Unboxing and Overview
PrimoChill does operate a web shop, however the shipping packaging had my delivery address noted on both sides so for my privacy we will begin with the product packaging itself. For those curious, the package arrived in a bubble wrap flexible envelope so it was not the best shipping packaging necessarily given there were some dents to the box inside as seen below. Click on the thumbnails to view in full size.
There is a plastic wrap all around the packaging to keep it dust free, and removing it we get our first good look at the product box. PrimoChill is using a black and pink color scheme here with the company and product name on the front along with a printed render of the product inside, and this continues on the back with specs and another illustration of the radiator profile with some dimensions listed. We see here that the EximoSX is a 30 mm thick class of radiators. No seals or secondary flaps here, and the lack of a shipping box has potentially led to the small dents in the packaging here.
Open the packaging and we see that it is in fact merely an outer sleeve only, with an internal cardboard box that houses the actual radiator and accessories. This box is mostly unmarked and has a sticker that also acts as a warning label with a note to use the provided screws only, but assumes that you understand it is with 25 mm thick fans in mind already. Open the box and we see the radiator itself in a bubble wrap, and accessories in ziplock bags on the side held inside a taped piece of cardboard so it does not hit the radiator frame or fins in any way. PrimoChill provides two stick-on logo stickers, 12 metal washers, 4 x 6 mm long, and 12 x 30 mm long stainless steel screws with a Phillips head each. The washers are a nice touch and will help with cases that have larger, universal fan holes wherein the screw heads can pass right through. The reason we only see 4 short screws here is, and I quote, “The short screws are needed when mounting the radiator directly to the case and the fans are on the other side of the radiator. When mounting to the case like this only the 4 corners of the radiator need to be secured, not each fan hole support. We have tested this and it supports with no issues what so ever.” I would have still preferred to see 12 short screws for peace of mind, but fair enough.
Having taken the radiator out of the bubble wrap, we can now see it is indeed 30 mm thick, while also being 120 mm wide which will all help with increased case compatibility. The radiator is slightly longer than average at 395 mm measured so as long as cases have accounted for radiator end tanks, you should be okay still. The EximoSX has only two ports, both G1/4″ threaded, and there are two circular spaces on the other side where the provided logo stickers go so that way you can have the logo the right way up no matter how you orient the radiator or simply leave it off for an even cleaner look. The finish is excellent on this sample, with a subtle powder coat done locally on the radiator that is otherwise manufactured in Asia. I would call this a toned down “Dark Matter” finish that Black Ice employed temporarily, and I dare say this is among the best radiator finishes I have experienced ever.
The fan holes are the standard 15 mm spaced apart, but this is when I noticed a couple of things. The first is that the fan holes coincide with the outermost coolant tube on each side, and there are no screw shields. You have ~4-5 mm of leeway, and coupled with case/radiator mount and a standard 25 mm thick fan, the provided 30 mm screws will be fine. But there is still scope for damage here and other manufacturers have figured it is best to accommodate for the lowest common denominator here, aka user error, so I asked PrimoChill and this is what they said: “We are aware if this issue and it is currently being addressed in the next version on the radiator. We did not want to off set the coolant tubes as we are trying to maximize the overall cooling performance and unfortunately the coolant line is directly below the screw. Users ALWAYS need to be extremely careful when installing any water cooling part, the radiator is no different. But we do agree a solution is needed and it is being addressed.” Good on them for acknowledging the potential issue, but it should still have been done from the beginning.
The second, smaller issue is that the screws went in at a small angle and I noticed then that the cutouts in the brass frame were slightly angled upwards on this sample. They addressed this as well saying they checked multiple samples on hand and noticed this issue was not present on them, but perhaps then the QC sticker was put on a bit prematurely on this sample. Either way, it took all of two seconds to bend each cutout back down without damaging the finish in any way so keep an eye out for this in case you see this too. It can be a potential installation issue in some cases.
As we saw before, there are two ports here and these are part of the brass frame as well as evident from the color once the two plastic stop plugs are removed. Those two stop plugs are installed to ensure no dust gets in, and can work in a pinch when cleaning the radiator core but do not use them in an actual loop as a stop plug since they have no O-rings on them. The radiator core has serpentine fins that are ~45 microns thick, lightly louvered, and at a fin density of ~18 FPI. There are a total of 14 coolant tubes with an average diameter of 2.07 mm which is higher than the usual 12 tubes at 2 mm thick so I do expect liquid flow restriction to be lower than the average single row 360 mm (triple 120) radiator. The core itself was quite clean with minimal dust/excess flux and no solder balls. It is a standard U-Flow, dual pass radiator with the typical 1.5 bar pressure rating (so don’t go having a house water line through at full speed through the core) as well so the core itself is not that different from most others, and the USA-based powder coating is the real differential touch here.
Let’s now see how the radiator performs now beginning with liquid flow restriction on the next page.