You might be surprised by the news that EKWB has entered the All In One liquid cooling market with the Predator 240 and Predator 360 systems. After all, EKWB (Edvard Konig Water Blocks) is a specialist liquid cooling company that sells components for custom cooling loops, rather than full systems, so why would they try to compete with the likes of Corsair, NZXT, Antec, Alpenfohn, Cooler Master, Fractal Design and the rest?
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The answer is that EKWB is playing a different game to those other brands who might visit an OEM such as Asetek, specify a cooling system and then market the thing to the masses. EKWB has assembled a system from a selection of its own components to save you the trouble of choosing the correct components and also removing the hassle of assembling, filling and bleeding the system.
EK-XLC Predator 240 Technical specifications:
Dimensions: 295mm (L) x 133mm (W) x 68mm (H).
Fan type: EK-Vardar F4-120ER Predator Edition (550-2200rpm).
Tube length: 400mm.
Fitting type: EK-ACF Fitting 10/16mm.
Coolant type: EK-Ekoolant EVO Clear.
Pump type: Laing DDC3.1 6W.
Total liquid capacity: 290ml.
CPU socket compatibility: Intel LGA-1150/1151/1155/1156. Intel LGA-2011(-3).
EK-XLC Predator 240.
EK-TIM Ectotherm (1g syringe).
Main Power and PWM signal cable.
Torx T20 key.
The list of components is detailed on the packaging, as you can see in our photos:
EK Supremacy MX water block.
EK CoolStream PE 240 copper radiator.
2x EK Vardar F4-120ER fan.
EK PWM fan controller.
4x EK ZMT 10mm/16mm fittings.
EK Ekoolant EVO.
EK ZMT black tubing.
Laing DDC3 pump.
That list of parts adds up to 249 Euros (approx £177) so if you buy the Predator 240 from EK for 244 Euros (approx £173) you're not really saving much money, but are instead saving yourself the trouble of assembling and filling the system.
When you look at the EK Predator 240 you will see a beefy 38mm thick copper radiator, a pair of Vardar fans, the large diameter flexible tubing and that lovely translucent CPU water block. Predator is visually impressive but what EKWB is really selling here is convenience as the system arrives fully assembled and also offers you the ability to upgrade your cooling system in the future.
The model name XLC is derived from ‘Xpandable Liquid Cooling'. With the Predator 240 you have to undo a union, add in a graphics block and another length of hose and then refill with coolant. The Predator 360 uses a quick break union in one of the hoses that allows you to add a pre-filled EKWB graphics block in a matter of moments.
It isn't entirely plain sailing. If you are using Predator on an Intel LGA115x system you have to swap the stock back plate for one supplied by EKWB and if you have the ‘wrong' type of LGA2011 motherboard you may have to swap the mounting screws for an alternate set. Installing the Predator 240 on the Asus Sabertooth X79 we used for testing turned out to be very easy as the water block clamps to the CPU frame, the radiator mounts in the case, and then we simply connected the PWM and SATA power. The job probably took ten minutes from beginning to end.
It is worth pointing out that the Phanteks Enthoo ATX case is ideal for this particular installation as the radiator mount in the top of the case uses a sliding framework that gives you excellent access to the eight screws. Furthermore the mounts are offset to move the radiator away from your motherboard. If you use a case that lacks space at the top you may well find the thickness of the EK radiator compels you to mount the hardware at the front of the case instead.
EKWB has worked hard to tidy up the details of the Predator cooler. The fans and pump connect to a PWM hub that is integrated in the radiator assembly, leaving one fan connector available for a cooling upgrade.
We compared the EK-XLC Predator 240 with a Corsair H110i GT which is built around a thin 280mm radiator (27mm compared to 38mm for Predator). The CPU in our test system is an Intel core i7-4820K and we ran it first at stock clock (maximum Turbo 3.9GHz at 1.2V) and then overclocked to 4.5GHz at 1.4V. This added about 100W to the system power draw and clearly increased the cooling requirement of the PC.
One subtle difference is that we ran the Corsair in Silent mode in Corsair's Link software as this keeps the cooling fans nice and quiet. Balanced mode also works well but Full is unbelievably noisy. By contrast the Predator was set to Maximum in the BIOS (as there is no USB connection or software to configure) and we then relied on the PWM connection to manage fan and pump speeds.
You can see the results in our graph above but the differences between the two coolers are small.
At stock clocks both coolers idle at 18 degrees and under full load the CPU is at 33 degrees with the Predator and 35 degrees with the Corsair.
When the CPU is overclocked the CPU idles at 22 degrees with the Predator and rises to 55 degrees. The figures for the Corsair are 24 degrees and 60 degrees.
While the EKWB Predator is consistently a few degrees cooler than the Corsair H110i GT it is pretty insignificant in the great scheme of things. To put it another way, we were gratified to see the EKWB Predator cooler perform well as we expected nothing less however we were also impressed by the efficacy of the much cheaper Corsair system.
The EKWB EK-XLC Predator 240 All In One Watercooler is damn impressive. It looks gorgeous, feels like quality engineering and is easy to install in your PC. Admittedly you might have to swap over the CPU back plate or change the LGA2011 mounting screws but that shouldn't pose a problem.
You need to take care to ensure there is enough space at the top of your case for the radiator and fans to clear your motherboard and memory. This is particularly true if you are using a small or slender case in which instance you might find it easier to mount the radiator at the front and not at the top.
We were very impressed by the way the Predator 240 cooled our overclocked Core i7-4820K with the minimum of fuss and also with very little noise. The PWM control of the fans and low pump noise combine to make this cooling system an absolute treat for your ears.
In addition to the performance of the Predator 240 we like the fact that you can expand the cooling loop with a graphics block. If you feel the urge you can also add a coolant reservoir or change the hoses for clear tubing with coloured coolant.
You can be confident the Predator 240 will have a good lifespan as the quality of the engineering is evident and the components can be serviced or replaced as necessary.
We have no doubt some people will buy Predator 240 to cool their Haswell or Skylake CPU purely because they love the look and feel of the hardware. If you have the cash to spare that makes perfect sense to us but you will get better value for money if you are cooling an LGA2011 CPU or considering the addition of GPU cooling to your system.
Buy from Overclockers UK for £168.95 inc vat HERE.
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- Excellent cooling performance.
- Low noise levels.
- Can be expanded by adding a GPU block.
- Very tidy installation.
- Superb build quality.
- Comes assembled with fans installed.
- Price is double a regular All In One.
- Alternate mounting screws required for some LGA2011 motherboards.
- The thickness of the radiator and fan package may cause mounting problems in some cases.
- Only one spare fan header when two would be better.
- No support for AMD.
KitGuru says: EKWB has delivered an Intel-only custom loop that looks fantastic and cools very well – however it comes at a price.