If I had to, I would have to guess that EKWB was impressed with my review of the EK-FC7950[EN] that went live last month. Just about as soon as it went live, I got another email asking if I would like to have a look at their new CPU cooling block. During the e-mails back and forth, I did mention that all the blocks I had tested were done on the Swiftech Edge HD kit and that it would be shown in a couple of the images in this review, as I covered the setup and build of the loop. EKWB wasn't having any of that, as I was told there would be a custom kit arriving at my door with the new CPU block incorporated in it, and that it was on its way to my house.
Eagerly sitting here waiting for the new goodies, I had everything all set and ready to go. This was three weeks ago and I apologize to EK and my readers for the delay in the game, but I made a big mistake that put quite a delay on things. When I first got the loop assembled and was getting ready to fill the loop, I accidentally spilled the EK-Ekoolant on the motherboard. As much as I tried the board was done for and I had to get another one as quickly as possible. Well here we are with a replacement board and now I can get on with business as usual and bring you the EK-Supremacy CPU water block and showcase the accompanying kit.
In this review I plan to get right to it. There will not be any specifications chart because I will be explaining everything as I go along in the 80 images that you will soon be scanning through. At this point I would just like to cover the pricing of the EK Supremacy which I found locally priced at $74.95 and on EKWB.com for 69.95 Euros. As for the kit as a whole, I don't see current availability, but judging by the older EK-Kit-H30 builds a kit like you are about to see will likely be prices in the $350 range when they do release. If you aren't into water cooling, jump ahead to the test results, it may change your mind. If you are into water cooling, strap in and get comfy, this is going to be a long ride.
EK Custom Kit Packaging
Packaged in an older EK-Kit-H30 box is what my kit arrived in. You can see they covered the old label at the bottom and added the "New EK-Supremacy inside" sticker to the top of the packaging.
With most things EK, you get an orange accented package and this kit packaging keeps with the trend. There is also a hand written label showing that this kit was made especially for me, TweakTown and our readers.
The right side of the packaging is mostly the design carried over from the front. At the very bottom you will find the address and phone numbers. If you are local, feel free to give them a call. I will stick to much cheaper e-mails if I was to have any issues.
The left side of the packaging is much the same with the grey design wrapping around this side as well. At the bottom of this panel is where you find the site and support e-mail addresses to get into contact with EKWB.
The entire expanse of the back is black and offers features listed on the left in five languages. On the right is a compatibility list that doesn't apply to the Supremacy block. LGA 775 and LGA 2011 server boards need special brackets. As for the AMD side, anything from 939 to AM3+ is covered, even FM1.
Inside you can see the box is packed to the top chocked full of components for the kit I am about to be building and testing.
If you didn't notice in the last image, I even received an EKWB pen and a can-cozy that says "Cool people use EK products" with logos of their WC gear in grey and a large EK logo in the middle.
EK-Supremacy Nickel-plexi CPU Block
EK-Supremacy Nickel plexi CPU Block
The EK-Supremacy I received has a nickel base and a clear plastic top. With all the new gear from EKWB circles are the theme and it even shows on the packaging. If this one doesn't strike you right, there are five other versions of this block to be had.
Sliding the cover off the box, you have an orange inner box that displays a bit of information. EK expects that you should be an expert user to be installing the block. EK also states that damages by the block to the motherboard and CPU are the buyers issue and not theirs along with the two year warranty information at the right side.
When you pop the top of the box you are first greeted with the hardware and instruction sheet.
Protected under a layer of cardboard and between two pieces of foam, the EK-Supremacy comes shipped in a sealed plastic bag very well protected during transit, even if by itself.
Under the block you will find three plates. The one at the left is for LGA1155/1156 CPUs, the middle plastic coated one is the AMD top bracket and the one nearest to you is the LGA1366, LGA2011 and AMD back plate with a thick rubber pad under it to isolate the bracket from the motherboard.
In the kit you receive four springs and four large thumbscrews at the top of the image. There are four mounting legs for LGA2011 and four legs in the middle for all other mounting where the nylon washers are used between them and the board. At the bottom is a jet plate for LGA2011 on the left and LGA11556/1156 on the right.
It seems EKWB has teamed up with Gelid, as the included thermal paste is the Gelid GC Extreme with a label with both the Gelid and EK names on it.
Finally the EK-Supremacy Nickel-plexi CPU block is out for viewing. On the plexi top there are nine circles, one of which has a metal cap with an EK logo on it. The other two holes are threaded with G1/4 threads and the left one is the out and the one on the right is the in.
EK-Supremacy Nickel-plexi CPU Block Continued
EK-Supremacy Nickel-plexi CPU Block Continued
The EK-Supremacy is a three piece assembly with a nickel plated copper base plate with the clear plexi top sandwiching the Intel mounting bracket. As you can see the top of the block is screwed on through the base, but I can only guess that these holes are for LEDs, if you want to add them.
The bottom of the block where the CPU will eventually make contact is covered with a paper sticker to keep anything that may happen to the block out of the packaging. In the box I doubt this will be damaged at all.
Removing the sticker and placing a spring and thumbscrew on the base, you can see by the perfect reflection how finely polished this base is out of the box. Against a razor it is very flat and level with the only deviation being at the outside edge of the four screws.
Inside of the base, there are over 50 micro channels to give this block its low resistance rating and some 20% improvement over the Supreme blocks. The water flows in the center of the fins and out and around to be pulled out via the large channel around the outside.
Inside of the top you see the J1 jet plate which strangely isn't assigned a specific CPU assignment like the other two and the thick rubber washer to seal the three components together. This is the perfect time to drop in the J2 plate for my LGA1155 CPU or swap out for the AMD mounting bracket.
It's a bit tough to see, but you are looking at the back of the "in" threads. You can see the end is blocked off diverting all in flow through the jet plate and through the slits in the base plate of the block.
I removed the J1 plate since the instructions say to use the J2 plate, which is now in the top, for my specific CPU and this is the plate I will be using for the testing.
The front of the accompanying instruction show the block in an exploded view at the top with explanations of the components and next to is there is the talk of the jet plates and uses. At the bottom they start with the disassembly for a new plate or mounting bracket.
On the flip side is where you get to the mounting instructions. These aren't complicated, but pay attention to the fine details as specific sockets require slightly different bits of the installation kit.
EK-BAY SPIN Reservoir CSQ
Deviating from the white with grey circles and an orange accent, this time it is light blue for the EK-BAY SPIN Reservoir CSQ. The one I received is comprised of a black acetal body with a plexi cover on the front.
Removing the outer sleeve exposes the same as what we saw on the Supremacy packaging. EK wants you to be very mechanical and not damage anything when trying to make a claim against them with the two year warranty. Don't be abusive and you should be fine with mediocre mechanical skills.
On the top shelf inside the box you find the included hardware and paperwork on the first layer.
Underneath the hardware and cardboard, again with layers of foam for added protection, the EK reservoir ships in a sealed plastic bag to deliver it without damage.
Even the reservoir is sealed from the factory. Again if your seal is broken that means it's been tampered with and I would get right with EKWB if that is true. I wouldn't just use it and hope for the best.
The front of the EK-BAY SPIN matches the EK-Supremacy with the circles cut into the etched plexi front. Inner mixed with all the circles are the MAX and MIN lines for the coolant and the name and metal EK logo at the bottom. There is also a white fan-like device to show the flow of the coolant on the left.
This reservoir will take up two bays for installation and offers four holes on both sides of it for ultra secure mounting when all eight holes are used.
EK-Bay SPIN Reservoir CSQ Continued
To make life and filling the loop simple, as long as you leave enough tubing to pull the res. out of a case a bit, you use the large hole in the top of it to fill or top off the loop.
In the back there is one inlet and it is clearly marked IN. As for the other three G1/4 threaded holes to the left, they are all outlets.
The water comes in at the bottom left and moves the water flow meter at the left and then travels to the top. It then is cascaded down the entire front of the res and shots toward the furthest outlet to the right. If I were you, I would use one of the middle two outlets.
I jumped ahead and grabbed some of the hardware to show you that only the filler cap and two outlet plugs are included with the EK-BAY SPIN, if bought separately. You do get fittings in the kit.
In the hardware bag you are given an Allen wrench for the screws in the front of the res. And a larger one for the fill cap and outlet plugs. The eight black screws with Phillip's heads are to mount this into the chassis.
The reservoir manual starts with a description of the BAY SPIN followed by how to remove the face plate. Once the plate is back on, it then mounts through the sides with the provided screws.
On the back it covers the inlet and outlets on the res. and this should be a tip not to use the last outlet on the res, but I found out the hard way. The last bit of information and the last image covers how you are to fill the loop through the EK-BAY SPIN reservoir.
Laing DDC-3.1 TPMP
The Laing DDC-3.1 pump does not come in a box, but instead is wrapped in bubble wrap to keep it protected during transit.
Out of the packaging you can see this pump is a 12V only pump when the Molex plug is connected for power. To give you a sense to the RPMs of the pump, the blue lead with a 3-pin fan connection should plug into the CPU fan header on the motherboard. When you look, it should be 3800 to 3850 RPM.
Both sides of the pump have the large mounting areas with a U shaped hole to easily slide this under a screw and washer. I am also now aware that this pump is DazMode PC Watercooling Gear genuine and secure.
The DDC3.1 comes stock with 3/8" fittings in the top of it. The top one going to the center of the pump is the inlet and the lower one marked with a flow direction arrow is the outgoing side of the Laing pump.
EK-DDC X-TOP CSQ
The EK-DDC X-TOP CSQ can be added to the DDC-3.1 pump with relative ease. As you may have guessed, since the packaging and CSQ name apply, this is a plexi pump top to match the rest of the kit.
The color has changed to hot pink, but the information provided here is the same as the rest of the products. If the product is broken or faulty get with EKWB as soon as possible. Otherwise the two year warranty is against workmanship and parts, not anything you do accidentally.
At the top of this box you find as new set of screws and the paperwork to tell you how to replace the pump top.
Just like the rest of the kit that comes in a box, there are layers of foam and a bag containing the parts within. This is so light though, unless something really bad was to happen, it is highly unlikely to get damaged.
It's a bit hard to tell, but this is looking at the inside of the pump top. The plexi is cut to accept the top of the pump impeller and the rubber O-ring. The water is pulled into the top through the middle and spins out of the right side where the notch sticks out.
Both the top and this side of the X-TOP are threaded with G1/4 threads to accept any standard barbs or fittings. This top should also significantly improve the pump flow since it is now flowing directly into the center and right out the side without the tight bends and narrow fittings of the stock top.
I had to pimp the lean on the screw to get a somewhat straight look at the front or top of the pump top. This time there are only six circles to match the theme with the inlet being one of them. At the bottom the name of the top and the metal EK logo are also present.
The screws sent with the block top are longer than the default screws. Since the plexi top is so much thicker, be sure you are trying to mount the X-TOP with the correct hardware.
The instructions are pretty simple to get this top swapped out. Remove the old screws and top, make sure the O-ring is back in place and then using the new screws mount the plexi top to the pump.
When it is fully assembled you should have something that looks very similar to my Laing DDC-3.1 with the EK-DDC X-TOP combination.
EK-CoolStream RADIATOR XTX 360 Triple Radiator
I had to lay the box on its side to get it into the image where you could still read the sticker. As you may have guessed, this is the radiator that will be removing the heat from the loop.
I wanted to be sure to get an image of the specifications with this radiator so I didn't have to type out the dimensions, weight or included contents that are in the EK-CoolStream RADIATOR packaging.
When you first open the box you are greeted with a warning message that grabs your attention right away. This is just to remind you or rather demand of you, that you use the correct length screws and don't stupidly damage the core of the assembly by using ones too long for the job.
From this angle it looks like any ordinary triple 120mm radiator, but of course one with a low FPI rating, as I believe this one is a 10 FPI radiator. Notice that on the left end, the ports are already plugged.
The reason there are metal plugs in the radiator is to give you options. While this side has plastic plugs intended to be removed and replaced with fittings, there is no reason you can't use them on either side.
It is very cool that even the long sides of the EK-CoolStream RADIATOR XTX 360 have the same design from the packaging. Circles would have been cool too, but this radiator will also likely be going into other kits as well.
Now we are looking at the top of the radiator if the port end is the bottom of it. Not only do you get more of the EK logo and design work, here is a fill port to ease the filling of the loop if you have easy access to this. If you pre-fill the radiator, it takes much less time to prime the loop.
The hardware included offers 12 short screws with an Allen wrench. These screws are to mount the radiator to a case and the wrench of for all the caps. The bag on the right has 12 longer screws made specifically for 25mm thick fans and this radiator.
With the fans now going on, I took the time to get an image of the spacing. This offset between the fan and fins will allow the fan to build some pressure before the 10 FPI arrangement starts to slow things down as air passes through it.
I skipped ahead by grabbing the included fans, but I thought the final look at the EK-CoolStream RADIATOR XTX 360 should have the fans on to give you a better idea of what you are getting here.
Other Included Hardware
You are given roughly ten feet of clear tubing with a 3/8" inner diameter and a 7/16" outside diameter to make all of your runs. Rest assured this is plenty of tubing even if you need to have the radiator externally mounted.
In the kit I was given nine black nickel plated compression fittings for each of the components. To use these you slide the outer part over the tubing and then push the tubing on the barb until it hits the bottom. Once there you just screw on the outer ring.
Unlike the large bottles I was given with the EK-7950 block, in this kit you get a much smaller bottle of concentrated EK-EKoolant. For best results it says to mix the entire bottle with 900mL of distilled water.
Of course they have to send fans. With the kit I received, there is a trio of the EK-FAN Silent 120, 1600 RPM fans to put on the radiator.
On the back are the specs for each fan. At 1600 RPM they deliver 58.8 CFM and 1.7mmH2O of static pressure. With the low FPI radiator, these should offer a great mix of silence and performance to this kit.
As you can see by the sticker on the back of the fans, the sticker is by EKWB while the fan is built by Gelid, solidifying the thought that they were in this together. Each fan has a 3-pin connection for power and come with four case screws, each.
The Build and Finished Product
The mounting plate for the back of the CPU to go ahead and start putting on the EK-Supremacy needs the outer section of rubber from the AMD/Intel back plate. This washer also needs lifted from this plate shown to the correct plate for my LGA1155 CPU.
With the washer on the motherboard, I aligned the LGA1155/1156 back plate. You can see it is more specific with the holes drilled for the socket retention screws. Now we need to flip the board over.
Grabbing the four white nylon washers and sticking them on the short end of the retention screws isolated the motherboard as you screw them down finger tight.
Once the screws are tight, add some of the TIM, set the block gently on the CPU and install the springs on the top of the block mounting bracket.
At this point you take the cover style thumb screws and in a cross pattern, you tighten all four of these until the threads stop. At this point the EK-Supremacy is ready for compression fittings and the rest of the kit.
I grabbed the radiator, reservoir, pump and the Supremacy and screwed the fittings into the threads without the threaded caps in place. This way I don't tighten them both and loosen a fitting trying to remove the caps.
After a bit of tube cutting and some easy routing I filled the radiator and the reservoir and have already primed the loop and got rid of the major air trapped in the system.
What I really like about all of this new kit with the plexi tops is that when you do run colored coolant like the EK-EKoolant, watching it run through all the components is actually pretty cool for a guy who has been using plain distilled water for years.
With the pump active, the flow meter spins fast and you can see the water being forced across the front and most of the air is driven to the right with the flow. This is why if you are using that fitting to the right, it will take forever to bleed out the loop. I ended up on one of the center outlets as the air doesn't get to them near as easily.
Here is the full kit all assembled and running for the first time and with no leaks I might add. I do have to say this EK water cooling kit with the Supremacy, all of the CSQ components and the blue EKoolant matches the rig very nicely, I just hope it performs as well as it looks.
The Test System and Thermal Results
Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows. All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of 24.5-25°C and humidity is maintained to 35% sometimes less.For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. Speed Step is active and the processor idles at 1600 MHz and loads at 3500 MHz for the stock settings. I also set the memory to run at 1600 MHz for stock. As for the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5 GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans. This allows me to gauge the lowest and highest fan ratings for my charts.
At idle, whether stock or overclocked, this custom kit with the EK-Supremacy sits right near ambient temperatures as one would expect from a CPU only on such a robust system.
Using IBT sets the EK-Supremacy and the accompanying kit ahead of all of the competition. At stock it is a degree cooler than the closest competition of another loop and overclocked it took the lead by two degrees.
Noise Level Results
The noise levels aren't chart topping like the thermal results, but still drops into 12th place overall. Nothing to complain about with a 31 dB reading with 7.5V running through the EK-FAN Silent 120s and this result is with three fans running in front of the meter.
The surprise in noise levels came when I switched over to 12V being supplied to them. At first I thought my fan controller was faulty even after checking the voltage to be sure, so I even tried with a three fan adapter off of one Molex power source. Even then I got the same results and these fans climbed in the charts toward the top delivering only 43 dB of noise at the full 1600 RPM.
The Swiftech Drive HD kit sat at the top of the charts so long that I wasn't sure I was going to find a cooling system sold retail that would beat those results. EKWB has done just that with brute force in an elegant packaging. EK designed the system to be high flow and to a certain degree it is exactly that. The combination of the thick radiator and fans and all the matching components like the pump top, block top and reservoir plexi pieces, it just adds that certain something that will take a standard custom loop over the top in a build. Bottom line is that the charts don't lie about performance and beyond aesthetics the kit has to function and it does that well with the best thermal results of a loaded processor in these charts.
The whole kit is relatively easy to assemble or disassemble the components as long as you are somewhat mechanical. If you can turn a wrench and follow the directions, there isn't anything about this kit that will slow you down. From replacing the jet in the block, on to adding a block top, even cutting the tubing and assembling it on the compression fitting couldn't have been easier. The best part about the compression fittings is that just finger tight works without leaks so there is no need to go at them with pliers and mar them up. The only thing that is an immediate drawback is the sheer size of the radiator and having two free bays for the reservoir. If your case is accommodating of those two things, the EK-Supremacy and subsequent kit is top notch with only a few slight issues.
The biggest issue is the reservoir. With the way the water flows across the entire top of the reservoir, there is no place for an outlet that won't immediately suck in air bubbles. I had the outlet on the right most port and the air flowed through the loop as if there was no reservoir to even catch it as it passed. Even when I moved to the protected center section of the reservoir, I was still drawing in air through the loop for some four days before it finally settled out. I actually had to make a Molex that I modded the wires to run the pump at 7V for a while to slow down the flow while eliminating the bubbles.Compounding this issue is the sheer strength of the DDC-3.1 with the X-TOP on it. No matter if I put the pump after the radiator, the EK-Supremacy or the BAY SPIN reservoir, the pump would almost collapse the inlet line due to the amount of suction the pump requires for intake. If there was any adjustments made to the reservoir and maybe a low power adapter for the pump would definitely reduce at least half of the issue. For the collapsing of the tubes, it has a lot to do with the choice of thin walled tubing as well. So maybe the better move is to 3/8" fittings with a 3/8" Id and ½" OD tubing. Either way this should be addressed in some form before this kit goes to retail channels.
As for the EK-Supremacy, alone it is going to set you back €65.95 if you are to buy direct from EKWB. If you are in the States like I am, most likely you will be at JabTech looking at this version of the EK-Supremacy for $74.95 and it shows they are in stock. As for the entire kit; for what I assume is going to be at least $350 to obtain one, while considerably more expensive than the Swiftech solution, it is cleaner to look at with the compression fittings, but there is a lot more kit arriving on the EK solution. The block top, reservoir and the compression fittings will likely make up that $100 difference.All things considered, I think EK is on point with the pricing of these kits. If it wasn't the coolest looking pre-picked kit on the market, it also just happens to perform the best and not impose with mass amounts of noise, the EK-Supremacy and any kit based on it is the kit to have, really.
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