EK is one of the more recognizable brands in the custom liquid cooling scene, and I've written about several of the company's product launches in the past, including its first true all-in-one CPU liquid cooler. Also known as EKWB (for EK Water Blocks), the company is bringing its liquid cooling mojo to the prebuilt desktop scene.
The prebuilt desktop category is a crowded market. Perhaps a tad less so now than before Voodoo PC and Alienware were acquired by HP and Dell, respectively. Regardless, EK is going up against established boutique builders such as Maingear, Digital Storm, Origin PC (acquired by Corsair), Xidax, and others, as well as OEMs and mass market PC makes like CyberPower and iBuyPower.
EK Fluid Gaming, as the EK sub-brand is called, tells me it hopes to separate itself by focusing specifically on high-end water-cooled PCs with unique features.
"We know that water-cooled PCs are already widely available from other system integrators in the US, which is why we wanted to do something different. That's why we've partnered with both AMD and Lian-Li to bring some exclusive features, at a price that's super aggressive, because we want hardline custom water-cooling to be more accessible to mainstream gamers," says EK Fluid Gaming.
Its prebuilt desktops are assembled inside Lian-Li's PC-011D, but with a twist. The cases feature an exclusive full front panel D-RGB distribution panel with a built-in DDC pump.
"This distro-plate not only adds a fully customizable display, as you can change both coolant color and lighting effects, but it also streamlines the internal water-cooling too. All the hard-tubing runs in parallel sequence, the DDC pump is integrated into the distribution plate and there's no longer a need for a dedicated reservoir inside the case," EK Fluid Gaming says.
For now, buyers can choose from three configurations. The least expensive model, called Battle, costs $1,899 and includes the following hardware:
- AMD Ryzen 3600X
- 16GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4-3200
- Asus Prime X570 Pro
- 500GB Samsung 970 Evo M.2 SSD w/ EK heastink
- MSI Radeon RX 5700
- EVGA 650W 80+ Gold PSU
- Windows 10 Home
Pricing is fairly reasonable—that's about $1,400 worth of hardware, before factoring in the hard-line cooling parts. The systems come with D-RGB water blocks for both the CPU and GPU. Those parts, along with the custom bits to the case, chip away at the pricing disparity between the Battle PC and building your own with the same parts. You still end up paying a premium, but a couple hundred bucks (or whatever the actual difference amounts to) is fair for assembly, especially a hard-line liquid-cooled rig.
Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of customization options—you have to walk before you run, or perhaps more appropriately here, wade before you swim. The only thing you can change is swapping out the RX 5700 for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, which bumps the price up to $2,049. Otherwise, you're looking at selecting one of the two other systems for a different configuration.
As it pertains to that, the Conquest is next up the totem pole. It costs $2,099 (or $2,299 with a 2070 Super) and includes all the same hardware, save for the CPU—you get a Ryzen 7 3800X.
Lastly, the top-end Vanquish runs $2,399 with an RX 5700 or $2,699 with a 2070 Super. It also upgrades the CPU to a Ryzen 7 3800X, and comes with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a beefier 850W PSU.
I've only seen pictures of these systems, and we've not reviewed one (yet). But for anyone interested, EK Fluid Gaming's new desktops are available now.