23 - 03 - 2017
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EKWB EK-XLC Predator 280 Pre-filled CPU Xpandable Liquid Cooling System Review

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TEST BED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TESTING METHODOLOGY

 

   Testing complete water cooling kits or individual radiators is no different than testing CPU Coolers and since we want all of you to be able to compare similar products we created new and separate charts (you can still cross-compare results however since we are using the same test rig). So once again single (120/140mm) watercooling solutions are tested with the radiator mounted at the rear of our test rig while dual/triple/quad (240/260/280/360/420/480/560mm) solutions with the radiator mounted at the top. For the dBA tests complete water cooling kits or radiators with bundled fans are measured both while on idle mode or with the fan controller in the minimum setting and while on extreme load or with the fan controller all the way to the highest possible setting (PWM fans do that on their own without our intervention). Every single test takes place in a temperature controlled room of 23 degrees Celsius Ambient Temp with the help of two AC units placed diagonally inside the room. When testing complete water cooling kits we use the Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. Finally much like when testing CPU Coolers it's very important to point out that just because a water cooling kit outperforms another when tested with our test rig (when we test complete water cooling kits) that does not necessarily mean that the same performance differences will apply 100% for other CPU models and in other situations (such as different ambient temps and system configurations).


     To successfully record the load temperatures we use the latest OCCT application for around 6-10 minutes to push the processor to its limits and after that is done and the temperatures are recorded we wait for about 10-20 minutes for the CPU to cool down and record the idle temperatures. This is done to allow time for the thermal conductive material to achieve the optimal performance level. Same procedure is then repeated with the Passmark BurnIn Test as a failsafe just in case the OCCT results are wrong. This procedure takes a lot more time than the usual peltier/thermometer tests but this way not only can we deliver real world results to our readers based on real CPUs but we can also triple check the results using a variety of programs. Last but not least the temperatures were recorded using both the latest versions of AIDA64 and RealTemp while the noise level tests (when fans exist in the bundle) are performed using a high precision ExTech HD600 Decibel Meter placed about 10-15cm above the radiator. Still although the same testing procedure applies to all units do take into consideration that unlike the official numbers which are measured in special noise isolated labs with just the fans here we also have both the rest of the cooler and the rest of the system (although all system fans are turned off when recording noise levels).