Review: EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB – 1700


Installing the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die:

Now that our i9-14900K is naked, it’s time to install the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB cooling system. As specified, this will keep our 14900K cool when paired with a ROG Maximus Z790 APEX ENCORE motherboard. Still referring to EK’s online instructions, we’re going to start the installation by removing the mechanism that allows your processor to stay in place in the socket. To do this, you’ll need a TX20 tip (not supplied).

The next step is to place your delid processor in the socket. Now that it’s in place, you can use the retention system supplied by EK and designed in collaboration with der8auer. Its role is, of course, to hold the processor in the socket.

The part that will be placed under the PCB has a dual role. It holds the retention system in place, but also secures the four brackets that will hold the waterblockin place.

Place the protective foam on the processor so that it doesn’t touch the die. Its role is to prevent liquid metal (LM), in this case Conductonaut, from leaking onto the PCB. Normally, there’s no risk, since very little liquid metal is needed.

EK recommends applying only a small drop on the die and spreading a small amount on the base of the waterblock. There’s really no point in trying to apply too much. Now that everything’s ready, all you need to do is install the three fans on the radiator and the waterblock/pump combo on the processor.

Let’s get on with our comparative tests. The rendering of the skull is just superb! The upper part allows the D-RGB EK badge to be reoriented, regardless of the direction in which the cooler is installed. Orientation can be changed in 90° increments. So if the cooler is installed upside down, rotate it 180° to display the logo right side up. Regardless of the angle at which the AIO is installed, it will always offer a clean, aligned aesthetic.