanks for the kind words and the input.
I actually ignored putting the washers on. As when my cousin and I tried screwing in of the fans, it seemed impossible to get it tight. This was without even the fan that fitted on the case side.
End of the day, the washers are there to help with vibrations but in all honesty if I have a semi lodged fan, it would not only be noisier but also dangerous.
So yeah, I had no washers, and still don't have any installed.

I'm glad you think this guide will help others in their installation though smile.gif!
post #8 of 53
Great guide, wish i had something like this when i was trying to figure out how to install my 620. tongue.gifthumb.gif
How you liking so far?
post #9 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davayy View Post

Great guide, wish i had something like this when i was trying to figure out how to install my 620. tongue.gifthumb.gif
How you liking so far?

Thanks!
I'm liking it so far smile.gif
No problems, good temps, secure liquid cooling, I'm happy!
post #10 of 53
Hi all,

Any help would be greatly appreciated

I have recently purchased an Antec Kuler H20 920 and it contains the non colour fixtures ( same as the above install guide)

The problem I am facing is as follows:

I have installed the back plate ( using socket 1155) succesfully but when I attach the front rig plate and secure it using the provided ( recomended longer) screws, the rig plate does not secure fully with the screws tightened fully. You can push the rig plate and the back motherboard plate moves. Will this issue go away after installing the actual cooler using the locking mechanism ?

I worried that if I install the cooler and lock the mechnism the rig plate will still continue to move and I will need to reapply the thermal paste

Thanks

A
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