Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
EK offers an LCS kit that offers performance close to a professional liquid cooling kit. Really this is pretty much enthusiast cooling performance we're looking at. The kit does forfeit on acoustics. However, it's not a large deal as the extra capacity in cooling allows you to tweak fan RPM a bit. Lower that fan RPM in the BIOS, and you'll still have excellent CPU temperature at far lower noise levels. With that mindset of 'enough cooling' versus 'sheer silence,' things work out in a very balanced manner. The cooler in its default configuration does not disappoint in terms of performance; in fact, even at 1.40 Volts for the CPU tweaked, I'd be fine using this cooler for long bursts of time as, with a 95W TDP processor, you're still at 80 degrees C. However, the cooler does become noisy as at one point; the coolant will heat up, requiring more airflow.
We mentioned it already; the cooler is more vociferous than some others. I have made remarks about these Vardar fans in the past already, great airflow, but they certainly are not silent. At defaults, this is a silent enough product; on our ASUS Sabertooth, we leave the default PWM based fan profile for what it is (not the AUTO setting. Passing 1.30 Volts (tweaked), the noise levels jump up greatly. Ergo we recommend tweaking the fan profile to a setting you deem acceptable. That is likely to be under 700 RPM. You can create a delta with a max ramp of 700 RPM. This should be enough to keep things silent, and the cooling temperature acceptable even with a decent tweak applied to your processor. We'd classify the cooler as an enthusiast-class product when it comes to cooling; capacity is definitely large enough for even a hefty overclock.
The overall looks are excellent as far as I am concerned. The mostly black design makes the rad/fans/pump look nice. EK is subtle with the usage of their logo; we appreciate that very much as we do not like a raging Christmas tree with flashing logos. The rest is subtle as well; we like the sleeved tubing and all dark cabling. You can go as far as you want too with the aRGB fans; they do need a controller on your motherboard, or you need to purchase an external controller though, something not needed with, for example, a Corsair series LCS, that also allows for greater control through their iCUE software suite. The one thing you have to accept is the spaghetti of wires. I mean, six fans, each with two wires, is a bit of a nightmare. The included FAN/RGB hub helps greatly in that. I would have liked to see the fan wiring a notch longer, though, so we can more easily tuck away the FAN HUB anywhere inside the chassis. Right now, that is ample but workable at best.
The kit is easy to install with the mounting system supplied, it's prefilled, and TIM is already applied. It's one of the easiest and most comfortable kits on the market to use and install. The black design will make this kit match up nicely with any PC. It is simply a good alternative to heatpipe coolers with the added benefits of being fairly quiet whilst offering very nice looks. Do keep in mind that you'll need the clearance for that inside your chassis if you use the six fans. Especially top-mounted LCS units can bump into the motherboard fairly quickly. Check before buying.
The kit as tested today will cost, with VAT included, 198.90€ for the 360 version. For that money, you will purchase 'enthusiast' class cooling as this kit really was remarkable.
The new Elite version of the EK-AIO series succeeded in impressing me truly. The cooling performance is excellent, mainly thanks to the new design, but surely also thanks to the six fans applied to the 360mm radiator. This creates a push/pull configuration. And that means that at low and silent RPM, you can have that first-class cooling capacity. When the fans are configured normally on a tweaked system, they can become noisy. But keep my remark in mind, you do not need six fans at high RPM at all, similar to traditional liquid cooling. While the numbers at default sit in the top-3 already, it's the additional capacity available you'll see in overclocked conditions where the unit makes a real difference. Pricing is not cheap, but we do deem it reasonable, really, especially with six the aRGB fans and cooling block in mind. You do need to light them up yourself through the mobo or with an extra RGB controller (5V). Armed with a terrific 5 years warranty, we have to say that this was one of the better performing LCS units we have tested in a while. Tweak that fan RPM a bit, and sheer silent acoustics come in close proximity as well. All in all, the kit comes highly recommended by Guru3D. The kit is on preorder now and will be available starting November 23rd.
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