ReviewsCoolersEK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB Review

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB Review

Learn everything about the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB as we share its unboxing, installation, and testing results.

Expert Verified By

Worth the big bucks?

Review Summary

EK Water Blocks is back in business with its new generation of liquid coolers in the AIO category. Meet the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB cooler, which is quite innovative from its design. It packs a solid performance punch that the competition has to manage. The digital RGB lighting is quite brilliant. We have everything to love about this cooler, albeit a bit high price tag.

Hours Tested: 5
Tech4Gamers Editor's Choice Award

Overall
8.8/10
8.8/10
  • Build Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Thermal Performance
  • Removable Lid
  • Rotatable Lid
  • Radiator Design
  • EK-FPT 120mm Fans
  • Digital RGB Lighting
  • EK-OmniLink
  • AMD AM5 socket support
  • Intel LGA1700 socket support
  • Easy Installation
  • Warranty

Cons

  • Price could be better

In this review, I am testing the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB cooler. As the name suggests, this is a 360mm version. EK Water Blocks has changed the design of the radiator and the way cables on the provided fans are handled. This cooler features a stunning digital RGB light show in addition to a good performance.


Key Takeaways

  • The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB is for anyone who is looking for a performance-oriented 360mm AIO liquid cooler.
  • The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB is not for users with a limited budget.
  • The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB features RGB lighting on both the pump and the fans, FPT fans that can also be daisy-chained, as well as a well-built 360mm radiator.

Take a look at its specifications.

Product EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB
Radiator Dimension 400 x 124 x 27 mm
Radiator Material Aluminum
Fan Compatibility 120 mm
Pump Unit Dimensions 82.3 x 69.2 x 61.6 mm
Pump Unit Material ABS housing, ABS top ring
Pump Speed Range 3100 RPM ± 10%
Pump PWM Range 20 – 100%
Pump Unit RGB Type 5V Digital (Addressable)
Pinout 5V, D, Empty, Ground Pump RGB Cable Length 500 mm
Tubing Material Ultra-Low Evaporation Rubber with Nylon Braided Sleeve
Tubing Length 400 mm
Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 25mm
Fan Speed Range 550 – 2300 ± 10%
Fan Noise Level 36 dB (at maximum speed)
Fan Air Flow 72 CFM = 122,33 m³/h (at maximum speed)
Fan RGB Type 5V Digital (Addressable) Pinout 5V, D, Empty, Ground

Packing Box

The unboxing experience is fairly straightforward.

Contents

It is time to take a look at what EK Water Blocks has provided in the accessory box.

Design

Let’s take a closer look at the cooler.

Radiator

Starting with the radiator. Their focus seems to be on digital RGB lighting and socket compatibility. We will see about the thermal performance later in this article.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Radiator
Radiator (Image By Tech4Gamers)

I’m really liking EK Water Blocks’ black-coated aluminum radiator, measuring 400 x 124 x 27mm, excluding fans. The unique chamber design adds a touch of flair, bringing the total height to 53mm with 25mm fans. The fin stacking, featuring a standard FPI count of 20, showcases their attention to detail.

WARNING: Ensure proper case compatibility as the EK-Nucleus AIO 360 D-RGB’s larger radiator may pose space constraints in certain PC setups.

Mounting is a breeze with a 105mm gap between opposite holes and a 15mm gap between adjacent ones, all with a 6-32 thread size. The 12 coolant flow channels ensure efficient heat dissipation. EK Water Blocks has nailed both technical prowess and user-friendly design.

The far-end block of the radiator features a simple rectangular layout, free from any branding or stickers. Notably, there’s no protective plating under the mounting holes on the main frame. Using EK Water Blocks screws is crucial here to prevent any damage to the fins. I recommend sticking to their provided screws for a worry-free experience.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Radiator Side View
Radiator Side View (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The side frame is riveted, and there is a brushed aluminum finish over here. There is no EK branding on either side.

EK Water Blocks took a unique approach with this radiator, incorporating a chamber near the block to discreetly hide tube connections within the housing. While this doesn’t notably impact thermal performance, the raised area, combined with the installed fans, imparts a distinctive and satisfying aesthetic.

I appreciate the uniformity in the layout – the fans align seamlessly with the 25mm height of the raised portion, creating a sleek and cohesive appearance.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Radiator Tubing
Radiator Tubing (Image By Tech4Gamers)

EK Water Blocks employs soft and flexible-sleeved rubber tubing with fine threading, running approximately 400mm. Notably, these tubes, encased in stylish nylon braided sleeves, remain kink-free, adding to their practicality.

Pump

The cooler boasts a distinctive pump housing made of ABS material, including the top ring, measuring 82.3 x 69.2 x 61.6 mm. The top lid is removable, allowing for a 90° rotation to align the EK logo as needed for installation. The layout, though not circular, features a stylish fan-like gradient lighting effect on the circular top lid, offering a beautiful aesthetic touch. Installation orientation is flexible, given the adjustable logo position.

Here you can see the gradient-style digital RGB lighting on the pump top.

The housing sides sport a sleek black finish without any visible branding. Examining the rear view, I notice the fittings are ingeniously positioned at a 90° angle. Kudos to EK Water Blocks for enhancing the rotary fittings’ placement, bringing them closer together and enabling installation in tight spaces. A serial number sticker sits at the base for easy identification.

The base of the pump housing features a transparent cover protecting the pre-applied thermal paste. Notably, there are four mounting holes on the main housing, although it’s essential to observe that the mounting plate is not aligned with the main housing frame.

Handling this unit requires caution as it’s prone to fingerprints. Examining the close-up image of the base, I notice a copper base, unadorned with nickel plating, measuring 38x38mm.

3x cables are coming out from the tube side of the pump housing. One has a 4-pin PWM connector to power the pump.

The second connector is a standard 3-pin 5V digital RGB connector.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Pump Male RGB Connector
Pump Male RGB Connector (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The third connector is a standard 3-pin 5V digital RGB male connector which allows daisy chaining of the RGB elements to be controlled from a single source. EK Water Blocks has provided a PWM control for the pump speed, which is a plus. The pump is rated for up to 3100 ±10% RPM having a PWM range of 20 ~ 100%.

Fan

EK Water Blocks introduces FPT (Full Pressure Technology) in their EK-Loop Fan FPT 120 D-RGB, a 120mm high-static pressure fan for top-tier liquid cooling. Designed to surpass EK-Vardar, FPT fans boast improved performance-to-noise ratio, full-frame design for better static pressure, and daisy-chaining for cable management.

The 7-blade design features frosted digital RGB for even light diffusion, circular inner frame with full surface contact design, and 9x upward-facing digital RGB LEDs. Black-framed with EK branding, these fans include cut-to-size anti-vibration pads on all mounting corners.

There are EK Water Blocks branding on the sides of the frame. This is for aesthetic purposes. As we have mentioned above, these fans are using unconventional cable designs. This is what EK Water Blocks refer to as EK-OmniLink. Each fan has a small-size cable using 8-pin micro-fit connectors. This is to simplify the cable management by reducing the cable clutter.

One end of this fan cable has an 8-pin micro-fit female connector.

PRO TIP: Fine-tune your system’s cooling performance by adjusting the EK-Nucleus AIO 360 D-RGB fan speeds through BIOS or dedicated software, ensuring an optimal balance between temperature and noise.

The other end of this fan cable has an 8-pin micro-fit male connector. This design is there to easily daisy-chain the devices. You will have to connect these fans so that one female connector remains available for the provided adapter cable.

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Fan Back View
Fan Back View (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The EK-FPT Fan-120ER D-RGB features a 4-arm X-shaped assembly with wire routing on one arm’s inset. Designed in Slovenia and manufactured in China, this fan draws 0.25A at 12VDC, producing 3W power. Utilizing Fluid Dynamic Bearings and a newly designed motor for reduced noise, especially at low speeds, it offers versatile mounting options—horizontal or vertical without issues.

The specification fan is:

Dimension 120x120x25mm
Type 8-pin micro-fit connectors
Speed 550-2300 ±1 0% RPM
Airflow (maximum) 77 CFM
Noise 36 dB(A)
Bearing Type Fluid Dynamic Bearings (FDB)
Input Voltage 12VDC
Input Current 0.25A
Power 3W
LED Input Power 2.30W
LED Input Current 0.45A
LED Input Voltage 5V

Installation

We have tested the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB on the AMD AM5 platform.

Installation on AM5 is straightforward and convenient. Some key steps are:

  1. Remove the protective cover from the base
  2. Install fans on the radiator
  3. Connect fans using EK-OmniLink cables
  4. Install AMD Mounting bracket on block us M3x4 screws
  5. Remove the AMD stock mounting bracket from the motherboard
  6. Install 4x AMD Thumb Screws
  7. Place the block on the threaded portion of the installed Thumb Screws
  8. Place 4x Springs
  9. Use 4x thumb nuts to secure the block on the socket
  10. Use a diagonal approach for an even fit of the block
  11. Lift off the top lid from the block and put it back on after necessary rotation so that the EK logo remains upright
  12. Install the radiator and connect cables.
  13. Installation is complete
EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Fans Cables Connected
Fans Cables Connected (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The above picture shows the fans placed over the radiator, and they sit in a flush line with the rear high-raised chamber. Look at the cables connected with each other as well. This is not as close to Lian Li AL/SL V2 fans, but still, we would have less clutter to deal with.

Clearance

This cooler has a dimension of 400 x 124 x 27mm without fans. With fans, this size is 400 x 124 x 53mm. We did not observe any clearance issue with this cooler. You would need to check that your PC Case has clearance for this size radiator. The tube side does not hinder DIMM slots.

Digital RGB Lighting

PRO TIP: The EK-Nucleus AIO 360 D-RGB relies on motherboard RGB control; make sure your system supports it for optimal lighting customization.

We have tested the lighting using RGB FUSION 2.0 on GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER and found it working flawlessly. Here are a few pictures.

Thermal Test

Below mentioned configuration is used:

Here is the settings table for testing:

All Cores 5200MHz All Cores
VCore (V) Auto
Thermal Paste Stock Thermal Paste
Test Run Time 30 minutes CINEBENCH R23.2
Idle Time 10 minutes
Fan/Pump Speed 100% PWM Duty Cycle
Monitoring Software HWInfo64

Result

EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB — Thermal Performance
Thermal Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

For those who know the new AM5 platform and its thermal behavior, this is an excellent performance from the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB cooler. In fact, it has managed to beat another popular cooler, that is ARCTIC Liquid Freezer – II 360. One would expect new coolers to offer better performance, and EK Water Blocks means business with their new coolers.

Noise

Summer is up, and the room’s fan is on, which is why I could not measure the noise level of the unit.

Should You Buy It?

So, who is the cooler designed for?

Buy It If:

You want exceptional cooling: The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB provides excellent cooling performance. 

✅You have a high-end processor: The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB’s exceptional cooling capabilities make it a great fit for higher-end processors.

You prefer well-implemented RGB: The addition of sleek RGB lighting on the fans and the pump adds to the aesthetic of the cooler, making it perfect for anyone building an RGB-focused system.

You want a well-built 360mm cooler: From the “daisy-chainable” fans to the aluminum panels on the radiator, the EK-Nucleis AIO CR360 LUX provides outstanding build quality.

Don’t Buy It If:

❌You are on a tight budget: The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB does come in at a relatively high price point.

Conclusion

We have tested EK Water Blocks EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB AIO on the AMD AM5 platform using GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER motherboard with AMD Ryzen 7 7700X CPU. Installation is simple, and it involves 17 items for the installation of the block on the socket. We did not face any difficulties or issues during the installation.

The user guide is comprehensive and provides pictures as illustrations. Please take note that you will have to remove the AMD stock mounting brackets from the motherboard before installing this cooler. Priced at USD 204, the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 D-RGB AIO may seem steep, but a quick NewEgg check reveals that it has remained fairly competitive, especially against other 280mm solutions at USD 200. EK Water Blocks effectively balances cost without compromising quality.

EK Water Blocks offers a 5-year warranty which is extensible to a total of 6 years after registering this cooler on their website. Not only was this cooler able to keep the thermals of Ryzen 7 7700X in check, but it did as well as the competition. The digital RGB lighting augments this quite well.

Awards Received By The EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB

Here are the Tech4Gamers awards received by the EK-Nucleus AIO CR360 LUX D-RGB.

Recent Updates


  • January 14, 2023: Few text changes to improve readability.

 
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