Right away we see the EK AIO Elite 360 D-RGB narrowly edging out some of the most impressive 360 AIOs we’ve previously covered. There is a noticeable difference in the motherboard power delivery modules and their prominent heatsink. This is likely due to the additional fan thickness, which extends slightly beyond where this heatsink is orientated on our motherboard in reference to the mounted AIO Elite 360.
The Vardar fans used by the EK AIO Elite 360 are the fastest spinning of our testing group, which is likely to lead to a noticeable difference in noise level -- especially given that there are six of them.
Making use of six high-speed fans on a single cooler is likely to cause a bit of stir, both in auditory and airflow terms. The EK AIO Elite 360 gets rather noisy with all fans set to 100%, so make sure to take some time and give your system the fan curve it needs to keep things cool and relatively quiet.
While they might perform well, measured noise levels of our AIO testing group impact our acoustic efficiency chart where we make consideration for how well a cooler performs under heavy use by how loudly they operate as they excise thermal loads.
At release, the EK AIO Elite 360 D-RGB is set to be priced right at $200 from the EKWB web shop, available from Newegg and Amazon later in December. The large hit we saw from the acoustic results weigh heavily on our performance value results, as unit pricing is evaluated, but not all is lost.
Thermal imaging from our FLIR ONE Pro camera shows a noticeable difference of heat soak along the lateral length of the 360mm radiator as well as some splotching across the face of the pump itself. We also see a marked difference along the tubing between the pump and radiator, where we see lower thermal markers in the same locations under full fan RPM vs half PWM.
Full speed also sees the heat bloom at the center of the fan hubs, due to power consumption and friction at full speed, while this is not as visible at lower RPM.
The EK AIO Elite 360 D-RGB provides the masses with the first 360mm AIO with push+pull fan configuration right out of the box. One caveat does exist for a cooler utilizing six high-speed fans, as it can make quite a fuss when running at full speed and will need a well-defined fan curve to help keep noise levels under control. At $200 at launch, it’s also expensive, though if you’ve already shelled out for the CPU hardware (and surrounding system) required to push this cooler to its limits, a bit extra for a few more fans is almost certainly a comparative pittance.