EK Nucleus AIO CR240 Lux
Today we’ll be looking at EKWB’s latest 240mm AIO, the CR240 Lux D-RGB. EKWB is well known by enthusiasts, considered by many to be the “gold standard” of liquid cooling. There’s a good reason for that! As you’ll see in our benchmarks below, EK’s CR240 Lux raises the bar for performance in a 240mm AIO – competing with the strongest 360 AIOs on the market.
- Rivals performance of the best 360mm AIOs
- Strong noise normalized performance
- Also available in solid black version
- Priced like a 360mm AIO, but a cheaper version without RGB fans is available
- Fully Rotatable, Braided Tubing
The liquid tubing of EK’s Nucleus is braided and fully rotatable, for durability and ease of installation.
- Large Copper Base with Pre-Applied EK-TIM Thermal Paste
The CPU block features a large pure copper base, with pre-applied EK-TIM thermal paste.
While most manufacturers include either pre-applied thermal paste or a small tube of thermal paste, EK includes both!
Like most liquid coolers on the market, EKWB’s Nucleus AIO CR240 Lux is compatible with RAM of any height as it doesn’t overhang or interfere with DIMM slots in any form.
- Rotatable CPU block with aRGB ring
The CPU block features aRGB illumination and can be rotated to match whichever orientation you choose to install the CPU cooler.
- 2x EK-FPT FAN 120 D-RGB Full Pressure Technology Fan
The fans included with a cooler have a direct impact on thermal performance and noise levels. Included with the CR240 Lux are two 120mm EK-FPT fans. These fans are rated for 77 CFM of airflow, 2.7 mm H20 static pressure, and are rated for 60,000 hours+ of usage.
The rating of 60,000 hours in on the lower end of the spectrum is a bit disappointing, competitors like Cooler Master now feature designs rated for 140,000 hours and more.
Rather than the traditional ARGB and PWM connectors, these fans include a daisy-chainable 8-pin connection to keep cable clutter to a minimum, with an extension cord which converts into ARGB and PWM connections for the motherboard.
Many manufacturers such as Lian Li and Phanteks are now incorporating similar designs into their fans. I personally hope for this standard to eventually replace traditional headers on a motherboard, as this design is more durable and secure.
Packing and Included Contents
The packaging of EKWB’s cooler oozes with care. The cooler is protected by molded foam, the installation accessories are packaged in two orange cardboard packages.
The accessories come in a fancy, well-built box which opens via a tether on the end. After sliding it open, the PWM/ARGB cable, extra thermal paste, and other parts are revealed.
EKWB also includes stickers to include on your rig, or anywhere else you might like to apply them.
Test Platform Configuration and Testing Methodology
I’ve tested the EK Nucleus AIO CR240 with Intel’s i7-13700K to show how this cooler performs. The system system is tested with a full strength workload, two reduced wattage loads, and at noise normalized settings.
Observant readers may notice that the noise graphs start at 35 instead of zero. This is because my sound meter cannot measure sound levels lower than 35 dBA. This makes it the “zero” for testing purposes. For those concerned that this might distort results – there’s no worry. If anything, the graphs above will minimize the differences in noise levels because dBA measurements are logarithmic. For a detailed explanation of how decibel measurements correspond to perceived noise levels, please check out the video below from BeQuiet! which makes it easy to visualize and understand the true impact of of increasing dBA levels.
Intel i7-13700K Cooling and Acoustic Results
Maximum Cooling Power
Most coolers reach TJ Max, the maximum temperature of the CPU of 100 degrees Celsius, when power limits are removed with Intel’s i7-13700K. However, EK’s Nucleus AIO manages a feat achieved by very few coolers – it can keep the CPU under it’s peak temperature, maintaining an average of 69C over a 23C ambient temperature (92C).
This is a level of performance that was previously only available with the best 360mm AIO liquid coolers.
Maximum Noise Levels
Performance is only one part of the picture, noise levels are equally important. While EK’s thermal performance is chart topping, it’s maximum noise level is a bit loud at 48 dBA. However, that’s quieter than both MSI’s S360 and DeepCool’s LT720 360mm AIOs, the only other coolers featured in this review which are able to keep the CPU under it’s maximum temperature.
If you’re particular about noise levels, our next results will show you how it performs when it runs quietly.
Noise Normalized Performance
For noise normalized testing, I’ve set the fans to a low 38.2 dBA. This is a slightly audible noise level, but won’t bother most users. EK’s Nucleus CR240 did extremely well here cooling 228W, matching the performance of DeepCool’s 360mm LT720.
While maximum performance is important, most of the time you won’t be pushing the CPU to its limits. It’s good to see how a cooler performs in more typical situations, and most users won’t use more than 175W in common usage.
With the CPU only reaching 52C over ambient, EK’s Nucleus AIO runs just a single degree behind DeepCool & MSI’s flagship 360mm AIOs. It achieves this level of performance with a noise level of 43.4 dBA, a moderate noise level but similar to the noise of MSI’s MEG S360. It is, however, louder than DeepCool’s LT720 runs in this scenario.
125W is the lowest level of power I test, and it’s similar to what users will consume with this CPU in demanding games. While I’ve tested and show thermal results, they’re really not a concern because even Intel’s stock cooler will keep the CPU cool enough in a workload like this. That being said, the CR240 Lux’s thermal performance was excellent, with the 2nd best result of coolers tested here.
Noise levels, that’s what matters in low intensity workload like this. At 38.2 dBA, the EK Nucleus CR240 doesn’t run loudly when tied to the default fan curve of MSI’s z690 A PRO motherboard. If you are especially particular about noise levels, you can manually set a lower fan speed and it will handle common situations with ease.
EK’s CR240 Lux offers a 360mm punch in a 240mm package, raising the bar for performance in this form factor. It’s strong enough to run Intel’s i7-13700K (at stock speeds) without throttling, a feat that most coolers can’t achieve. The only downside to EK’s CR240 Lux is the price – at $159.99 USD it’s comparable to the price of high end 360mm AIOs, but it has the performance to match and if you don’t mind forgoing RGB fans you can find it’s sibling, the CR240 Dark, for only $119.99 USD
Strong 240mm cooling performance that rivals the best 360mm AIOs
- Strong performance
- 240mm package
- High price, but cheaper version is available
The links above are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Wccftech.com may earn from qualifying purchases.