NZXT Kraken X62 CPU Cooler Review
We review the Kraken X62 Series LCS cooler from NZXT. An AIO liquid cooling solutiob for your CPU and cases with 280 mm radiator mounts. This updated revision CPU cooler is compatible with NZXT CAM software. The software allows you to program, customize and monitor this all-in-one liquid cooling solution for your processor. Armed with two 140 mm PWM fans and a nice 280 mm radiator the performance should be really good, and with the CAM software you can monitor temperatures, adjust cooling performance and customize LED lighting directly from your desktop. You know, in the world of CPU coolers nothing ever stops developing. These days you can pick a hundred different heat-pipe based coolers, where many are shaped, formed and priced the same. The better heatpipe based coolers are good though. Next in line are LCS systems (liquid cooling), the entry level products are affordable, easy to install pre-fab liquid cooling kits. We’ve seen and tested many of them as Corsair, Asetek, Cooler Master and yes NZXT and so on all have interesting kits.
The bigger problem is cooling performance. The gear behind these kits are good yet the performance is often battling a small included 120 mm radiator with thin tubing and lacking coolant levels due to missing reservoirs. To compensate FAN RPM goes up making a good looking product noisy again. With that in mind NZXT started to develop a new Kraken series coolers. The product we test in specific is the Kraken X62, an updated design with new cooling block and regulated control for pump and fans. Next to that what’s interesting is that this product is based on a 280 mm radiator which gives it quite a bit of cooling surface area. It is a cooler series that is easy on the eyes and comes with a relatively tool free installation. Next to some very good performance, the product is compatible with NZXT CAM software. You hook up the LCS unit towards a USB port and then the software allows you to program, customize and monitor this easy to install liquid cooling solution.
And guess what, NZXT took it even further as the Kraken X62 has a new RGB LED concept, the most wicked one you probably have ever seen, and it is very cool.
Before we begin I like you guys to watch the above demonstration video so that you can understand and grasp the LED lighting system as this is a premium feature on this LCS kit. So without further ado, let’s have a peek at the Kraken X62 from NZXT and then head on-wards into the review…
An Silent Introduction
The new Kraken series also feature reinforced extended tubing across the board, with reinforced nylon sleeves that add strength while showing no compromises in flexibility.
All-new Kraken Series features include:
Redesigned quieter pump for silent operation
CAM Powered Pump and Fan Speed Controls
All-new Aer P Fans built for cooling perfection
Advanced RGB Lighting Effects
Industry-leading 6-year Warranty
Through CAM’s intuitive design and full software integration, the new Kraken series by NZXT allows for independent regulation of pump and fan performance, while allowing full control over additional options, like cycling through different lightning presets and operation modes. CAM 3.2 will be available for download soon and feature numerous updates including HUE+ lighting sync, support for Aer RGB, and Game mode for CS:GO lighting operation.
Alongside the new Kraken series, NZXT is debuting the Aer P series of high static pressure fans, which feature chambered intake and exhausts, winglet designed fan blades and fluid dynamic bearings. These will be available separately, in 120 mm (included with the Kraken X52, and $15.99 each) and 140 mm models (included with Kraken X42 and X62, $17.99 each). The Aer P series also includes sleeved cables, as well as vibration dampeners, with three available colored trim choices to color coordinate your build. These trims come in at $5.99 a pair for the Aer P120 and Aer P140.
The new Kraken series are now available in the USA and EU, with prices of around £150 currently on Amazon.
With a certified dBA meter we measure how many dBAs originate from the PC. It’s slightly subjective as there is always noise in the background, from the streets, from the HD, PSU fan, etc so this is by a mile or two not a precise measurement. You could only achieve objective measurement in a sound test chamber. Take this measurement as an indication, not a precise measurement please.
The human hearing system has different sensitivities at different frequencies. This means that the perception of noise is not at all equal at every frequency. Noise with significant measured levels (in dB) at high or low frequencies will not be as annoying as it would be when its energy is concentrated in the middle frequencies. In other words, the measured noise levels in dB will not reflect the actual human perception of the loudness of the noise. That’s why we measure the dBA level. A specific circuit is added to the sound level meter to correct its reading in regard to this concept. This reading is the noise level in dBA. The letter A is added to indicate the correction that was made in the measurement. Frequencies below 1kHz and above 6kHz are attenuated, whereas frequencies between 1kHz and 6kHz are amplified by the A weighting.
TYPICAL SOUND LEVELS
Jet takeoff (200 feet) 120 dBA
Construction Site 110 dBA Intolerable
Shout (5 feet) 100 dBA
Heavy truck (50 feet) 90 dBA Very noisy
Urban street 80 dBA
Automobile interior 70 dBA Noisy
Normal conversation (3 feet) 60 dBA
Office, classroom 50 dBA Moderate
Living room 40 dBA
Bedroom at night 30 dBA Quiet
Broadcast studio 20 dBA
Rustling leaves 10 dBA Barely audible
But let’s have a peek at noise levels. We take a dBA gun and point it at the working PC and take a distance of 75 CM.
So explaining sound (or noise levels) is always difficult, but up-to 40 dBA is considered to be silent. Once you’re in the 41~42 dBA range you can hear the product and after 43~44 dBA the product can be considered to be a more noisy cooler.
Explaining sound (or noise levels) is always difficult, but up-to 39~40 dBA is considered to be silent. Once you’re in the 41~42 dBA range you can hear the product and after 43~44 dBA the product can be considered to be a more noisy cooler. Things remain relative, a car at 43 DBa sounds more irritating than 43 DBa airflow. We put the processor under 100% load again with the processor under full load for three full wPrime runs. Noise pressure is a difficult thing to explain alright. If you want silence then up-to 39~40 dBA is your baseline threshold.
This cooler is INCREDIBLY silent.
When we got contacted about reviewing the new Kraken series liquid coolers, I didn’t know how cool these actually are. Yes yes… another RGB LED lit cooler you might think, well true dat! However there is a certain x-factor with the Kraken X62 that is hard to explain and the magic is found in the high tweaked cooling perf, low noise levels and that RGB LED system woth mirror effect of course.
First off, the cooling is perfectly fine, good even with a default clocked CPU. What impressed me the most is that once you start to overclock our processor the stress temperatures remains really okay. I mean the truth as you all know is that a the Core i7 4790K is simply put a nasty processor to cool. In a default setup (clocks) the performance is good. However you are at Guru3D.com and we know you will tweak your PC 5 minutes after you assembled it – so we added 1.30 Volts the temps remained hovering at 70 Degrees C. In fact up-to 1.40 Volts we remain below 80 degrees C. Only once we fired off 1.45 Volts at this processor we passed 80 Degrees C, and even then it will take a while for the processor to get there. So For short bursts I’d be even fine with 1.45 Volts. That voltage level is absurd of course, typically only needed with 5+ GHz tweaks. So from the cooling perspective we have been pleasantly surprised by NZXT Kraken X62 – the cooling performance with the processor in a tweaked state is really nice and on par with high-end cooling, it shines with actual stress and increased voltage cooling capacity. That’s the good stuff when overclocking.
Noise is something else we MUST mention, as there isn’t any. On previous older model NZXT LCS reviews we often complained about the fairly high noise levels, this has changed with the Kraken X62. the two fans are housed in rubberized inserts, even mounting the screws is done in a rubber socket. The fans offer high airflow at low rotation, with the CAM software at performance mode, you will not pass 50% of the theoretical maximum RPM level. In return you get a solution that is totally in-audible, I mean even at perf mode under full overclocked CPU stress we only reach 34~35 DBa. That is a noise level where you need to place your ear closer then 30 cm away from the product to be able to hear it. So the solution setup in silent or performance mode remains completely silent (with a processor like the 4790K).
Aestethics & Design
The overall looks are very tasteful as far as I am concerned, an all black design with the subtle shades of grey make it an appealing product to the eyes. Even the fans have been logo marked (dark) tastefully. It is an easy to install mounting system, and factory filled with coolant in a closed loop. The black design will make this kit look great in any PC. It simply is a good alternative to heat-pipe coolers with the added benefits of being fairly quiet whilst offering very nice looks. No skills are required other than the need for ten minutes to install the kit.
The bling is all about the RGB LED system embedded on top of the water-block, and yes… I honestly did not expect to like it as much as I do. If you guys have seen the classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, you will remember HAL 9000 the talking computer (hello Dave) which was nothing more then a glass and red LED. The Kraken LED system somehow resembles HAL 9000, yet far more sophisticated as the mirror effect makes it feel like you look into the PC. Then the wide combination of RGB functionality, animations or color coded LEDs based on coolant temperature or even your audio is what makes this thing shine. It looks great. We love the fact that you can disable the NZXT LED logo as well.
The CAM Software
If you want to configure the Kraken X62, you are going to need proprietary CAM software from NZXT, you will either love or hate this software, I’m afraid I belong in the latter category. During installation we stumbled into issues. Initially we had no graphics card installed, but used the Intel IGP on the processor for video output. Why on earth mention this you might wonder? Well, apparently with the current public CAM 3.2 build if you do not have a dedicated graphics card installed, the Kraken is not detected and cannot be controlled. After mocking about back and forth with NZXT we learned this the hard way. Once we installed a GeForce GTX 1080 the Kraken all of the sudden was detected and a Kraken firmware update applied. After a restart we had a Kraken detected in software, however we could not configure it as hitting any change and save, it would not apply. NZXT at that point sent a new beta, which made it all work again. As a consumer that just spend 150 bucks, I would have already been on my way to the shop to return the product as stuff like that is just frustrating and simply should not happen with a product in the prize category. So that is my main caveat, the Kraken X62 is HIGHLY dependant on software, and if your CAM software install has issues, you cannot configure you cooling and or LED system. The good news is that once you made an alteration it sticks in memory. So it is not needed to reload the software after a reboot, the preferences stick in the Kraken hardware.
Right, I am not done yet, here’s another reason why I dislike CAM. NZXT pretty much made it mandatory for you to login the software with a Facebook or Google account or their own log-on as they want your settings in the cloud, but likely also have acces to and save a lot of other data. You can use the software without logging in, but then you cannot save any profiles and changes made. Seriously NZXT, you make and sell products for the hardware enthusiast community, THEY DO NOT WANT stuff open on the web. Why on earth could a RGB or PUMP profile not be saved on the local HDD/SSD ?!
My last comment about CAM (and then I’ll stop) is that NZXT tries to make it way too diverse and it becomes confusing, they want to include overlays, track how often you play certain games, you can even overclock your graphics card with this software. The problem however is it’s all beta, shoddy and working poorly. If you make a overclock setting that will crash your GPU, it’s reapplied at the next time you start-up CAM. Seriously NZXT, stop making your software more complex, make it more simple as that is the golden rule of proper and good software applications, usability and easy to use for the application and functionality at hand. And that invokes controlling lights, fans, pumps and monitoring temperatures and RPM levels. Stick to that, remove the dumb cloud login through Facebook or Google and your software could be terrific. Look at what Corsair is doing with their latest iterations of the CUE software, that’s seriously good. Keep it simple and non obtrusive, that’s all I am sayin’ 🙂
The Kraken X62 was introduced at $159.99 and a similar price in EURO. Yes that is a lot of money, but we can see where the money went to, the cooling system is good and the lighting system is magnificent. Combined with extremely low noise levels that makes the Kraken a little gem. That lovely cooling capacity when overclocked at no noise is golden really. Once we got the CAM software working, well that’s the money shot right there as we just loved watching near hypnotizing LED system. Turn off that NZXT logo, and let the LED RGB LED rings do the magic, really it is that good. But we also know that a lot of people these days are getting a little tired of the RGB LED trend. Hey it woks out really well with this one, that’s the truth. On the CAM software side of things I think I said enough. It is beta software with far too many functions. once you get it running, set your preferred performance level and preferred LED color and animation system, close the software and don’t look back. So yes pricy, but I think it’s a fair amount of cash as this cooler offers quite a lot. It is silent and at the default settings it just offers really good cooling performance. The extra bonus is found in the RGB lighting system. But make no mistake, the performance and features are good for a 280mm rad based product at this price level. Let me also remind you that you can use this kit on any 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+ based processor.
I have no hesitation recommending you the new Kraken X62 series NZXT offers, it really is a good performing product with some darn nice looks, thick sleeved tubing and the comfort of RGB color selection. If we solely zoom in at tweaked processor performance then for an AIO kit this definitely is one of the better performing ones out there. Also in its default configuration it remains to be a very silent product. The product is very user friendly to install and combined with its good looks and nice performance you can purchase a product that is spot on money wise. You’ll have plenty of extra capacity to overclock. If you are wondering about the temperatures you have seen at 1.3 Volts, well remaining at that ~70 Degrees C on a Haswell processor of this class is simply nice. You will likely not need 1.3V for 4400~4600 MHz. Overall the cooler manages really well with the tested Core i7 4790K processor we fired off at it, and even if you need 1.30 Volts; then it will offer enough cooling performance and that remains a tough task for any cooler. One more remark I have to make is that there is a fair amount of wires leading out and into the cooling block. So design wise there is more cable spaghetti clutter to deal with. Overall the final words can be short, we will recommend the NZXT Kraken X62 without any hesitation aside from the CAM software, I simply developed a love/hate relationship with it. The cooling performance is pretty good for a product of this class, combined with the aesthetics, ease of installation and the RGB coloring with CAM functionality we can wholeheartedly recommended this puppy for sure. Unleash the Kraken!