EK Water Blocks Bringing Open-Loop Liquid Cooling To The Masses With Fluid Gaming Series

EK Water Blocks revealed the Fluid Gaming series of full loop water cooling kits during Computex. EKWB’s new water cooling lineup offers an affordable way jump into the world of custom water cooling.

EK Water Blocks offers a wide range of water cooling products including reservoirs, radiators, pump tops, fittings, and, of course, water blocks. With its all-encompassing portfolio of water cooling components, the company is also able to offer bundle packages to bring the cost down for newcomers to the water cooling scene. EKWB offers kits that include all the parts you need to build an open loop water cooling setup.

In 2015, EKWB introduced the EK-XLC Predator, which offered the convenience of closed loop coolers and the advantages of open loop systems, at an affordable price. EKWB’s EK-XLC Predator lineup comes pre-filled with coolant from the factory. EKWB also offers pre-filled GPU blocks that you can purchase to expand your loop. The EK-XLC Predator serves as an excellent option if you don’t want the hands-on experience of assembling and filling the loop yourself.

EKWB also offers options for people who do want the hands-on experience but might not know what to look for. EKWB’s open loop kits include the same water cooling components that you would buy individually all in one package; they take the guess work out of selecting components for your loop. Don’t expect to pick one up if you’re on a tight budget, though. EKWB’s boxed water cooling kits range from almost $200 to nearly $400. And that doesn’t include a GPU water block.

EKWB recognized that water cooling would always be a niche market at that price range, so it decided to do something about that. The company revealed the EK Fluid Gamer series of full-loop kits, which are available for as little as $150.

“We believe every gamer should experience the joy of putting together a PC with a full custom liquid cooling solution, said Mark Tanko, EKWB CEO. “Every gamer should enjoy gaming on a silent PC with high FPS and low temps. Every gamer should be able to overclock his gaming PC and see what hardware is really capable of. With EK Fluid Gaming, we are now enabling you to do just that – a legendary liquid cooling solution at a very affordable price.”

Slash The Costs In Half With New Materials

EKWB traditionally uses electrolytic copper to build its water blocks, and more often than not, it opts for nickel-plated copper. The use of high-end materials such as those ensures a high-end product, but they also necessitate top-tier price tags. While designing the Fluid Gaming series, EKWB ditched the copper blocks in exchange for aluminum, which is more affordable and easier to mass produce, which allows the company to keep the MSRP at a minimum.

EKWB offers the Fluid Gamer series of full loop systems as complete kits, but you can’t buy the parts individually. The company said the new kits are expandable, but you’ll have to wait for new components before you can expand your loop. The Fluid Gamer’s aluminum parts aren’t compatible with the rest of EKWB water cooling lineup. Copper and aluminum don’t like each other; they start to corrode when introduced to the same water cooling loop. EKWB said Fluid Gamer-compatible components would be available in the future to expand and upgrade your loop, but the company is offering only full kits for now.

The Fluid Gaming series kits feature an aluminum EK-Supremacy AX CPU block with a universal mounting system that is compatible with “all modern CPU sockets” from both Intel and AMD. The kits also include 28mm thick EK-AluStream SE radiators to dissipate the heat that your loop picks up. Of course, EKWB’s previous lineup of copper fittings wouldn’t work with the aluminum parts in the package, so the company includes a set of EK-ACF ALU fittings. The Fluid Gaming kits also include EKWB’s SPC series pump with integrated reservoir. The company rounds out the kits with a length of EK-DuraClear transparent tubing and a bottle of clear EK-CryoFuel coolant, which you could dye to any color you prefer. 

EKWB is offering the Fluid Gaming series in three different kits. You can pick up the EK Fluid Gaming A120 kit, which features a 120mm radiator and CPU block for $149, or the EK Fluid Gaming A240 kit, which offers a radiator twice the size for $10 more. 

EKWB also revealed the EK Fluid Gaming A240G, which includes a universal GeForce GTX 10-series full-cover GPU block that fits all Founder’s Edition 10-series cards, including the Titan X Pascal and the Titan Xp. The aluminum full-cover GPU block features a design that is unique in the EKWB lineup. It doesn't come with a black Acetal top, and you can't get it with a clear acrylic window. The Fluid Gaming series GPU block features a stylized black aluminum faceplate over a solid aluminum cooling block. The aluminum GPU block features EKWB's new terminal block design. The EK Fluid Gaming A240G is available for $239. Most full cover GPU blocks alone cost $120 or more.

For more information about EKWB’s Fluid Gaming water cooling kits, visit the EK Fluid Gaming website.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • the nerd 389
    I wonder if they considered galvanically isolating the aluminum components. It would eliminate the issues of corrosion with a minimal impact on price.
  • Eximo
    Is there really a market between AIO and full custom? Just seems like a risky venture.
  • extremepenguin
    It is only marginally more expensive than AIO and gives a lot more options for install, I would say there is a market for these.
  • the nerd 389
    19759155 said:
    Is there really a market between AIO and full custom? Just seems like a risky venture.

    There's certainly a market for setups that have lower core component costs for builders looking to experiment with different approaches.
  • cats_Paw
    Aluminium in water loop.... No thx.
    Galvanic corrosion is much worse with Alu than with copper.

    Soon we will start making waterblocks from plastic.
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    BAH Aluminium....

    I'm happy with my nickle plated copper thank you
  • rwinches
    They have a non-toxic bio-degradable EK-CryoFuel coolant that prevents corrosion.
  • the nerd 389
    19761234 said:
    BAH Aluminium....

    I'm happy with my nickle plated copper thank you

    If you're using nickel plated copper already, this isn't for you. Not unless you want to try out a crazy idea and don't want to risk your main computer.

    For you, this would only be worth considering if you wanted to test out something like a custom control setup that uses some number of water temp. sensors, and servo-style PID temp. control. I'm sure you could come up with some other insane ideas that would involve a lot of components, lots of connections, and lots of risk. That's where you'd want to look at these. You could have a number of components to throw together at short notice to test out these ideas.

    These aren't for builds you've already assembled, or for the final build in your case. They're for making sure your ideas work before investing in $700-$1000 in copper/brass components, D5s, and quality fittings, not to mention the time investment of bending the tubing. Aluminum will work just fine as a proof-of-concept. If you disassemble it when done, it could pay for itself across three or four projects.

    In a more general sense, though, these aren't geared towards you at all. They're aimed at people who simply don't want to drop that kind of money on an open loop. If you stick to aluminum for everything, there's no issue with corrosion, and the parts are cheaper.

    I am curious how they'll implement the pump, though.
  • JackNaylorPE
    Corrosion inhibitors have a useful life of 18 months max. I oversaw the operation a of electrical power plant and we would sample the coolant every 3 months and send out for testing. In my entire tenure, in m not even one instance was it determined that the corrosion inhibitors were at a level which insured protection. It must be noted that these were standby generators and they were tested for two hours every quarter.

    Of course they ran during power outages such as Hurricane Sandy providing power to 2000 homes and several hundred businesses. When each of the three generators cost upwards of several million dollars, the testing more than paid for itself. If there was a "install once and forget about it" corrosion inhibitor, they'd be using it on these multi million dollar school bus size engines.

    On a PC cooling system, it's cheaper to just change the coolant. Unlike engines which are comprised of various metals, galvanic concerns are far less in a custom loop or OLC like EK and Swiftech units.

    On the other hand, even is asked, we will not build a PC with a CLC for anyone under any circumstances. I have no corrosion concerns about an anodized aluminum on a secondary block such as a MoBo Monoblock or RAM block, but the use of such on a CPU or GPU bock simply makes no sense ... and aluminum radiators are just silly.

    If you are a bit antsy about building a custom loop, if you every bought and set up a fish tank, you could certainly build a water cooling loop. It's the assembling bock to the CPU / GFX card part that deters most folks. An all-copper / bronze Swiftech (or EK) All-In One combined with GFX card pre-assembled water block from EK is piece of cake. A H240 X2 or 320 X2 will easily handle a 1070 and 7600k, and if ya want twin 1080 Tis, simply add a 2nd radiator.

    3 x 120mm (all copper) All-In-One http://www.swiftech.com/h320x2.aspx
    EK 1070 w/ EEK Full cover block https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127956

    Adding this level of cooling will cost ya ..

    An extra $75 over a premium air cooler (Noctua NH-D15 / Cryorig R1)
    An extra $33 over a quality AIB 1070 (MSI Gaming X)

    You'll need a pair of fittings, some coolant and 2 feet of extra tubing all of which can be had for $20.... but considering it's just $38 more than a Kraken X62 which cools just the CPU, and doesn't do that nearly as well as the Swiftech does, to my eyes, it's the proverbial no brainer.

    On the downside, you don't get the built-in galvanic corrosion cell that comes free with the Kraken and all other CLCs.


    That's what happens when corrosion inhibitors lose their effectiveness over time
  • grimfox
    cats_paw, You can get plastic heat sinks. We installed them on a bunch of cards from a customer. They were made of a plastic doped with probably aluminum powder or something like that...they were cheap, light weight, and better than nothing, but fragile.

    In theory a single metal system with distilled water is not a recipe for corrosion. But in practice... If they are targeting more entry level and inexperienced builders I could see this being a major problem. How long until someone gets tired of waiting for EK to release a GPU block in the ALU series and buys a copper block from swiftech and destroys their LC system. Or wants to upgrade their system to a higher performance CPU block but doesn't have the money to get the copper rad and res. They'll have to cover their website is disclaimers. Good theory but in practice I think this is a bad idea.