EK CoolStream 360

Thermal Test Results

For comparison on the charts, I have included data from the ThermoChill PA120.3 15mm. To me the PA sets the bar on performance for 120mm triples with great performance across all fan speeds. The comparison on this portion of the individual reviews is rather new, but I feel it helps frame in the thermal performance for each radiator. Previously, you would have to open another review and compare yourself or wait for me to complete the comparison.

Heat Loads

Here is the main chart for bringing all of the logged data in and using this data to calculate Water Avg-Air In, and C/W. Another column you see in the table is Air Capacity Used; this column shows the rise in air temperature relative to the water temperature. Another way to look at Air Capacity used is a measure of efficiency, how efficient is the radiator at moving the heat load from the water running through the tubes to the air passing through the radiator.

I am happy to report we did not hit our safety shutoff on the low speed/high heat load tests; we have all 12 tests on the EK CoolStream 360. Without any more delay from my blabbering, on to the data…

With the data chart above we get to use all those mystifying numbers to build the charts that follow, hopefully these charts put the data into a form that makes sense to the majority of you reading the review. The chart below plots the Water Avg-Air In Temperature or Delta versus the Heat Load applied. This chart is the most useful in estimating the Delta for a given heat load (watts) to be applied to the radiator. Simply locate the wattage on the X-axis and move up to find the Delta for a given fan speed. Add this delta to your ambient temperature, and that is what you can expect for a loop water temperature.

For information on calculating heat load for your loop, here are two resources I have used in the past. I have used Google to search out the TDP for a specific component, which does help in estimating the heat load that will be in the loop for a specific component. The primary method for me is linked below, they take a lot of the Google searching out of the equation and break everything down to just the numbers you need.

Please remember, calculating the power consumption and using that as heat load is not exact and is only an estimate. This estimate will be higher than actual heat load applied as you do transfer some heat to the air circulating in your case around the components. How much difference I cannot begin to speculate, but I just want to state that it is only an estimate and not an exact specification.

Applied C/W

Now that we have looked at the plotted results, let us apply the C/W results with a given Delta (Water Avg-Air In) to find how much wattage the radiator can dissipate. Below is the data table for calculations of Deltas of 15º, 10º, 5º and 2º. Here are my classifications for those deltas.

  • 15º Delta: Low Performance, an overloaded but capable loop.
  • 10º Delta: Average Performance, very capable of good temps and representative of an average system.
  • 5º Delta: High Performance, for those of you looking to achieve the best possible temps.
  • 2º Delta: Ultra Performance. Extreme setups only, this would be an ultimate setup where you limit to dedicated block loops.

Moving to the plotted C/W results over the fan RPM range, as you can see the results do follow close to a plotted trendline. This trendline might not mean much to you, but to me the trend line helps me see that my testing and resultant data are accurate. I mentioned this earlier, but the PA120.3-15mm data is included in the charts. I was not following the numbers closely as I was testing, it was only when preparing the data tables and charts for this page did I get the first view of performance for the EK CS360… and I was very, very surprised with the results.

With the C/W calculated, we can apply a given Delta or difference in temperature to find the watts dissipated for our RPM range. This next chart is just the plotted results for a 10º Delta or Average Performance from the data table in the beginning of this section. The watts dissipated charts give another look at the C/W data, this way with some numbers we know from load sizing our systems.

The C/W chart may not have explained what I meant by the surprising results, but the 10C Delta numbers show what I meant. The EK CoolStream 360 is certainly a capable radiator, but I was expecting numbers a lot closer to those posted by the PA120.3. However, let’s not stop the review here. With average performance covered let’s cut the delta in half to a 5º Delta or what I consider High Performance for a loop. The story will be the same as 10ºC, just half the heat load but visual representations always seem to get the message across a little better (especially with my goofy explanations).

Those of you seeking the maximum thermal performance from your radiators always want to see how close you can get your Delta’s to ambient, and like always we have the 2º Delta or Ultra Performance chart for you. In most cases, this chart is purely to show what wattages and fan speeds you need to get really close to ambient water temps. A 2º Delta is rather tough to achieve, you have to make a choice of Delta, Noise, or Wattage of the loop. Most often, you will need low wattage loops and high fan speeds (or multiple radiators) to achieve 2ºC or better deltas.

After saving out the charts and tables on this page, I just had to inspect the EK CoolStream 360 a bit closer. After racking my brain and causing some serious eyestrain, I went back to the data. The plotted results are a bit deceiving, after all the performance difference here ranges from roughly 10% to 25% across the fan speed range. Moreover, the PA120.3 is a standout performer across all fan speeds. We are fooling ourselves if we expect every radiator to match the market standard. Well, that is all the thermal data we have today, time to look at market pricing and the conclusion…

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