Test Methods, Results And Conclusion
The EX-XLC Predator 240 simply bolts in place, after connecting the cables and adding thermal paste as instructed.
We retain the hardware configuration from previous big-cooler reviews to maintain result consistency. Here's how it compares dimensionally to other models in today's test.
Liquid CPU Cooler Specifications
We’re starting to notice that CPU water blocks of expandable liquid coolers don’t apparently take full advantage of higher-capacity pumps and radiators, compared to true closed-loop designs that are specifically optimized to cool their single water block. On the other hand, a retest using added components, such as a GPU block, wouldn’t be possible with those non-configurable liquid cooling systems. Further, it would cause arguments between varying factions if we were to pick between an EK or Swiftech block for universal adoption, and still different arguments if we picked an EK GPU block for the EK system and a Swiftech block for the Swiftech system. We’ve even heard past arguments that we should know better than to use brand X or Y’s GPU block and that every reasonable builder will mix these components.
Testing as-delivered configurations leaves no room for additional arguments beyond the basic “what else can it cool” debate, which as mentioned above just leads to further arguments. EK’s Predator 240 takes second place in CPU cooling to a non-expandable closed-loop in thermal performance, and its top-mounted fans have less cooling effect on the motherboard’s PWM-based CPU voltage regulator.
The Predator 240 doesn’t send a separate signal back to the motherboard for its pump tach, so we’re left looking at just fan speed. Its fan spins a little faster than most competitors, but what impact will that have on noise?
Swiftech’s H220-X looks great on the noise measurement, but jumping up a couple charts shows that it got that low noise while providing less cooling. Once again, the Predator 240 falls slightly behind the non-expandable Frostflow 240L.
Overall performance is a comparison of temperature to noise, and this is where Swiftech’s lower fan speed pays dividends. Unfortunately, the non-expandable Frostflow 240L still comes out on top, and EK’s noise to cooling ratio is worse than Swiftech’s.
High-quality re-usable fittings and oversized components designed to allow future upgrades take their toll on pricing. We can only recommend the Predator 240 to buyers who are absolutely certain that they’ll eventually want to add more components to their cooling loop.
✗ Cons: Large, pricey, short warranty.
Verdict: The EK-XLC Predator 240 appears to have the capacity to cool many components in addition to a high-end CPU. Without adding any of those components, its extra capacity and cost appear wasted. We recommend this unit only to the same type of buyer who might otherwise have considered a component-based cooler from the outset, as a way to get set up quickly.