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EK Water Blocks Catches Asus' Apex With Latest Monoblock

EK Water Blocks is on another product announcement kick. The last few weeks have seen an assortment of full-cover GPU water block releases. This week, EKWB appears to have its focus on monoblocks. On Monday, we saw the first monoblock for AMD’s new platform. Today, EKWB’s sights are back to Intel, with a block for Asus’ ROG Maximus IX Apex.

EK Water Blocks is one of the few water cooling companies that builds monoblock parts, and it builds a lot of them. The company has a wide range of monoblock motherboard coolers for Intel X99, Z170, and Z270 motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. And EKWB is starting to embrace AMD’s X370 chipset as well.

Most people with water-cooled PCs use a universal CPU block to cool their processor. CPU water blocks are direct replacements for the heatsink and fan setup you find in most computers, which deliver the cooling performance most people desire. But EKWB knows its most enthusiastic customers aren’t “most people,” so it offers motherboard monoblocks as a premium solution for those who demand the best performance. When you’re pushing your CPU to its limit, it puts extra stress on the voltage regulation hardware (VRMs), which increases their heat output and potentially introduces instability. Monoblocks offer superior cooling performance because they make direct contact with the CPU and the VRMs.

EKWB designed its latest monoblock for one of Asus’ top Z270 boards. The EK-FB Asus M9A Monoblock fits Asus’s Maximus IX Apex, which is a board meant for overclockers and a worthy recipient of a monoblock cooler. The Apex includes advanced features such as dual BIOS chips, LN2 mode, and built-in headers for water cooling. It also features dual 8-pin EPS 12V ATX power plugs, which means the VRMs on this board work hard. Extra cooling for the voltage components could be a big help for the Maximus IX Apex.

The EK-FB Asus M9A Monoblock is built from nickel-plated electrolytic copper and features a clear acrylic top. EKWB doesn’t offer it’s monoblock coolers with bare copper bases or black Acetal tops like it does for the universal CPU coolers and typical full-cover GPU blocks. The EK-FB Asus M9A Monoblock is also curiously missing an RGB light strip. Asus offers Aura Sync lighting and two additional headers on the Maximus IX Apex, and EKWB offers RGB strips on some of its monoblocks, such as the X370 Crosshair block that launched this week. It’s unclear why EKWB neglected to install an RGB kit on the Apex monoblock.

The EK-FB Asus M9A Monoblock is available now for $137 through the EK Webshop and the company’s global reseller network.

Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews of graphics cards and virtual reality hardware.