TL;DR: EK Water Blocks has brought a stack of incredible new designs to CES this year, which vary from innovative to amusing. Whether it needed water cooling or not, EK have done it.
First up is the QuantumX Delta TEC (Believe it or not, this is the most normal product EK announced today). A TEC is a thermoelectric cooler, and it’s an idea companies have mulled over for a while. EK sent out a few engineering samples to reviewers for feedback late last year.
Physically, a TEC is a small ceramic plate that draws heat upwards when a voltage is applied to it. EK partnered with Intel to put TEC tech inside a CPU waterblock. The result is the Delta TEC; an ungainly slab of copper and circuitry that can drop an i9-10900K to zero degrees in three seconds.
Its purpose is to make the processor more stable at higher clock frequencies. In a medium intensity workload like gaming, the Delta TEC can let an i9-10900K meet or exceed 5.5 GHz.
Unlike a regular waterblock, the Delta TEC is unable to dissipate a constant and intense heat. In a rendering workload, for example, the Delta TEC would bottleneck the processor. That’s one of the disadvantages. It’ll only dial up the clock speeds if the workload is lightly threaded.
Another disadvantage is power consumption. At idle, it consumes nothing (though the rest of the cooling loop will consume power). On the variable mode, which EK and Intel suggest is the optimal mode, it consumes 50W to 150W. Fully unlocked, it can consume 200W.
The last disadvantage is the price. It costs $360 and requires additional cooling capacity in the rest of the custom loop too. But for the overclocking enthusiast with deep pockets (and an Intel processor), the Delta TEC is available for pre-order now and will ship soon.
Next is a crunchy sandwich: two graphics cards, one copper waterblock.
One of the limitations of compute servers is their heat density. Swapping out air cooling for water cooling means you can ditch the heat spreaders and airflow channels. But if you want even more density, you can press two graphics cards into the one waterblock to double your compute power.
But actually, you can’t – EK is only making sandwiches for their partner 2CRSi. Bummer.
Assuming you like it when your computer(s) cost as much as your car, you can buy the next product. EK is introducing water cooling to the professional workstation world with EK Fluid Works. It’s a cross between a build-it-yourself design and a pre-built.
When you order a Fluid Works desktop PC, it comes with a fully equipped custom loop that’s ready to go. But every component is connected to a distribution block with a dozen or more quick-connect ports. So if you want to swap out a part, or add a new one, it’s as simple as two plugs.
The systems come under four categories. The S3000 can be equipped with Core i9 or Ryzen 9 processors and two AMD Radeon or Nvidia GeForce GPUs. The S5000 can handle Xeon W and Threadripper processors and up to four Nvidia GeForce GPUs. The X5000 has the same processor options but upgrades the GPUs to Quadro models.
Lastly, the X7000 can be equipped with Xeon Scalable or AMD Epyc processors. The Intel system can handle up to five GPUs, including Nvidia Quadro and Tesla models. The AMD system can take up to seven GPUs because it has more PCIe lanes.
Before ending their presentation, EK teased something called the Flat PC. (The name is a work in progress.) It’s a compact system for automotive applications. It contains two graphics cards and a workstation processor. It uses brazed waterblocks and automotive components that are resistant to harsh conditions. It uses an external radiator enclosure for cooling. EK hope to release it in Q2.
Rounding out EK’s strange announcements are actively cooled backplates for GPUs, an external radiator enclosure for the Lian Li PC-011D, and a golden Fluid Gaming kit (below). More details about them will come tomorrow, EK says. In the meanwhile, take a look at their virtual showroom.