Could this be the new king of the watercooling jungle?
If you’ve spent any amount of time around the depths of the custom water-cooling world, you’ll have come across one name in particular – EK Water Blocks. Along with Bitspower, EK is one of the most popular water-cooling componentry firms globally. And for good reason. Providing top-notch cooling capacity and an aesthetic design style so clean you could eat your dinner off of it, it’s easy to stick with EKWB throughout any of your water-cooling projects.
That being said, not everyone is into water cooling an entire system. After all, the mixing of water with electricity has rarely ended well. Even water of the deionised variety has a habit of exploding over many a lovely system. Despite that, however, offloading our woes into an all-in-one closed-loop cooler has become undeniably popular. So let’s leave the worry and the warranty to companies such as Corsair, NZXT and Thermaltake, all of which provide some very impressive and easy-to-install cooling solutions. Indeed, it’s about time EKWB finally tapped into that market.
And boy, has it.
The Predator is the culmination of everything that enthusiasts have ever wanted from a 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler. You get one of EK’s 240mm radiators, coming in at 38mm thick. Slightly thicker than a Corsair H100i, the radiator boasts a fin density of 38FPI (fins per inch). That means you’ll need some seriously beefy fans to power it.
But don’t worry, EK has you covered, with the inclusion of two of its custom-designed Vardar high-static pressure fans. Plus, an integrated pump and reservoir unit is situated at the top of the radiator, while an Evo Supremacy CPU block is connected to the bottom of the expandable tubing, complementing the whole unit nicely.
Okay, so it sounds like every other combo we’ve seen, right? If just a little beefier. Well, sort of. The design of the Predator has some nifty new features, a few of which we haven’t seen in the AIO world before.
One of the more innovative additions is, in part, thanks to the positioning of the pump and the fans. All of the power cables, fan connectors and pump controls are located on the radiator itself. This means you can avoid all that awful cable management nonsense around your CPU block, and instead route the cables around the back of your chassis instead. Also, the loop is entirely expendable. If you want to change the tubing for clear tubing, you can. Fancy putting some better fittings on there? You can do that, too. You can also grab a GPU water block and throw that into the mix if you really want. On top of all of that, EK is bringing the first commercially available 360mm-edition radiator to the UK, which also includes quick disconnect fittings, allowing you to swap out hardware and other pieces of tech quickly and easily.
Ultimately though, it’s the performance that matters most. We tested the Predator against our current favourite, the NZXT Kraken X61, and saw, at most, a total of 1-2 degrees difference between the two. When you consider the Kraken has a total surface area of 280mm, versus the Predator’s 240mm, that’s a serious achievement.
Sounds like this is heading for a topscore review, right? Not quite. For the most part, the mounting system is very difficult to attach to the motherboard. On our Skylake CPU, we found you had to remove the backplate entirely (which also included removing the socket brace). You then had to reattach it with EKWB’s included backplate. It remains uncertain whether this will be the final mounting system, but it’s incredibly fiddly, to say the least. You also have the potential to possibly damage your pins when you do this, so it’s something to bear in mind.
All in all, the Predator is a phenomenal piece of kit. Although the mounting system could do with some improvement, it’s nice to see EKWB expand and improve in an enthusiast area that’s otherwise become a little stagnant.
Dimensions (including fans) 295 x 133 x 68mmStock Fans 2x 120mm PWM EKWB Vardar FansAdditional fan support 2x 120mm