Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Gentoo installation supports 3 types of installation methods called stages. Stage 1 consists in getting the kernel sources, stage tarball and all your programs source code from the internet and compiling them. This requires advanced user knowledge and lots of time spent in the installation process. Installation in stage1 can literarily take days or up to a week, depending on the amount of packages chosen. Even though the time spent compiling is huge the system built is going to be very stable and fast. Stage 2 offers partially compiled components but still can take a long time to compile, less than stage 1 install but still a long time. Stage 3 uses precompiled kernel sources and its tarball contains a minimal Gentoo environment. Installing from stage 3 is less time consuming but downloading all packages from the internet and compiling them can take up to a day to finish the installation, in some cases even more.
The method I personally used and was content whit it was the Networkless installation method. This means that the installer will install packages precompiled from the Live CD. This takes a few hours, not much compared to the other installation methods.
The firs step in the installation is getting the Live CD from Gentoo`s download page. Next is to burn the image on to a Blank CD and boot the Live CD.