What is it: COOL by Corsair Manufacturer:Corsair Cost:~£160 (GBP)
I think it's fair to say that water cooling kits fall into one of two categories - they either try to integrate all the components into as small a number of parts as possible, or they simply provide all the individual components in a traditional manner. The difference is much like the difference between buying an integrated HiFi and separates - the former is the easy option but the latter almost always performs better.
It's obvious as soon as you see the multitude of components hiding in Corsair's box that they went for the second option. Inside you'll find the usual suspects, including a water block for your chosen socket (two kits are available one for socket 478/K8 and one for socket A/775) complete with the necessary bits you'll need to install it, a 120mm radiator with a mounting bracket, a 120mm Panaflo fan, a 5.25" bay mountable reservoir, a small DC powered pump, some tubing for connecting everything together and a bottle of liquid to go in the system.
We'll look at the most important components of the kit individually and see how easy they are to mount, but first let's take a look at that manual, if you're new to water cooling it's the first thing you should do!
COOL's manual is comprised of two parts, a very simple quick start guide and a CD. The guide is very attractive, it has a few words in it and some pretty pictures, though not enough to be useful on its own. We need a CD to guide us through the install procedure do we? Excellent, I'll just pop it in the computer and read it off the screen while I'm installing the kit... oh wait, d'oh! I'd like to meet the person at Corsair who though a CD manual was a good idea for a water cooling kit. It wouldmean to laugh at them but I don't think I could control myself.
This could perhaps be forgiven if Corsair decided to put a CD in the box because they wanted to exploit modern multimedia technology, maybe with a narrated video installation guide on there, and hundreds of high resolution photographs detailing the difficult bits? Nope, there's a PDF of the manual they should've printed and put in the box. Genius.
To be completely fair to Corsair I have a spare computer or two, I even have a nice tiny laptop so having the contents of the CD to hand while installing the kit wasn't an issue for me personally, but I don't think it's fair that this (or printing the manual) is an acceptable requirement to be able to install this kit.