It has been a while since I last tested a monoblock, with my first foray when they used to include PCH cooling as well. Back then people realized that PCH cooling was not needed, and monoblocks reduced in size to cover only the CPU and CPU VRMs. Somehow things nearly went back when certain chipsets started getting warmer than usual and motherboard heatsinks were only barely enough. In 2019/20, monoblocks are a mixed bag when it comes to the purchasing decisions. People tend to get them more for aesthetics than performance, with a single large block being a statement piece for a custom water-cooled PC. But we have also seen chipsets accompanied by CPU VRMs getting toasty lately, so much so that certain motherboards now come with beefier heatsinks and even some VRM water blocks out of the box. Is there still a legitimate need for a motherboard monoblock today? We aim to answer that question with a review of an example monoblock based on EKWB's latest design, and thanks again to them for sending along a review sample.
The deal with monoblocks, as most readers no doubt already know, is that they are hardware specific to the motherboard(s) they are designed for. As such, this EK-Momentum MSI Z390 MEG Ace only works with the MSI MEG Z390 Ace motherboard. The naming scheme is a bit out of order, but there is no confusion here. Some monoblocks do share compatibility across multiple motherboards, but none come remotely close to the freedom offered by individual CPU blocks. Purchasing a monoblock thus requires a commitment to the hardware of choice, and there also are not as many custom options to choose from. Typically, monoblocks end up adopting the acrylic top + nickel-plated copper cold-plate combination as these tend to be the most popular, and EKWB has done so here. We will explore this monoblock in detail over the course of this review beginning with a look at the specifications below.
|EK-Momentum MSI Z390 MEG Ace Monoblock|
|Cold Plate:||Nickel-plated copper|
|Dimensions:||137 x 122 x 27 mm|
|Compatibility:||MSI MEG Z390 Ace motherboard only|
|Ports:||Two, BSP G1/4" threaded|