Custom water-cooling hardware manufacturer EK has dabbled in the AIO liquid cooler market for a few years, and has now settled on a traditional design with a sealed loop, which comes in either plain black design or with an RGB-enabled pump and fans. It’s the former that we’re reviewing here in the form of the EK-AIO 240 Basic; if you’re not fussed at all by multi-colored flashing lights, this is the cooler to buy this month.
At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing the latest PC hardware since 2003, and we run a number of tests in order to gauge performance. We use Prime95’s smallest FFT test with AVX instructions disabled to load the CPU and take the temperature reading after ten minutes.
When testing CPU coolers, we use CoreTemp to measure the CPU temperature, before subtracting the ambient air temperature from this figure to give us a delta T result, which enables us to test in a lab that isn’t temperature controlled. For more information, see our How we test page.
The EK EK-AIO 240 Basic is very reasonably priced too, shaving a good chunk off the price of the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix, although it does lack software control and a fan hub. On the other side of the pricing fence, the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 RGB is actually slightly cheaper and includes RGB lighting, as well as expertly tidied cables and pre-installed fans.
However, the EK’s fans are more powerful, which was our one complaint about the ARCTIC cooler. The EK’s fans can hit 2,400rpm, which gives the cooler some clout on high-end CPUs.
It’s also extremely well made, with braided and highly flexible tubing, along with chrome-plated end caps – it’s a premium look that helps to set the EK apart from other coolers. The black brushed cap on the pump will look great with any grey or black-themed motherboards. Just be aware that the large waterblock/pump unit may be an issue on some smaller motherboards when it comes to clearance.
EK also includes a tube of high-performance Thermal Grizzly thermal paste in the box, so unlike the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix, you get enough paste to cover several remounts or upgrades. You can read our full guide on how to apply thermal paste to find the best way to spread it on your CPU. Unlike the ARCTIC cooler, though, you’ll need to buy an LGA1700 mounting kit for Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs separately. On the plus side, it’s not expensive.
With no lighting on offer, you only need to deal with the 4-pin PWM cables for the pump and fans. The latter benefit from a PWM splitter cable, so you need just one fan header on your motherboard to power them. Installation is simple as well, with the EK-AIO 240 Basic having a straightforward mounting mechanism for all sockets, using thumbscrews, springs and a backplate.
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic noise level
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic is very quiet in operation, making a similar amount of noise to the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 RGB. It’s also far quieter than the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix.
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic Intel LGA1700 temperature
In terms of cooling power, the EK EK-AIO-240 Basic CPU delta T in our Intel system of 49°C beat the result of the Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix and was 6°C lower than the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 RGB too. It’s a powerful cooler for the money.
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic AMD Socket AM4 temperature
The EK EK-AIO-240 wasn’t quite as potent in our AMD system as it was in our Intel system, only offering a 4°C advantage over the ARCTIC cooler, and it was also bettered by the Corsair cooler in this system, although again the Corsair was much noisier.
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic pros and cons
- Jet-black design
- Reasonable price
- Great build quality
- Rather basic
- No RGB lighting
- LGA1700 kit is optional extra
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic specs
The EK EK-AIO 240 Basic specs list is:
|Intel compatibility||LGA1700 (with optional kit), LGA1200, LGA115x, LGA2066, LGA2011|
|AMD compatibility||Socket AM4|
|Radiator size with fans (mm)||120 x 275 x 52 (W x D x H)|
|Fans||2 x 120mm|
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic price
The price of the EK EK-AIO 240 Basic is generous for the cooling power, low-noise operation and build quality, although it lacks advanced features.
Price: Expect to pay $85 (£83).
The EK EK-AIO 240 Basic is no longer available to buy, but there are other similarly well-made EK 240mm AIO liquid coolers available, such as the EK Nucleus AIO CR240.
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic review conclusion
While the EK’s setup is as basic as liquid coolers come, if you don’t want RGB lighting and just want a reasonably priced, good-performing, classy-looking AIO liquid cooler, the EK-AIO 240 Basic gets our vote. It’s a shame LGA1700 compatibility doesn’t come as standard and the, and the waterblock/pump unit is a bit large, but we can’t argue with the cooling, build quality or price.
For most people, we’d still recommend opting for the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 240 RGB, which offers a VRM cooling fan, slightly lower noise levels and RGB lighting, as well as out-of-the-box LGA1700 compatibility. However, the EK-AIO 240 Basic remains a great choice if you like its classy minimalist appearance.
If this CPU cooler isn’t right for you, we’ve reviewed plenty of other alternative 240mm AIO designs, including the Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux, as well as the Lian Li Galahad 240mm. If you’re looking to upgrade your CPU, make sure you also check out our full guide to the best CPU for gaming, where we outline the very best options at a range of prices.
EK EK-AIO 240 Basic review rating
Great cooling and quiet operation for a reasonable price – ideal if you’re not fussed about RGB lighting.