Introduction

When it comes to liquid cooling, the first name that comes to one’s mind is EK Water Blocks. EK® Water Blocks, the premium liquid cooling manufacturer, bears the name of its founder Edvard König. It all started with the enthusiasm of one man and his ventures with liquid cooling back in 1999. Ever since its inception, the EK Water Blocks has become the premium brand in liquid cooling solutions and this brand is highly popular among modders, PC Builders, and water cooling enthusiasts alike. Today, the products of EK® are available in more than 30 countries worldwide and the company holds several partnerships with some of the most recognized brands. Not only their products are of high quality but their customer support is up to the bar as well and this is what really matters.

We recently did a round-up content on the high-end air coolers. It was quite a success and based on the community’s feedback we are planning another round-up content. This time the round-up content is on the best 240mm AIO coolers. We have chosen this size of the liquid cooler as it is still the most commonly used size in the liquid cooler category out of other available sizes which are 120mm, 280mm, and 360mm. We have reached out the over 30 brands and set ourselves a minimum of 15 coolers for the test. We are nearing our mark as the deliveries have started. We reached out to EK Water Blocks and they have sent us their EK-AIO 240 D-RGB cooler.

Back in 2015 EK Water Blocks released their AIO coolers named XLC Predator. I was quite hyped about these coolers and bought the EK-XLC Predator 360. Unfortunately, that series could not kick in for long and was eventually put to EOL. But EK Water Block is back with the AIO and this time it seems like they have done everything right to keep this line in the business. Coming from EK Water Blocks, my expectations are super high from their products as they are high performing, good quality products backed by excellent customer service (speaking from my own personal experience). I shall be taking a look at EK-AIO 240 D-RGB. These coolers are available in 3 sizes, 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm. EK has just released their EL Elite AIO-360 D-RGB as well. The EK-AIO 240 D-RGB is a 240mm CLC that comes with 2x EK-Vardar S 120ER D-RGB High-Performance Fans and a universally compatible CPU water block with a tool-less mounting mechanism for easy installation. No, you would still need a screwdriver! This AIO does not have a quick disconnect so these are not expandable coolers like their XLC-Predator or Phantom series coolers which were built around modularity and expandability. This product is compatible with popular RGB sync technologies from all major motherboard manufacturers. The EK-AIO 240 D-RGB is compatible with – Intel Sockets LGA: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200, 2011, 2011-3, 2066, and AMD Socket: AM4.

Item:                                     EK-AIO 240

Manufacturer:                   EK Water Blocks

Price:

Source Price
EK Shop USD 119.99
Amazon USD 119.99

 

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The cooler is shipped inside a white color cardboard packing box.

There is a picture of the cooler with digital lighting on the fans and the block. The socket compatibility information is printed on the bottom. This cooler is compatible with leading sockets from Intel and AMD.

EK Water Blocks has highlighted three key components of the cooler here; powerful pump, fans, and efficient radiator. There are diagrams showing the dimension of the unit.

Features of the cooler include:

  • Maintenance-free
  • Silent Operation
  • Addressable D-RGB
  • Easy Installation
  • Top Class Performance

Specifications of the cooler are printed in 6 languages. The socket compatibility information is printed on the bottom

Opening the box will show the nicely packed contents in the egged carton. There is a white color Styrofoam pad on the top and a multilingual comprehensive user guide.

Accessories

Let’s take a look at what EK Water Blocks has provided in the accessory box.

EK Water Blocks has provided a comprehensive user guide on the installation and maintenance of the liquid cooler. The guide is multilingual.

The mounting hardware is included in a transparent container which is labeled for ease of identification.

We have:

  • 1x Metallic Backplate
  • 2x Intel Mounting Brackets
  • 2x AMD Mounting Brackets

We have:

  • 4x Thumb caps/nuts
  • 4x Springs
  • 4x Intel LGA20xx standoffs
  • 4x Other sockets standoffs
  • 5x screws for the mounting brackets

We have:

  • 8x small screws for the radiator
  • 16x screws for the fans (2 sizes)

EK Water Blocks has provided a Y cable which allows the user to connect both fans to a single fan header on the motherboard.

1x Ectotherm thermal paste is also included.

Closer Look

It is time to take a closer look at the components. Before that here is what EK Water Blocks is saying about the cooler. “Designed with our industry-leading expertise, the EK-AIO offers all key benefits of liquid cooling in one compact and easy-to-use solution. Made of high-quality materials with our precision engineering for class-leading AIO cooling performance. Built around our custom-designed monoblock, it delivers coolant with a custom-loop grade pump, alongside powerful Vardar S fans to ensure high airflow.”

The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA20xx/1366/1200/115x sockets and AMD AM4.

Every component of the cooler has an EKWB seal confirming the genuinely EK product.

RADIATOR

The EK Water Blocks EK-AIO 240 is a 240mm CLC cooling solution. It has a 240mm radiator with 2x EK-Vardar S 120ER D-RGB fans.

The dimension of the radiator is 275 x 120 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. With 25mm fans, the overall thickness would be 52-53mm with the screws’ heads. The radiator has a 20 fins per inch one (FPI). There is a gap of 105mm between any two fan mounting holes on the radiator. We have a black color housing of the radiator and the overall build quality and finishing is good.

The radiator is made of aluminum hence it is lightweight. This is EK Water Blocks’ own design. The blocks on both ends of the radiator are rectangular. The fin stack is dense and taking into account the left and right side channels, it has a total of 12 channels for water flow.

There is no protective plating under the mounting holes on the radiator assembly much like what we have seen on the majority of AIO solutions in the market with a few exceptions.

The radiator assembly has a nice clean finish all around. There is no EKWB branding on the side of the assembly.

The far head has a rectangular design and a neat finishing. You can also take a close up look at the fins. We have a few bend fins but the overall finishing is good enough.

The build quality of the cooler is top-notch all around. EK Water Blocks is using straight fittings on the radiator with large size aluminum couplings/covers in matte black color finishing. This large size could increase the overall thickness of the assembled cooler. There is a sticker pasted on the far head showing the part no or serial no of the cooler.

There is what seems to be a refill port on the radiator. It is reserved only the factory use. Don’t attempt to open the port as you may lose the vacuumed pressure of the loop.

The EK AIO comes pre-installed with reinforced and sleeved rubber tubing, each fitted with an aluminum cover to ensure they’re ultra-durable. The tubing has a nylon braided sleeve on it and runs to an approximate 350mm length which is kinda short length and should have been 400m or so in my opinion.

PUMP/BLOCK

Let’s take a look at the monoblock of the cooler.

The EK AIO comes with a universally compatible CPU water-block, fitting all the latest Intel & AMD CPU sockets as well as featuring a tool-less mounting mechanism for easy installation along with a pre-filled pump-res combo design. The EK AIO CPU monoblock features a full acrylic cover, acting as a light diffuser with its frosted finish, for a dynamic lighting display. There are 9 addressable RGB LEDs under the acrylic cover which illuminate the entire cover making one heck of an AURA show coming off the block.

The block has a dimension of 88x70x53mm and is made of ABS plastic housing, copper cold plate and steel mounted pump. There is a blue color cover on the EK Water Blocks brand logo. Don’t forget to peel it off after the installation to have that feeling of association with the brand.

The above picture shows the sub-components of the complete block assembly. Following are the specifications of the pump:

Speed 450 ~ 2600 RPM ± 10%
PWM Range 20 ~ 100%
Connector 4-pin PWM
D-RGB Connector 3-pin addressable connector

Looking at the side of the block, there is no branding here. We have a thick acrylic cover running on the entire length and sides of the block. The lower section has a matte black color finish.

There are two cables coming out from the mid-section of the housing. Both cables are flat.

We have a 4-pin PWM connector cable powering the pump. It has an approximate length of 490mm.

The other cable is for digital lighting. It has a pinout format of 5V, D, Empty, Ground. The D-RGB cable has an approximate length of 500+100mm.

There is a VDG labeled connector as well which is for the GIGABYTE motherboards.

Taking a look at the rear of the block, we have diamond-cut rotary fittings on the block. There are aluminum covers on the fitment giving a nice and clean look. There are two screws. You can remove them to take out the RGB strip on the block and replace it with your own. Its diamond-cut rotary fittings allow for easy installation and adjustment of the rubber tubing, featuring a full range of movement to make the EK AIO suitable for installation in even the tightest spaces.

One thing to observe the angle of the fitment of the tubes on the block. Unlike the majority of the AIO cooling solutions in the market, these tubes are not at 90° fitment as they sit on the same side of the block. By design, the EK-AIO sports the top-mounted approach.

We have a copper base measuring 58x55mm. Thermal paste is pre-applied. Look at the fine finish on the ABS housing. There are two holes on each side of the housing. This is where the mounting brackets are installed.

FAN

EK Water Blocks has provided 2x EK-Vardar S 120ER D-RGB fans. Each fan is packed inside a transparent container with an EKWB seal.

Each Vardar S 120ER fan has 7 frosted blades optimized for high pressure and low noise operation. They are industrial-grade high-static pressure radiator fans primarily created for the highest-performance liquid cooling systems. The frame of the fans is in the black color finish. There are no anti-vibration pads on the mounting corners. We have a large diameter center on the fans housing the addressable RGB LEDs. There is an EKWB branded sticker in the center.

There is EK Water Blocks branding on the side of the frame

The backside of the fan shows the 4-arms assembly on the mainframe with one arm having a wider area. The cables are routed on this wider arm towards the exterior of the fan. EK-AIO Vardar S is printed on the sticker. The fans are designed in Slovenia and manufactured in China.

There are two flat cables coming out of the fan. One is the 4-pin PWM fan connector having an approximate length of 490mm and the other is a dual header (male+female) cable for ARGB lighting measuring an approximate length of 395+100mm.

The specification of the fans are:

Dimension 120x120x25mm
Type 4-pin PWM Connector
Speed 550-2200 RPM ± 10%
Airflow 66.04 CFM
Air Pressure 2.89 mmH₂O
Noise 36.4 dB(A)
ARGB Connector 5V,3pin ARGB dual Header

 

D-RGB Lighting

There is no dedicated controller provided with the cooler. You would need to have an ARGB lighting header on the motherboard or a compatible controller to make the ARGB lighting work on the cooler. In my opinion, there should have been a dedicated controller in this price tag. I have tested the cooler on ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard which does not have a 5V header. I ended up using a controller from another cooler.

The EK-AIO 240 features a monoblock with top acrylic acting like a complete diffuser. This creates one heck of a beautiful light show which is also on the bundled Vardar S 120ER D-RGB fans. Here are some pictures.

Installation

We have tested the cooler on the X99 platform using Intel LGA 2011-3 socket. Installation is simple and as under:

Install the Intel LGA20xx standoffs.

Install the fans on the radiators.

Install the Intel Mounting Brackets on the block using 4x screws.

Place the block on the CPU by aligning the holes on the mounting brackets with the threaded sides of the standoffs. Place the springs on the standoffs.

Place 4x thumb covers/nuts on the standoffs and screws them in to secure the block on the CPU.

You can use the Y cable to connect both fans to the single fan header on the motherboard. Another fan header would be needed for the 4-pin PWM cable coming from the block to power the pump. Similarly, daisy chain the ARGB cables on the block and the fans to connect them to a single controller for synchronized lighting control.

There is no clearance issue with respect to the DIMM slots and first PCIe slot. Make sure your chassis has clearance for 240mm radiator.

Testing Methodology

Following test bench has been used: –

  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Intel i7 6850k
  • CORSAIR VENGEANCE RED 16GB @ 2666MHz
  • Colorful GeForce GTX 1050Ti Vulkan
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Cooler Master MWE 650W Gold
  • Custom open-air test bench

The software used for testing and monitoring include:

  • Asus Real Bench v 2.56 (Intel)
  • Real Temp GT v 3.70 (Intel)

Here is the settings table for testing:

OC Clock (MHz) 4000
OC Voltage (V) 1.21
Turbo Boost Disabled
C-States Disabled
Speed Step Disabled
Thermal Paste Noctua NT-H1
Test Run Time 60 minutes
Idling Time 15 minutes
Fan Speed Tested using Integrated Hub on the radiator at Auto/PWM

Manually set to run at 100% speed.

Auto PWM using CPU Fan Header

Pump Speed Connected to the AIO Pump header to run at 100% speed

 

We are using Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste for coolers testing. Using the same thermal paste for all coolers would ensure standardization. Delta temperatures are reported on the graphs. The testing is done on an open-air bench system. Once inside the chassis, the temperatures are expected to rise and would largely depend upon the optimal airflow inside the chassis.

Not every run of the stress test may yield the same result. This could well be due to many factors like mounting pressure, thermal paste application, varying ambient temperature. Not to mention the silicon differences even among the same category of the chips. Hence, it is pertinent to mention the testing methodology along with the specifics.

Let’s take a look at the results.

100% WM Duty Cycle

Auto PWM

We have a decent performance here from the EK-AIO 240. On Auto PWM settings, both fans were operating in the 1000 RPM range. One of the fans was whining as well. I have noticed that after the last UEFI/BIOS update, the PWM controllers on the motherboard are not using the fan’s PWM range effectively hence all these coolers that we are testing are continuously being reported on the lower side of the PWM range.

Acoustic

The fans are loud at full speed and we measured them to making 53 dBA with an ambient sound level of 34 dB(A).

Conclusion

EK Water Blocks sent us their EK-AIO 240 D-RGB cooler for the review and the round-up content. The cooler features a full acrylic cover on the universal compatible monoblock, acting as a diffuser for killer lighting effects. This is an in-house design from EK Water Blocks and features 2x EK-Vardar S 120ER D-RGB high-performance fans. The EK-AIO 240 D-RGB is compatible with – Intel Sockets LGA: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200, 2011, 2011-3, 2066, and AMD Socket: AM4.

The unit has an aluminum radiator measuring 275 x 120 x 27mm. The thickness of the radiator is 27mm. The overall thickness would be 52-53mm after installing the fans. The radiator has 20 FPI. The radiator has a black color housing. The EK Water Blocks is low evaporating rubber tubes with nylon braided sleeves running to approximately 350mm in length. The tubes are installed on straight fittings on the radiator with aluminum clamps which are in matte black finish.

The cooler features a universal compatible monoblock with a dimension of 88x70x53mm. The block is made of ABS material with a copper cold plate and steel mounting pump. The top of the block has an acrylic cover with 9 ARGB LEDs underneath. The whole acrylic cover acts as a diffuser for some vivid and even light transitions and effects. To be honest, I love the looks on the block when it is lighted up. There is an EKWB brand logo in silver on the corner of the block. The tubes are installed on the block using diamond-cut rotary fittings with similar aluminum clamps. The overall build quality is top-notch and speaks of what we can expect from EKWB. The cooler features a PWM pump which is rated for 450 ~ 2600 RPM ± 10%. There is no power consumption information provided in the specification. The PWM range of the pump is 20~100%. The block has a copper base with a cold plate. The surface of the base is flat and we have roughly 58x55mm dimension of the base. The base comes with the pre-applied thermal paste. On top of that, EKWB has also bundled their Ectotherm thermal paste.

The EK-AIO 240 D-RGB comes with the two EK-Vardar S 120ER D-RGB fans. These are high-performance fans designed for liquid cooling solutions. These fans are rated for up to 2200 RPM ±10
% speed with a maximum airflow rating of 66.04 CFM at air pressure rating of 2.89 mmH₂O. These fans feature frosted 7 blades to ensure high pressure with low noise operations. Both fans have ARGB LEDs housed inside the center. There is no dedicated controller provided in the accessory. The installation is an easy task and a comprehensive user guide is provided to help the users in installation.

The EK Water Blocks EK-AIO 240 D-RGB is listed at $119.99 at the time of the review. EK Water Blocks is offering 5 years warranty. We have a premium price tag though I would love a dedicated lighting controller in this price range to be provided! 5 years warranty is showing the confidence of the manufacturer in the product and I have nothing but praise for the EKWB customer service from my personal experience. The EK Water Block EK-AIO 240 D-RGB has performed well on our test bench and with 5 years warranty and good build quality; this is easily among the mighty contenders for your bucks.

Many thanks to EK Water Blocks for sending in their EK-AIO 240 D-RGB cooler for our 2021 AIO cooler roundup comparison. We’ve reached out to most major brands in an effort to compare the best AIO coolers of 2020 against each other and let you know which ones come out on top. Please make sure to check out our 2021 AIO COOLER ROUNDUP and again, thanks to all the companies taking part. Below is the listing of the coolers confirmed so far.

Brand Cooler
AZZA Blizzard 240
SilverStone IceGem 240
Fractal Design Celcius+ S24 PRISMA
CORSAIR H100i RGB Platinum
Antec Neptune 240
XPG Levante 240
Arctic Liquid Freezer-II
EK Water Blocks EK-AIO 240 D-RGB
ID-Cooling Aura Flow X 240
Cooler Master Master Liquid ML240L ARGB V2
ASUS ROG RYUO 240
DeepCool Castle 240EX White
AeroCool P7 L240 or Mirage 240
Reeven Naia 240
BeQuiet! Pure Loop 240