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EKWB EK-XLC Predator 240 Liquid CPU Cooler Review

Manufacturer: EKWB

Introduction and First Impressions

EKWB now has a pair of all-in-one liquid CPU coolers on the market, and today we have the 240 mm variant on the test bench. Long known as a supplier of water blocks (the WB in EKWB stands for water blocks, after all) and other parts for custom liquid cooling, how will EKWB's foray into self-contained liquid CPU coolers fare?

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The Predator 240 take a very different approach to self-contained CPU cooling, being a pre-assembled unit comprised of separate, and removable, parts. Though pre-filled and ready to use as a CPU cooler out of the box, the Predator 240 (and to a greater degree the larger Predator 360) can be expanded to cool additional components, and customized as the user desires.

This versitility doesn't come cheap, but the Predator is actually a pretty good value when you price out the components that make up the whole. Looking through EKWB's site the water block is available separately for $54.99, the radiator is $61.99, the two fans are $17.99 each, and then there's the pump, hoses, fittings, and coolant to buy.

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Still, at $199.95 the Predator 240 is at the top of the heap for price in this category (among 240 mm options), regardless of the apparent quality of the components. And while this may have more in common with a custom loop than your typical all-in-one CPU cooler, the only thing that really matters is performance. To test this I put it to work on the cooling test bench against some of the other coolers I have on hand. We'll see what it can do.

Continue reading our review of the EK-XLC Predator 240 Liquid CPU Cooler!!

Before we take a look at the cooler here are the specifications and product highlights from EKWB:


Technical specifications:

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 295 x 133 x 68 mm
  • Fan type: EK-Vardar F4-120ER Predator Edition (550-2200 rpm)
  • Tube length: ~400 mm (15.75in)
  • Fitting type: EK-ACF Fitting 10/16mm
  • Coolant type: EK-Ekoolant EVO Clear
  • Pump type: Laing DDC3.1 6W
  • Total liquid capacity: ~290 mL

CPU socket compatibility:

  • Intel LGA-1150/1151/1155/1156
  • Intel LGA-2011(-3)

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Product highlights (from EKWB):

  • Hovercore is a new, revolutionary design of radiator de-coupling that effectively prevents transfer of pump induced vibrations from the unit to the computer chassis itself, thus resulting in vibration-free and silent operation.
  • Supremacy MX CPU water block, top performer in Enthusiast segment, is specifically designed for Intel CPUs and offers great hydraulic and thermal performance. Carefully machined copper base is made from purest copper available and is further polished to absolute mirror finish. This alone greatly improves the cooling performance of the Predator.
  • CoolStream PE 240mm radiator, has a full copper core superior to aluminum alternatives in terms of heat dissipation. In conjunction with EK-Vardar fans the result is increased performance across an entire fan operational range, thus delivering results both at low- and high airflow operation.
  • Vardar fans – two on Predator 240 – are high-static pressure fans developed in-house specifically for liquid cooling systems. With low noise profile and PWM technology built in, the system always controls the RPM and keeps the fans silent while maintaining excellent cooling performance.
  • DDC pump is a powerful 6W liquid cooling pump providing 2-3x higher flow rate compared to other AIOs on the market. It’s also PWM controlled, allowing for automatic pump speed regulation depending on your CPU temperature. Full performance on demand or whisper quiet operation in idle mode!
  • Integrated Fan splitter hub reduces cable clutter and keeps the unit aesthetically clean. Predator pump and fans plug into the unit itself with only one PWM cable going into CPU Fan socket, while a single SATA molex cable powers the complete unit.

Our thanks to EKWB for providing the EK-XLC Predator 240 cooler for our review!

Pricing and availablity: 

First Impressions

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The EK-XLC Predator 240 arrives in a pretty deluxe package, which is appropriate considering its price. Inside the box we see first the owners manual, and then a white molded plastic inner shell that holds the rest of the of box contents.

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This is easily the best packaging I've seen so far from a liquid cooler, and it looks like it would keep the unit protected from rough transit. Eveything is contained and adequately separated, which helps keep the initial setup process organized.

What exactly is included in the box?

  • EK-XLC Predator 240
  • EK-TIM Ectotherm (1g syringe)
  • Main Power and PWM signal cable
  • Torx T20 key
  • Installation manual

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I was curious about that Torx key. It turns out that installation of the water block requires the replacement of the stock LGA1151 socket backplate, which means temporarily removing the socket retention mechanism (a little scary if you haven't done it before - and I hadn't). More about this on the next page.

Next, a look at the main event; the EK-XLC Predator 240.

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This is easily the largest 240 mm liquid cooler I've encountered, and while the radiator/fan/pump assembly is very thick at 68 mm, the 240 mm radiator itself is 38 mm thick (still thick for a self-contained 240 mm system). The pump is attached to the end of the radiator, with a metal frame finishing off the assembly.

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The fans are pre-attached and are a special Predator Edition of EK's Vardar F4-120ER 120 mm high-static pressure fans according to EKWB.

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The installed water block features a highly polished copper base, and it was certainly difficult to photograph with the sun shining in.

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The hoses are EK's "ZMT" (zero maintenence tubing), which are very flexible and have a 3/8" internal diameter (5/8" external).

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I was highly impressed with all aspects of the cooler right out of the package, but what really matters is performance. We'll check out the fit with our Z170 test system and see how it performed on the next page.


December 28, 2015 | 11:41 AM - Posted by LezChuck (not verified)

Can you do a test with push pull configuration on this thing? I have not seen a review of this product on how much the temps would differ from two to four fans mounted on the rad. Thanks

December 28, 2015 | 11:41 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

Another COn to be added onto the list: Mounting screws for some of the 2011-3 motherboards is an optional extra.

December 28, 2015 | 11:41 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

Another COn to be added onto the list: Mounting screws for some of the 2011-3 motherboards is an optional extra.

December 31, 2015 | 09:25 PM - Posted by quest4glory

They're $3.49 and nickel plated.

December 28, 2015 | 01:29 PM - Posted by Arul

Tank ?!!! :-)

December 28, 2015 | 01:36 PM - Posted by quest4glory

I received an email this morning from EK support regarding the MX CPU block and units manufactured after November 1st. Basically they said to inspect them and stop using if you see green stains or other signs of leakage.

Unfortunately, I did not receive the email until after the bad o rings caused liquid to leak onto both sides of my motherboards CPU socket. Lucky for me the CPU and other components aren't damaged, but I'm out a $400 Asus motherboard now as a result. I had the issue occur over the weekend before they sent the email. Talk about timing. I sent support photographic evidence and they've asked me to go through the RMA process. Unfortunately it doesn't work well from the Safari browser on iPhone and I'm going to have to get to a working PC before I can do this.

The problem first exhibited itself as undetected memory in 2 of 4 populated DDR4 sockets on my X99 Deluxe motherboard. Then it progressed to 3 of 4. Then I removed the board and noticed greasy residue all over both sides of the socket. This is a stomach turning turn of events as Christmas has past and lots of people will be paying their holiday bills and now like me have to deal with an RMA on their Predator 360 and have to deal with a replacement air or water cooling unit until the RMA process can be completed.

In my case I have to put the stock cooler back on my GPU (if I can find all the parts) as I had expanded my loop to include the GPU when I ordered the equipment in mid November. That's after I replace the board and put on an air cooler (trying to find something in Austin today suitable for a 5930K.) I will hope for the best with my RAM.

December 28, 2015 | 11:22 PM - Posted by shawnf77

Dude that sucks. I had the 360 Predator and it started leaking but I caught it right when it started. Hopefully you get things fixed up. I am a fan of Ek and started building a custom loop around there pump/res combo. But they need to get this sorted its not like they are not charging a premium for there AIO.

December 29, 2015 | 01:19 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Wow, sorry to hear that -- that sucks! Where you using a specialty coolant in the loop or just distilled water? (The greasy residue makes me think the former but..). Since it's under warranty, I would just do the RMA and let Asus deal with it, but if it wasn't I'd try to clean everything with pure alcohol and then let it dry completely.

I hope Asus comes through for you with the warranty!

I've had a board come back from the dead that had a bit of distilled water leak out of my loop and under the socket. It had all kinds of mysterious crashing issues and then eventually would not even turn on. I was about to order new parts and do an overhaul a month+ later but decided before I bought them to give the old PC one last try and sure enough it powered right up and is still going strong two years later. Just my luck, I had a suspicion that if I threatened it with new parts it would come back to life! heh

December 30, 2015 | 03:46 AM - Posted by quest4glory

To answer your question, no it's just the distilled water and whatever additive they use. I think the greasy residue is from the rubber tubing.

When I took the socket protector off the motherboard, I found pools of water on both sides of the board. The water was also pooled up under all the RAM sockets on the backside of the board. Gravity.

I have the "dead" motherboard in a giant bag with a ton of rice. We'll see how it goes, I have considered an isopropyl alcohol bath. The main issue I see is the socket has some pins that are protuding due to the water leak.

January 4, 2016 | 03:12 PM - Posted by quest4glory

Turns out the residue was from the O-ring inside the CPU block which broke down at "high temps" around 60 C. Users who added a GPU to their 360 expandable unit were more likely to run into this than 240 users.

December 28, 2015 | 03:46 PM - Posted by Prodeous

Be nice to see more OC testing or testing on more thermally demanding CPU's like socket 2011 chips with 140w.

I hope that they will also release AM3+ support, or at least AM4 when it comes out in March

December 29, 2015 | 11:47 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I'm with you here. The 4.3 GHz OC on an i5 is too low to test a cooler this powerful. I am currently re-testing the 240 mm coolers from this review at a much more challenging 4.7 GHz OC on my i5-6600K (at around 1.4v). Moving to a more power-hungry LGA2011 CPU would make sense going forward for reviews of higher-end coolers, current setup is geared toward more mainstream options.

January 5, 2016 | 03:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

I bought a Predator 240 and EK fullcover block to mount it on a 980TI. It does a really good job even on the GPU with its 250w TDP. ~50c running Furmark with fans at 1200rpm is quite a respectable result.

January 13, 2016 | 11:48 PM - Posted by RooseBolton

Like guest4glory, I also received the email last week regarding the o-ring problem that EKWB said only affected a limited number of units.

This morning they sent an email saying they are doing a full recall of the Predator 240 and 360 (I have both), Rev.1. Which I think might be all the ones they've shipped until just recently. New units designated Rev. 1.1 are fine they say. They are giving free exchanges, shipping paid, or full refunds.

I have been using my 360 to cool 2 980ti's so I never installed the CPU waterblock, which is the part with the defective o-rings. The 240 is still in its box.

I would like to just send the waterblock since that is where the problem is. I'm going to call them and ask, because they set up European and US toll free numbers.

January 13, 2016 | 11:52 PM - Posted by RooseBolton

Oh and they also said they will pay for any damaged hardware due to the leaks.

March 5, 2016 | 02:26 AM - Posted by rcald2000

That is the right thing for them to do.