You’ll need to pry your CPU open for EK’s latest AIO cooler

High risk high reward.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB 1700 cooler installed in a gaming PC.

EK has announced an AIO solution for those searching for the lowest temps. This is possible thanks to a direct-die cooler designed to fit most cases on the market. It’s an advanced cooling method, but it comes with some risks.

The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB 1700 is not your typical liquid cooler. This AIO gets physically much closer to your CPU cores to improve temperatures. The idea is to remove the CPU’s integrated heat spreader (IHS) in order to put the cooler directly in contact with the silicon chip – also called delidding. The base plate is made of Nickel-plated copper and thus can handle liquid metal for even better heat transfer. Just make sure to precisely install the foam protection to avoid spills.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB 1700 base plate.

Aside from its direct-die approach, the rest of this cooler is similar to other AIOs. You get pump circulating liquid inside a 400mm x 124mm x 27mm radiator, cooled by three 120mm fans. While this is not the first time the brand has offered a direct-die solution, it is the first complete one. Previously you had to build a custom loop which is not easy and comes with high risks of leaking.

The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 simplifies the procedure by combining all the parts for you. All you need is to delid the CPU and install this cooler. If this is your first time, EK also offers a bundle with a delidding tool made in collaboration with der8auer for an extra $86. Just note that due to build/chip-layout differences between Intel and AMD processors, this cooler is specifically targeting Intel LGA 1700 CPUs.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB 1700 cooler.

As you may have guessed, removing the CPU’s IHS is risky both while attempting to remove it and while installing the cooler on top. A wrong move could break the exposed silicon rendering your expensive chip useless. In other words, this is not a cooler for the masses. You must be knowledgeable even though many tools can make this task straightforward.

Backed by a five-year warranty, the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 Direct Die D-RGB 1700 is available from EK’s store at $183.99 or $269.98 for a bundle with a delidding tool.