EU price - Full Nickel LGA 2066 (as reviewed): €210 (inc. VAT)
EU price - Nickel + Plexi AM4 (as reviewed): €184.79(inc. VAT)
US price - EU price - Full Nickel LGA 2066 (as reviewed): $269.99 (exc. tax)
US price - Nickel + Plexi AM4 (as reviewed): $229.99 (exc. tax)
It seems like Magnitude has been a long time coming. We were first introduced to EKWB's new flagship CPU waterblock back at Computex 2019, where they showed off a selection of early prototypes sporting impressive modularity and bold cooling claims. Fast forward to CES 2020 and they still weren't released, however we did get to have a brief hands on with a finished, production ready sample at the show. Well, they're finally here and we've secured a couple with which to do a bit of a tear down and some testing.
Watercooling has become incredibly popular over the last couple years, having made sizeable strides towards the more mainstream end of PC enthusiasts. Not only have we seen the influx of low cost Chinese brands, making the hobby considerably more accessible, large brands such as Corsair have also opted to get in on the game. This has caused the scene to explode with variety, as each company seeks to carve out their piece of the pie.
Watercooling as a hobby underwent some pretty vast changes, having originally begun almost exclusively in the overclocking community, with enthusiasts turning to homebrew solutions to eek out additional MHz from their silicon. This original focus on performance has largely subsided in preference for aesthetics, the simple fact being that the majority of decently made blocks on the market will cool most CPUs more than adequately. Personally, I fit into that trend. I use watercooling both as an aesthetic feature and to keep noise to a minimum, I essentially never push my chips hard or really flex the cooling setup I'm using. #
Recent CPU releases, however, have begun to buck that trend a bit. For a good few years, Intel had been dominating with their 115X chips, most of which sipped power compared with the likes of X79 and X99, as such there wasn't as much of a need for ultimate cooling performance. It was more of a given that you would reach the limits of your silicon before cooling efficiency would become a huge factor. Ryzen's release along with Intel's seeming inability to go below a 14nm process node have rather shaken things up. We now have power hungry chips such as the 9900KS and 3950X on the mainstream platforms along with Threadripper and Intel's X299 refreshes, both of which demand the juice. Adding to this, the structure of CPUs is changing. AMD's chiplet designs sees the silicon placed differently under the IHS to before and Threadripper is simply colossal.
These changes have helped open up an exciting new avenue for high performance blocks again. Specifically blocks that can cater to individual CPU platforms and deliver targeted cooling to extract as much they possibly can from a given setup. Optimus PC has laid down the gauntlet in the US, claiming to have achieved "the new benchmark in PC water cooling" and Ian '8Pack' Parry has said that they're planning to release a line of blocks which will be tailored to individual CPUs to achieve supposedly unreal performance. Now it's EK's turn to show what they've been cooking up in this niche field.
April 7 2020 | 14:00