This article explains the difference between copper and nickel-plated EK products.
The Difference Between Copper and Nickel
All water block cooling heads are made of bare electrolytic copper rods. These rods are milled using a precision-guided CNC machine to make a bare copper water block (cooling head) base.
Nickel electroplating, on the other hand, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of nickel onto a metal object. If a water block is nickel-plated, it means that the bare copper base (once the milling process is done) is coated with a fine thin layer of nickel using a submersion bath.
The nickel layer is decorative and can provide corrosion and wear resistance.
It is important to note that a so-called 'Nickel Water Block' is still a pure copper water block but has been plated with a layer of nickel.
Is There a Difference in Performance Between Nickel and Copper Water Blocks?
Performance-wise the nickel-plated water block is identical to non-plated (bare) copper water blocks.