EK, the water block powerhouse releases a radiator. The EK CoolStream RAD XT 360 is here. We all know EK Waterblocks; we have been looking at those gorgeous full cover GPU blocks for years now. The EK Supreme has been a top contending CPU block since Core 2 were the hot chips and I myself have several of the Multi-Res. Don’t forget those DDC and D5 Pump tops as well. A radiator was about the only water cooling product missing from the EK line up. The expansion into radiators also comes with a corporate identity facelift, new logo and an overhauled web site. There have been some questions regarding who actually makes the radiator or if the design was licensed from another company, I do not have any idea and I certainly will not speculate. Either way, the EK Cool Stream series has been released and we are ready to take the first drive off the show room floor.
The CoolStream series from EK covers the entire 120mm range, offering a single, double, triple and quad 120mm radiators. The CoolStream follows suite to many of the top performing radiators, sporting two rows of 14 brass tubes sandwiched with copper fins at 11FPI. The FPI ranges from 10-12, and 11 was the most consistent in my counts. Those brass tubes measure in at 2mm wide, remember there are two rows though and each row of fins is 6mm wide. The extra row of tubes will definitely help on restriction as we have seen in past testing. The part I find interesting is the width of the tubes and width of the fins. The 2mm tubes are a bit wider and the fin/fold width is somewhat smaller than most of the other low-medium speed fan optimized radiators, we will have to wait and see what impact these design choices have on thermal performance. The overall dimensions on the CS360 are 398 x 123 x 47mm (LxWxH), and yes, there is an 8mm plenum on both sides of the radiator.
The CoolStream 360 follows the norm on fan spacing with 15mm spacing for fans or to mount the radiator to your case, glad to see all of the 120mm radiators following the set standard on fan spacing. When all of the manufacturers establish a standard we the consumer benefit, the days of having to make special templates when modding your case are over. However, I am a little frustrated seeing M3 tapped mount holes and included screws. There are only two radiators that I have tested using M3, all others use 6-32 or M4. My US bias is showing a bit here, 6-32 and M4 screws are quite common in the US and I have no problems finding them at local hardware and home improvement stores. M3 is next to impossible to find. I do not know if the availability has to do with being in the Upper Midwest, but I want to stress the use of 6-32 or M4 screws to all radiator manufacturers. However, EK does include M3 screws for 25mm and 30mm fans. If you are looking to strap 38mm fans to your EK CoolStream 10mm M3 screws are what you are on the hunt for. Even with the 8mm plenum, I used fiber washers on the screws when mounting fans… Remember to always double check your screw lengths before mounting fans or the radiator to your case, puncturing a tube is a nightmare you do not want to experience.
Back to the top end of the CS360, you will find split end tanks and standard G1/4 barb ports. When I pulled the CoolStream out of the box, I was glad to see barb port covers, those little things are quite useful to me and I can always use extras. Okay, so they might not be useful to many of you but I use them. You will also find the EK logo stamped on both of the side panels as well as the bottom tank, I have a photo of the side panel further down the page, but my bottom tank had a slight blemish on stamping/paint and just did not make for a good photo. Rounding out the features and specs description is the black semi-gloss paint covering the CoolStream RAD XT. I refer to the paint job as semi-gloss because it doesn’t quite resemble a matte finish like we see on a ThermoChill and does not have the shine of a HWLabs high gloss finish, hopefully the photos help explain what I mean by semi-gloss.
In a couple of the recent radiator reviews I cracked a joke about logo placement, well the EK CoolStream RAD XT does not have painted logos but stamped side panels and bottom tank. With the orientation of the stamps, the radiator would need to be mounted with the barb ports down in order for those stamped logos to be the proper direction. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing the branding on products but there is always the possibility of having those logos be upside down or downside up…whichever way you want to look at it.
On your scroll down here, you eyed shots of the 15mm fan spacing and 11 FPI. The more shots like this I take the more I realize I need to setup a special rig or mount, the FPI and fan spacing shots need serious improvement. I mentioned above that the CoolStream RAD XT does vary from 10-12 FPI, but 11 was the most consistent on my counts. Feel free to count it out for yourself.
I tried to get a good photo of the side panel stamps, and the above photo is the one I liked of the many I snapped. And with that, the photo show comes to an end. Time to look at the pressure drop/restriction for the EK CoolStream RAD XT 360 (wow that’s a long name), see you on the next page.