It’s been a long time coming, and ThinkComputers has brought you a review of a full water cooling system. Expect to see more in this field in the future!
Many are daunted by the prospect of throwing water into their system.. and I suppose you may have a point, if the technology used to harness it wasn’t exceptionally well developed and tested repeatedly. The fact is, if I am cooling my CPU, I don’t want a huge air cooler adding weight and stress to my motherboard and causing my motherboard to bow (bend) over time. So long as you are careful and meticulous with your installation, you will not have leaks – simply because the products are designed to not leak. Not doing so would be poor business practice from a water cooling manufacturer.. they wouldn’t remain in business for long, would they?
Installation of the EK H30 360 HFX kit was easy, as we showed in our installation video. Yes, it takes longer than simply putting a cooler on to your CPU and plugging in a cable, but then there are innumerable benefits to taking this approach to processor cooling as opposed to the alternatives. Remember that longer doesn’t necessarily mean harder. Each component was well documented with installation instructions. Also remember that the way you combine the products is your own choice; you can tube everything up how you want. The only rule you should always follow would be to add the pump after the reservoir. This flexibility is reason enough to consider water cooling, let alone the performance gain and noise reduction.
So long as you install things correctly, you’re going to have a very quiet, high performance cooling solution in the EK H30 360 HFX. If your pump isn’t touching bare metal, it’s very quiet. If it IS touching bare metal.. well, it’s going to sound like an aircraft. Use the provided foam padding to reduce vibration and therefore noise. You don’t even have to use the adhesive if you don’t want to, just.. use the foam. Please. But, with everything installed right my fridge actually makes more noise than my system. That’s how it should be. Noisy computers are a nuisance.
Now then, performance. It just got a little chilly in here. You may have read earlier that I stated idle temperatures are irrelevant. They are. They depend entirely upon ambient temperatures in your environment and it’s simply impossible to reduce temperatures beneath ambient unless you’re using something like a TEC, which has been shown time and time again is not viable when contained within a system. Outside, maybe. But inside, definitely not. That said; idles were the lowest we’ve seen at our multiple clocks, going as low as 25C. Awesome. But what you’re here for are the load temperatures, right? Well, Ivy Bridge is a hot chip. Therefore, despite the fact that we hit 90C+ at 4.7Ghz, remember that in prior tests with other coolers I wasn’t even able to test at that clock speed as the system would hit the thermal maximum, then proceed to roll over and die. I included results at 4.5Ghz to show just how good the Supremacy waterblock and surrounding components actually are. Anywhere between 4-7C was gained at this clock speed over any other cooler we’ve tested on this platform. These tests were also conducted with a 3-fan solution, whereas you could add another 3 fans and potentially gain more.
The only thing I’d have liked to have seen is a single QDC or tubing plug for a drain line. No it isn’t necessary; not at all. But it’d be nice to have. Draining loops without a drain tube can be a bit of a pain.
The EK H30 360 HFX watercooling kit is available at EK’s webstore for € 269.95, translating to $349.66. It’s a heftier price tag than buying a closed loop cooler, but it’s also a ton more flexible, quieter, prettier, and, ultimately better than any other solution. That $349 will give you everything you need, and if you need to add additional waterblocks or radiators (etc) later, you can do that with absolutely zero issues.. simply drain your loop and add them in.
Overall ThinkComputers would like to award the EK H30 360 HFX Watercooling Kit a 10 out of 10 score and our Editor’s Choice Award!
- Excellent performance
- Whisper quiet (when installed correctly)
- Stunningly pretty
- Well documented
- Easy to install
- Perhaps price, but you get what you pay for