THE CON­CEPT

Maximum PC - - R&D -

WELL, THIS WAS FUN. As we ex­plained in our liq­uid cool­ing fea­ture (pg. 36), EKWB sent us one of its lat­est Fluid Gam­ing Kits. In fact, it sent us two: a stan­dard 240mm CPUonly loop, and one with an ad­di­tional GPU block. Nat­u­rally, we grav­i­tated to the lat­ter, not be­cause it’s pricier than its $160 kin, but be­cause it’s the more in­trigu­ing so­lu­tion. We’re used to cool­ing pro­ces­sors off a sin­gle 240mm ra­di­a­tor, but adding a GPU to the loop (lit­er­ally), a part that can pack some se­ri­ous heat, just seemed lu­di­crous.

We made the de­ci­sion to go with Ryzen at the very last minute. We’ve been want­ing to re­visit the plat­form for some time now. As both BIOS and mi­cro-code have de­vel­oped over the past few months, the plat­form has gone from be­ing a touch sketchy to a welle­quipped all-rounder, filled to the brim with se­ri­ous com­pu­ta­tional per­for­mance. Over­clock­ing has al­ways been its lim­i­ta­tion, though, with most parts only ever ca­pa­ble of boost­ing the clock speed by an ad­di­tional 200–300MHz. And it’s not heat that lim­its the plucky pro­ces­sor, but sil­i­con, with most, if not all, Ryzen chips be­ing lim­ited to around the 4GHz mark, Threadripper in­cluded.

That said, con­trary to popular be­lief, it’s not a hot part. Once you strip off the ridicu­lous +20 C off­set AMD im­poses on the in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture mon­i­tor­ing, it’s ac­tu­ally cooler than a lot of In­tel’s lat­est Kaby Lake parts. Weird, huh?

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