EK-XLC Predator 240 Expandable Liquid CPU Cooler Review

Offering the ease of a pre-filled kit and the convenience of standard fittings for additional water blocks, the Predator 240 looks like it could be the best of the closed and open loop designs. We check its as-delivered performance.

We like the closed-loop coolers give new builders and non-fanatical liquid-cooling supporters the ability to bolt in a device without worrying about spills or contaminants. On the other hand, we realize that many builders eventually begin to wonder “what else can I do with this thing”. Famed for its GPU water blocks among various other related components, EKWB (aka EK) would love for buyers of its XLC Predator 240 to consider a few of its other components as their enthusiasm for liquid cooling grows.

The EAN: 3831109863343 package includes a thick (1 5/8”) radiator with dual 120x25mm fans, a CPU water block with slotted brackets to fit all recent Intel square-pattern mounting holes, a water pump bolted to the side of the radiator, two 16” pieces of 3/8” (I.D.) rubber hose, four G1/4 fittings to connect the pump to the CPU water block, adapter cables, mounting screws, a Torx driver, and a tube of thermal past. EKWB understands that the thickness of the radiator may be a concern in some installations, and provides a compatibility list for several of the most-popular cases.

EK mounts its fans atop the radiator, in “pull” orientation, for a default “exhaust” orientation within the case. That usually works well for top-mounted radiators, though builders seeking to take advantage of cooler air at the front panel might want to flip these. Perfectly located for top-panel installations, a fill port eases refilling whenever the builder decides to add components.

A second fill port is located on the opposite end cap, perfectly positioned for front-panel installations where cooling lines enter at the bottom. This end is also where we also find the Predator 240’s motherboard-controlled fan hub.

EK’s polishing skills provide a base that’s mostly flat and extremely smooth. A single set of mounting holes on the included support plate fits only LGA 115x mounting holes, leaving LGA 1366 owners seeking another part. LGA 2011 (v3) motherboards have an integrated support plate.

A closer look at the installation kit reveals two separate cables, one for motherboard PWM and RPM signals, the other to feed power to the pump and fans. The power cable uses an SATA-type power connection.

A closer look at the mounting screws shows that these include both small threads to fit EK’s support plate, and larger threads to fit integrated LGA 2011 (v3) support mechanisms. These require that LGA 2011 (v3) boards have holes behind their support mechanisms, but that may not be a problem since the only undrilled boards we’ve seen were pre-production.

EK’s fitting collars pinch hoses circumferentially against a hose barb, and can be hand-loosed when adding components such as a GPU water block.

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  • alidan
    you really need to have 2/3 air coolers on any list as well.

    1 - stock
    2 - highest recommended air cooler
    3 - best air cooler

    for me it would take a water cooler that was so significantly better than a noctua nh-d15 to get me off my plans for air, just because if a pump fails, I can't replace that fast, but if a fan fails, I have a spare.
  • Gam3r01
    The conclusion has two "w"s in "Without"
  • shrapnel_indie
    Still waiting on "pro" reviews for the CryOrig series of water coolers. (A40, A40 Extreme, and A80)

    Sad to see a leader in custom parts 1) not beat Swiftech by more, and 2) lose to a closed loop AiO. Part quality better be a big part of its cost, or you're paying only for their name.
  • cbrunnem
    MSI X99A gamer doesnt have drilled holes. the holes push through easily.
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    MSI X99A gamer doesnt have drilled holes. the holes push through easily.
    So the holes are in the board but not the foam pad? We've seen that too. As long as the cooler fits without damaging the board or modifying the cooler, we're not worried about its compatibility.
  • Olle_P
    Are the temperatures given in farenheit or celsius?
    My guess would be farenheit, since you don't want the CPU to run at 60C above room temperature. Adding 2-3 times as much heat from a graphics card to the cooler's burden would make the CPU run too hot.
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Are the temperatures given in farenheit or celsius?
    My guess would be farenheit, since you don't want the CPU to run at 60C above room temperature. Adding 2-3 times as much heat from a graphics card to the cooler's burden would make the CPU run too hot.
    Celsius. Recent Intel CPUs can run for many months at 95 °C fully loaded without showing damage, and the Haswell-E has proven even better at handling heat than most of those (surviving at 105 °C for long duration).

    When we set up the initial test the target was 95 °C, but most of the coolers and cases tested can't maintain it. Because the test only last a few hours, I increased the thermal threshold to 115 °C. We break things so you don't have to :D
  • Karadjgne
    If they were going to compare against a AiO, would have been better I think to include a Corsair h100i instead of the Frostflow
  • JackNaylorPE
    How about a test at equal noise output .... say 35 and 40 dbA ?
  • zodiacfml
    It probably won't happen as cooling is limited by its surface area. The Noctua probably has more surface area than most AIO watercoolers.
    Personally, I'd take the less performing, more expensive, and theoretically less reliable watercooler because it is easier to install, less risk to break the motherboard/CPU, and avoid the need for another exhaust fan or set.

    Anonymous said:
    you really need to have 2/3 air coolers on any list as well.

    1 - stock
    2 - highest recommended air cooler
    3 - best air cooler

    for me it would take a water cooler that was so significantly better than a noctua nh-d15 to get me off my plans for air, just because if a pump fails, I can't replace that fast, but if a fan fails, I have a spare.
  • Karadjgne
    This article wasn't about big liquid vrs big air, there's enough of those already. It's an article comparing abilities of sectional AiOs vrs a standard AiO. This article is for those who have already looked/compared big liquid vrs big air and have already decided on an AiO, but might feel like a sectional is something to consider with possible gpu additions.
  • gondo
    If you want a regular waterblock that is expandable without the pump attached there are 2 choices. EKWB Predator, and the Swiftech. Swiftech puts the pump on the surface of the rad so you loose the choice of which side to put fans on. EKWB puts it on the bottom of the rad so 240mm actually takes 270mm or so of space.

    For quality, EKWB is the best and expandable so it can do a video card and CPU on the cheap compared to a custom open loop. It's an intro kit into the world of open loop. I think it succeeds. If the user wants to get a separate pump and reservoir in the future then that is possible as all components are standard such as the water block and fittings. Swiftech doesn't have standard compression barbs unless you buy the upgraded premium kit.

    I agree it's hard to sell an expensive AIO such as this for just a CPU, and also hard not to spend a few more bucks and just get an open loop kit. But there are some people who will want the cheapest kit for now with the option to upgrade in the future, and this is it.
  • evan8683
    The problem with EK products is the taxes. You pay close to a QUARTER of the cost of whatever you're buying just in taxes. You want to buy $400 worth of products? Expect to pay close to $100 on top of that in taxes!
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    The problem with EK products is the taxes. You pay close to a QUARTER of the cost of whatever you're buying just in taxes. You want to buy $400 worth of products? Expect to pay close to $100 on top of that in taxes!
    We went with US pricing, so that's after any foreign taxes.
  • Karadjgne
    I like the idea of options. It's why I built a pc, not bought a console. The option to change things if I'm not happy with the current setup is a serious bonus in my mind to the modular CLC. Add a gpu... sure. Chanel tubing, great, even add colors and lighting. It honestly seems like the best of both worlds. Buying a custom loop all in one box, pre-thunk, no research required, just minor assembly. Yes, I'm lazy too, so this would be perfect if I was planning on going in that direction.

    The one option that doesn't seem available is software. I'm really attached to the nzxt CAB software, do doing everything with separate controls irks my lazy side.