The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
EKWB is one of those companies that truly needs no introduction. If you are not aware of who they are, either you never pondered a water cooled PC, or the rock you live under is too thick for good Wi-Fi reception. From as far back as we can recall, EKWB has been one of those companies offering really desirable products. We have spent years looking at, being jealous of, drooling on our desk about, and in all ways appreciating what EKWB has been offering for years. We also like that EKWB does not sit on the same aging designs like certain companies that are no longer in the game. EKWB is always trying to stay as relevant to water cooling needs as possible, which is why they remain one of the top three names in water cooling products.
Quite a bit of time has passed since we last tested one of EKWB's CPU water blocks; it was back on the older i7 2600K based system. From what we recall of our testing of that original Supremacy block, it was able to take over, and stay at the top of our charts for some time. Our avid readers know we have been finding more and more companies willing to send us water cooling products as of this past year. So, now not only does EKWB have Swiftech to go up against, but we also have a few other kits from European makers to give us a much better feel for what EKWB is delivering this time around.
The cooler you are about to see is one of EK's latest and greatest CPU water blocks. It is indeed an "evolution" of the last block we saw from them, which is why it sports the name: Supremacy EVO. We were given the Clear CSQ copper/Plexi, which means it keeps the ring logo we have been seeing lately, but rather than sporting a matte finish, the clear top has been polished and the multitude of rings are removed from the top. It also means that we have an un-plated base, where it is left in its natural state.
There are many versions of this block, with various colors of Plexi tops. There are even full metal versions, and versions with solid black or white Acetal tops. So, even if the more vanilla version of the EKWB Supremacy EVO Clear CSQ copper/Plexi water block gets your attention, but you are looking for a bit more flavor, EK has you covered. Now let's see what the EVO brings forth in CPU water blocks, and find out exactly what EKWB is doing with the Supremacy EVO.
The chart we were able to find for the Supremacy EVO is pretty basic, but then again, once you know what a CPU water block is all about, there isn't really much information you need for them. The EVO ships ready to install on Intel sockets from LGA775 through LGA2011, and V3. However, for server boards that require narrow ILM mounting, a separate mounting plate is required. As for AMD, there is a bracket supplied in the box to offer Socket 939 through AM3+, and FM2+ sockets.
In the box, we find the Supremacy EVO water block. In our instance, the base is left in its natural copper form, all of the top mounting plates are black painted steel, and the top is polished clear Plexi. As we said earlier, there are thirteen variations of the Supremacy EVO to appeal to anyone's aesthetic choices, including the older CSQ ring design.
Along with all of the hardware, and the optional mounting plates, we are also supplied with a 1.5 gram tube of Gelid GC-Extreme thermal grease. The last couple of facts to cover here are that it comes threaded with G1/4 threads, so fittings, barbs, or any adapters will fit without issue. Also, since the top is still made of clear Plexi in our version, there are a pair of 3mm holes in one edge of the block to easily slide in some LEDs to enhance the appearance and match your system theme.
Finding any version of the Supremacy EVO water block is really simple. You have the option to buy directly from EK, where they have the version we are testing listed at €62.95, including VAT. For those on this side of the pond, that is roughly $80 USD. As we look at a few of the major water cooling e-tailers that are located, and will definitely ship these block to anywhere in the U.S., we are not shocked to see the listed prices. As for the Supremacy EVO we are testing, we see it is listed for just less than $75. If you plan to dress up the options package with nickel-plating, a colored clear top, or a solid black or white top, expect to pay just slightly over $80 for any of those versions. Considering most relevant water blocks run in the range of $50 to $110 to obtain, we feel that this EKWB solution is right in the average range for cost, so we are already off to a really good start.
Packaging is typical EKWB, with a white backdrop and orange highlights. Because the Supremacy EVO is a CSQ version, the box also has the same rings as the block, but that sticker says this is a new updated design. Right at the bottom, we are informed that this is the nickel/Plexi version, but that is not true.
On this side, we find a QR-code that takes you to the product page at EKWB. To the right of that we see the product naming, that this is a CPU water clock, and again they show we should have the nickel/Plexi variation rather than the copper/Plexi that is inside.
The entire box has circles on it to remind you of the original CSQ design. We also find the company information for support, the standard site, and even their address and telephone numbers if you need to make contact with them.
EK uses the back of the package to show some technical data, which is essentially the features list. After repeating this information three more times, over to the right we find there is also a contents section showing us what comes with the EVO, and an indication that fittings are not included.
Upon opening the inner package that slides out of the white sleeve, we are greeted with a thick bag of hardware under the instruction sheet. The block is underneath all of this, plus another layer of cardboard to keep it safe and damage free.
After removing the goodies and opening the lower section, we find the Supremacy EVO resting on a thin layer of dense foam to protect the base during transit. We also find that the block is sealed in a tamper-proof bag after it has been tested in the factory and passes quality control.
EK Supremacy EVO Clear CSQ Copper/Plexi CPU Water Block
Fresh out of the sealed bag, we see the Supremacy EVO Clear CSQ has eliminated all of the rings, and has a polished finish this time. The inlet and outlets are clearly marked, positioned horizontally, and are G1/4 threaded. The blue circle is actually a film protecting the brushed aluminum logo underneath it.
The top and bottom edges of the Plexi top are smooth and flat, but as we look at the right side of the Plexi, we see that the Supremacy EVO naming has been cut right into the top.
The left edge of the Plexi top has two 3mm holes drilled into it, one near the top, and another near the bottom, to give users the option of LED illuminating this clear top.
As we flip the block over, we see that EKWB is still using the large cover to protect the finish of the base and make sure oxidation does not occur in the box.
Under that sticker, we find a very finely polished and very smooth copper base. The area where the reflection of the thumbscrew shows on the surface is the high point of the block, as it is slightly convex. The angle used from the center follows all the way to the edge, until the bevel is reached.
After the removal of the four black painted, copper screws, we can see the micro channels cut into the base. This is the same design as the one cut into the base of the original Supremacy, and of course, the thick o-ring is what seals the block top to the bottom.
Looking inside of the Plexi top, the first thing we notice is the steel jet plate that can be swapped out for another one in the kit, depending on the CPU used under it.
Going even further, we find that not only is there an option to change the jet plate, but there is also a removable insert that can also be swapped out to allow for variations in flow needed for specific sockets.
Accessories and Documentation
In this image you can see the top nuts and springs to secure the block. Below that are the universal standoffs screws that go into the back plate, and to their right are the four for the LGA2011 and V3 sockets. At the bottom, we find the optional jet plate with a 0.3mm opening where the default plate is 0.25mm, a wrench, and washers to isolate the motherboard.
There are also two back plates in this kit. The one to the left is specific for LGA115X sockets only. The one on the right is for AMD, and Intel LGA775 and 1366 mounts. Under this plate, there is a two piece rubber pad that comes apart for the LGA115X usage, and stays together for the bracket it is under currently.
As we alluded to earlier, there is the AMD top plate. To use this, you need to disassemble the block, and after removing the copper base, the mounting plate can be swapped out.
The part like this we saw already in the block was what is referred to as insert one, making this insert two. From the instructions, we gather that insert one is designed specifically for Intel, but this insert two is designed to be used with an AMD processor.
The instructions are essentially one sheet of paper with print on both sides. It does a very good job with its text descriptions to aid in getting through the renderings provided. It even makes sure to tell you at the appropriate time, before installation, to verify the correct insert, and jet plate are being used. We also received a tube of Gelid thermal compound.
Since the Supremacy EVO cannot cool a CPU all on its own, EKWB has sent along some accompanying goodies to test the block with. We received the CoolStream PE 240mm radiator, the DDC 3.2 PWM X-Res 100 pump/reservoir combo, and some clear tubing. We also get a jug of Ekoolant Pastel White concentrate made by Mayhems, and a compression fitting to help keep the installation looking clean.
Installation and Finished Product
To get the Supremacy EVO installed, we first needed to grab the LGA115X backplate, and the section of the rubber isolation pad that goes along with it. Of course, we have already performed the balancing act of setting the standoffs in the plate.
Before we go too far, and this is no longer visible, we wanted to show the standoffs installed, along with the white washers that need to go on to protect the motherboard.
To get where we are now, we added thermal paste, set the block over the standoffs, dropped the springs over them, and tightened down the four thumb nuts. Now there is only one thing left to do.
Since we are already planning out the rest of the build, we grabbed a pair of the EK CSQ compression fittings and screwed them in hand tight, letting the o-rings do their job, and not burying the fittings with a wrench or pliers.
We also grabbed the DDC 3.2 PWM X-Res 100, and got it ready for use. This means cutting and installing the mesh at the bottom, inserting the EK diverter plate inside of the reservoir, and lastly, adding more of the compression fittings to the pump.
We also pulled the Cool Stream PE 240mm radiator out of the box, removed the plastic inserts, and replaced those with the last pair of CSQ fittings. We did not get fans with this shipment, but that will not be an issue, as we have many to use.
After arranging all of the gear, since the loop was still bleeding off the air, we decided it was time to remove the blue film from all of the logos. We can see that the pastel white concentrate not only fills the tubes and reservoir, but it is also very visible in the Supremacy EVO as well.
Since the block was so far away in our last image, we decided to get up close and personal for this image. Not only does the outside ring of already heated coolant show clearly, but in the center as the coolant enters the block, it is also very visible, and offers a very cool aesthetic that many will appreciate.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results
Test System Setup
To see our testing methodology, and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for that information.
For this sort of testing, while we limit the fan speed, we do allow the pump to roll at full speed. With this kit, we found the DDC 3.2 spinning at 4500 RPM, and emitting only a slight hum. This allowed the EKWB Supremacy EVO to jump up near the top of the list with the 48 degree results in our stock testing.
Considering the other parts we used are nothing super special, that is not to downplay EKWB quality, but we could have assembled similar components from other makers and would have likely gotten very similar results. With our overclock now in play, we find the Supremacy EVO steps up another notch as it settles in third place with the 66.91 degree average in our testing.
We are not including a noise level test, as there were no fans included, and this will change with everyone's personal preference in fan choice. Looking in our pile-o-fans, we grabbed a pair of Swiftech Helix-120-BW-PWM fans to use in testing. Just for reference, these fans spun at 1200 RPM for the stock testing, and they were recorded spinning at 1800RPM to gain the results we see above.
EKWB and their Supremacy EVO prove once again that they are more than capable of some of the best performance offered in water cooling. The Supremacy EVO looks much better with the revised Clear CSQ design. We can't say we can recall any one specific block that is, or was offered in thirteen different configurations of plating, Plexi color choice, and Acetal tops, and of course, various options with or without nickel plating. So, while we did test the more vanilla version, there are plenty of options to choose from to help keep a seamless lighting or color scheme throughout your system as you add this new block.
Everything about this block is done in typical EKWB fashion. EKWB offers all the hardware needed for most users out there, and even for ILM needs upon request; they even offer the optional mounting plate. When it comes to the design, offering various inserts and jet plates to maximize its effectiveness is also something not everyone does; most companies just send them as-is, and you get what you get. The mating surface is done well, and is finely polished and clean right out of the box. As far as mounting it to the board, while the backplate took some time to screw into place, the rest of the installation was a snap, and the thumb nuts are very easy to use. Even when it comes down to filling and bleeding the loop, with all of the tight spaces, it was ready to go with only about 10 minutes of bleed time. Of course, we ran it longer to verify against any leaks, and we had none.
The rest of the kit EKWB sent along is the reason this block is able to perform as well as it does, but let's scrutinize those bits shall we. The radiator we received is thin, much thinner than others on the chart currently, and it also comes with a high FPI arrangement of its fins. This does not tend to offer the best results, and really is dependent on the fans. Even here we just grabbed what was handy, and while we used nice fans, they are not spectacular by any means, and we still managed to produce these great results. Then, when it comes to the pump/res combo, we only used a 100mL reservoir, and with such a short run of tubing, there is not much coolant in the loop to saturate. Even with all these factors stacked against the EK Supremacy EVO, it took the third spot; that is a true sign of its quality and efficiency.
For the guys just starting out: yes, you will need more than the near $80 invested in this block to get by. However, for those already in the water cooling game, to just replace the CPU block, this EKWB falls right into the average cost range. We really do appreciate the new look, while keeping that cool logo on all of the components. Also, while the box alluded to a nickel-plated version, we have no issues with the copper/Plexi version for two reasons.
First, once installed and running with pastel white coolant in the loop, there is no copper to see any more if we did have some strong dislike for it. The second reason is: if we can save $5 off by purchasing the copper instead of the nickel, why not jump at that opportunity? Because we were able to get stellar performance with the odds plainly against our CPU block, there is no way in good conscience that we cannot strongly recommend one of the many versions available of the EK Supremacy EVO for your next loop.
|Quality including Design and Build||99%|
|Bundle and Packaging||98%|
|Value for Money||95%|
The Bottom Line: We were able to achieve great results with some pretty average gear attached to the Supremacy EVO from EK! With the right choices in your build, it can only get better from here.
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