EK Fluid Gaming kits make custom loops easier and cheaper


— 4:00 PM on May 31, 2017

Liquid-cooled PC components are all the rage these days, and custom open-loop setups have the highest cool factor in both senses of the word. Those full-bore systems with their discrete pumps, reservoirs, and CNC-machined copper waterblocks tend to be much pricier than their all-in-one siblings, though. EK Waterblocks' Fluid Gaming line of open-loop kits wants to put custom liquid-cooling gear within the fiduciary capabilities of more gamers. There are three different kits: one with a universal CPU waterblock and a 120-mm radiator, a set with a CPU block and a 240-mm radiator, and finally one with both CPU and GPU waterblocks and a 240-mm radiator.

Aluminum parts are generally frowned upon in open-loop liquid-cooling setups owing to their position close to the top of the metal reactivity series. Mixing parts made of aluminum and less-reactive metals in the same loop is usually a bad idea since it makes the aluminum vulnerable to corrosion. EK's solution is to offer complete kits with aluminum radiators, waterblocks, and fittings, along with an aluminum-compatible reservoir-and-pump unit. It's worth noting that AIO makers are free to use aluminum because they have complete control over the composition of the metals and the liquid.

EK says the radiators have dense fin arrays and a profile less than 1.1" (28 mm) thick, and has branded them with an EK-Alustream label. The EK-Supremacy AX CPU block is made from CNC-machined aluminum and fits Intel sockets with 1150 to 2011 pins, as well as AMD's AM4 socket. The company didn't mention Intel's shiny new LGA 2066 socket, though LGA 2011 coolers should be compatible. Support for AMD's upcoming Threadripper TR4 socket seems unlikely without some kind of upgrade kit. Gerbils clinging to Core 2 Quad and AMD FX CPUs need to look elsewhere.

The top-of-the-line kit includes an EK-AC GeForce GTX Pascal aluminum water block designed for use with GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, and 1080 Ti cards, as well as the Titan X Pascal and the Titan Xp. EK said that a Vega-compatible kit will be offered in the future, though it made no mention of other Radeons. Owners of cards based on non-reference PCBs might want to do a little investigation before clicking any "buy" buttons.

All the fans in the kits are EK Vardar models, and the included pump-and-reservoir is an SPC-series unit. Standard gear for all the kits includes transparent flexible tubing EK-ACF aluminum fittings, EK-CryoFuel coolant, and the required cabling. The company says that all the kits come with detailed instruction books, though its promised installation tutorials on YouTube sounds like they'll be more helpful.

The Fluid Gaming A120 kit with a CPU block and a 120-mm radiator costs $150, the A240 set with a CPU block and 240-mm radiator costs $160, and the A240G kit with both CPU and graphics card blocks plus a 240-mm radiator will run you up $240. The kits are available through EK's web store immediately and will be offered at TR-favorite Newegg soon. Guru3D has already gotten its hands on the Fluid Gaming A240G kit. Interested gerbils can read the site's impressions here.

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