EK-MLC Phoenix parts offer an easy path to liquid-cooling nirvana

Custom liquid-cooling systems can deliver amazing looks and unbeatable cooling performance, but considering all the variables of such a system is tricky and the costs of all those individual parts add up quickly. EK Water Blocks' EK-MLC Phoenix line of pre-filled waterblocks and radiator-pump units lets liquid-cooling fanatics assemble a custom loop tailored to their systems without spilling coolant, purging air out of lines, or worrying about fitting tightness.

The ease-of-use of EK's Phoenix system stems from the company's quick-disconnect couplings. These fittings let users add components to a loop without having to drain and refill coolant. The Phoenix system's pump and radiator are combined into a single unit that serves as the foundation for the rest of the loop. Builders can then add the combination of CPU and graphics-card water blocks needed to complete the system. All Phoenix components have relatively short pre-mounted inlet and outlet tubes that can connect to other parts in the family.

EK sells five different sizes of Phoenix radiator, from 120-mm and 140-mm units all the way up to a plus-size 360-mm model. All the units are based on the company's CoolStream products and come with enough of EK's Vardar Evo fans to cover one side of the radiator. An integrated fan splitter on the radiator module makes wiring neater and lets users power the pump and the fans with a single power connector. 

The company offers two different CPU blocks for Phoenix loops at the moment. Most buyers will probably pick the Intel LGA 115x and LGA 20xx block, but EK also offers a model designed to mount atop AMD's mighty Threadripper CPU in its enormous TR4 socket. The company says the bigger block will also work with AMD Socket SP3 processors like Epyc server CPUs.

The Phonenix system also offers 13 different nickel-plated water blocks for liquid-cooling the GPU, memory, and voltage-regulation circuits on high-performance graphics cards. Ten of those blocks are also available with transparent acetal covers. The launch lineup of graphics water blocks will fit cards based on Nvidia's GP102 and GP104 graphics chips, as well as AMD's Radeon RX Vega graphics cards. The company says that it will add additional graphics card water blocks in the future. The nickel-and-acetal blocks further include holes for mounting 3-mm LEDs.

EK expects Phoenix components to start shipping on December 1. The pump-and-radiator modules range in price from $150 for the 120-mm unit to $195 for a 360-mm radiator. The CPU block for AMD AM4 and Intel sockets costs $80, and the lower-volume TR4 block curiously bears a lower asking price of $70. Graphics cards blocks are priced from $136 to $156. The company backs all EK-MLC Phoenix components with a two-year warranty.

Comments closed
    • mudcore
    • 2 years ago

    EK makes good stuff. They’re so deep into making their product line undecipherable to a novice that these new “easy” kits just make it more and more confusing.

    They now have 3 product lines with unique branding for novice/entry level watercooling. What a disaster just from a marketing/communication perspective. Even worse when there are metal differences between them.

    EDIT: To lay it out… EK now has….

    EK Fluid Gaming: [url<]https://www.ekfluidgaming.com/[/url<] EK EK-MLC Phoenix: [url<]https://www.ekwb.com/shop/aio/ek-mlc[/url<] EK EK-Kits: [url<]https://www.ekwb.com/shop/kits[/url<] These were all designed to solve the same core issue of getting beginners into water cooling that isn't closed loop. But if I were a beginner I'd take one look at EK's site and then immediately make my way back over to Newegg and just buy whichever CLC kit is on sale and/or best reviewed. Otherwise I'd get serious and truly learn and not bother with a kit at all.

    • cygnus1
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]The Phonenix system also offers 13 different nickel-plated water blocks[/quote<] What's a Phonenix ??

      • thor84no
      • 2 years ago

      It’s a lack of a phone.

    • YukaKun
    • 2 years ago

    I’ve always wondered this:

    Is it better to have a circular setup like the one shown in the leading picture or 2 separate (read: independent circuits) loops, albeit less “powerful”? Is there any meaningful difference?


      • Beahmont
      • 2 years ago

      To the best of my knowledge, 2 loops is better for cooling than 1 giant ring loop provided the radiator can do it’s job properly.

      It just does little good to pipe hot coolant to the GPU after going past the just short of on fire OC’d CPU and that’s presuming the radiator can return the coolant back to it’s initial state before hitting the CPU again.

        • Helmore
        • 2 years ago

        I believe the flow rate of the coolant is too high for this to make that much of a difference. Yes, it will have influence, but a bigger determinator of CPU and GPU temperatures will be the amount of heat the radiator(s) can remove.

        Don’t quote me on that, but it shouldn’t be too hard to test.

          • Beahmont
          • 2 years ago

          Well by design the coolant coming of the radiator should be x and when it passes the CPU it should be something like X+(Tcpu-X*TR)=Xcpu where TR equals the rate of transfer of heat between the CPU base and the Coolant with rate of flow of the coolant being baked into TR for this example. Just to be clear and state the obvious if everything is working as intended Xcpu should always be greater than X and with a temperature floor of X.

          When it gets the the GPU it will go in Xcpu and come out something like Xcpu+(Tgpu-Xcpu*TR)=Xcpu+gpu. If there are no other stops in the system to pickup heat, Xcpu+gpu then goes into the radiator. In the intended best case scenario the radiator take Xcpu+gpu and gives us back our original X.

          Looking at this kind of system it doesn’t matter what the rate of flow is precisely for our purposes so long as it does not change significantly between the CPU and GPU part of the loop. If that holds true then the GPU cooling is limited by the amount of heat transferred to the coolant by the CPU. If Xcpu is greater than Tgpu then the loop in question can’t actually cool the GPU and the efficiency of the cooling provided by any coolant will always be reduced by the heat picked up at the CPU.

          To the best of my knowledge, this means that a 2 loop system is better for cooling provided the radiator can dissipate the increased heat generated by getting coolant X to the GPU instead of coolant Xcpu.

          The trade off is that 2 loop systems are significantly more complicated than single loop systems.

          It should also be noted that in the intended scenario Xcpu should always be significantly smaller than Tgpu because unless you’re liquid cooling a 1050ti or below, you’re likely needing to dissipate more heat at the GPU than at the CPU, but this isn’t always the case and run away heating from an insufficient radiator is also thing. (i.e. where the radiator is not able to take Xcpu+gpu and return X, but X+Y causing the coolant to go through the system hotter than it’s previous start. This setup will feedback into an increasing coolant temp until some equilibrium point. This point may be higher than the stable operating temperature of the CPU and/or GPU. In theory bigger radiators have lower stable temperatures. )

          So 2 loops is to my knowledge better, but it really depends on the exact setup on how much better and how worth your time dealing with the extra complexity of the 2 loop system is.

            • warriorpoet
            • 2 years ago

            In practice, the coolant temp stabilizes quickly, and the difference between one and two loops ends up coming down to radiator area. Water is just a far better conductor of heat.

            Don’t quote me, but I believe the differences measured in careful testing came down to less than 2C.

            TBH, my biggest concerns with this sort of setup come down to:

            1. serviceability of the pump
            2. coolant separation in the CPU block
            3. restriction of the quick-connect fittings

            For context, I’ve been running liquid cooling in my main PCs since 2006.

    • juzz86
    • 2 years ago

    EKWB site is down!

    I’m guessing by the presence of Nickel plate that this is a copper setup, in a similar vein to their FluidGaming Aluminium gear?

    Nice idea. Hopefully they refine the CPU blocks a bit (I understand if it has a pump in it, but that looks like an SPC hanging off the radiator).

    It’d be nice if they sold a hose kit and coolant separately, so you could add your own gear to the loop – I get that that defeats the ‘tool-free’ dot point, but you’d open up compatibility a lot, and a cheaper way for someone to get into a custom loop is a good thing.

    EK re-brand CPC QDCs, and they’re good but a little more restrictive than some others (albeit now older, hard-to-obtain). A couple of pairs in a loop isn’t going to matter much, anyway – although that is only a 6W pump if I’m right about the SPC.

    • Helmore
    • 2 years ago

    Could we see a standardization of the connectors used and the exact coolant mixture in a few years? It would be interesting if you could mix and match radiators and water blocks from different brands.

      • warriorpoet
      • 2 years ago

      Mixing and matching of components has been done for a LONG time. The trick is to match metals, not brand names.

      Unless you’re referring to mixing and matching this sort of pre-filled kit?

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