EK Supreme HF Review

Thermal Test Results

In an effort to expedite the testing (and reporting) process, I did not do orientation testing for the EK Supreme HF. I observed that, thus far, every microchannel block on Nehalem has performed best when flow went horizontally (i.e., flow moves toward the I/O ports and/or the RAM slots on an LGA1366 board). Frankly, the performance I got was exemplary and the best I’ve seen of any stock block to date; I have no reason to suspect that changing orientation would do anything but harm thermal performance.

I did test each of the four included injector plates. The general trend was the smaller the injection opening, the better the thermal performance, with the exception being the stock plate was actually the worst (despite having only the second largest opening). I suspect this is because I tested the Supreme HF + stock plate without opening the block or altering it in any way and the four structural screws were not fully tightened. My best explanation is that this would cause a slight decrease in the bow and hamper the mating surface between the IHS and the CPU block. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the stock injection plate is the worst performing, thermally. Regardless of the cause of the broken trend, the best injection plate I tested was the smallest (#1) and the added restriction was insignificant.

Below is a comparison of the Supreme HF and its four included injection plates against the Swiftech Apogee XT, the Heatkiller 3.0 LT/Cu (they perform identically), and the original Supreme. Mouseover to see flowrate comparisons.

Flowrate vs. Temperature

Now that we’ve figured out what the best configuration is for each block, let’s chart its performance over the entire flowrate spectrum. First we’ll graph actual flow vs. actual temperature, then we’ll graph pumping power vs. temperature. Below is a table of what each pumping power nickname means.

  • Very High Pumping Power: All three MCP355 pumps and the D5 are on at full speed–this has a very similar PQ curve to a pair of RD-30s at 20V.
  • High Pumping Power: Two MCP355s with EK V2 tops are on at full speed. The other two pumps are off.
  • Medium High Pumping Power: A single MCP355 with XSPC V3 top is on at full speed. The other three pumps are off.
  • Medium Pumping Power: The stock D5 is on at full speed and setting 5. The other three pumps are off.
  • Low Pumping Power: A single MCP355 with XSPC V3 top is on at minimum speed (~7.7V, ~2450RPM). The other three pumps are off.
  • Very Low Pumping Power: The stock D5 is on at minimum speed–setting 1. The other three pumps are off.

The EK Supreme HF + plate 1 is the best out-of-box performing block I’ve ever tested, period. It’s less restrictive than the Heatkiller 3.0 LT/Cu and performs noticeably better than the Apogee XT thermally; there is no downside to the performance of this block. However, it is slightly unfortunate that the stock plate is noticeably inferior thermally and provides very little drop in restriction (especially considering there’s a “Warranty Void If Removed” sticker). Amazingly, over my entire pumping power spectrum, the HF + plate 1 is the best performing block (it was amazing when the Apogee XT did it a few months ago and it’s even more amazing that the Apogee XT has already been beaten on every performance front). What does that mean in Layman’s terms? For a low-flow system (one with a weak pump and/or a lot of other secondary components and/or 1/4″ tubing), this block is still the best. As of the time of writing, it’s the best no matter what else is in your system.

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