NZXT Kraken X60 CPU Cooler Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on February 13, 2013


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The Kraken X60 is a sealed liquid cooling system for CPUs, with a 280 mm radiator cooled by two 140 mm fans placed side-by-side. Check it out!

The Kraken X60 has the biggest radiator of all the sealed liquid cooling systems we tested so far. We already tested its smaller version, the Kraken X40, which has a 140 mm radiator. The Kraken X60 uses the same USB interface that allows the computer to control and monitor temperature, pump, and fan speed.

Figure 1 shows the box of the NZXT Kraken X60.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 1: Package

Figure 2 shows the contents of the box: the radiator-block set, fans, manuals, driver and utility disk, and installation hardware.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 2: Accessories

This watercooler is discussed in detail in the following pages.

The Radiator

The sealed radiator-block system is shown in Figure 3. At the upper side is the 280 mm radiator; at the bottom is the block.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 3: Sealed system

Figures 4 and 5 reveal the 280 mm radiator of the NZXT Kraken X60. It measures 5.4 x 12.3 x 1.1 inches (138.4 x 312.5 x 27.0 mm).

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 4: Radiator

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 5: Radiator

Block and Fan

The block, with the integrated pump, is shown in Figure 6. The manufacturer’s logo at the top is illuminated by internal LEDs, and you can choose the color of the light.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 6: Block

The base of the block, which is made of copper, is revealed in Figure 7. The thermal compound comes pre-applied.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 7: Base

Figure 8 shows the cables of the block. At the left there is a SATA power connector, then four four-pin connectors for fans, and a connector to be attached to a USB header on the motherboard. At the right, there is one three-pin connector that must be connected to the “CPU cooler” header of the motherboard. This is needed to inform the motherboard the fan speed.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 8: Block cables

Figure 9 illustrates the 140 mm PWM fans that come with the Kraken X60.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 9: Fans

Installation

In Figure 10, you can see the backplate with nuts (at the left) and the frame with screws (at the right) mounted for use with sockets LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, and LGA2011. There is a similar set of parts for use with AMD processors. Figure 11 shows the frame mounted on the block.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 10: Mounting hardware for Intel CPUs

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 11: Frame assembled

After assembling the frame on the block, install the system inside your case. Figure 12 shows the Kraken X60 installed in our system, with the radiator at the top panel of the case. Depending on your case, you may be able to fit the radiator on the bottom panel or on the front panel.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 12: Installation finished

The software that controls the Kraken X60 comes with the product. The fans can be configured for three operating modes: Extreme, Silent, or Custom, where you can program a fan power versus temperature curve. The color of the LEDs at the block can also be configured. Figure 13 shows the application screen.

NZXT Kraken X60
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Figure 13: Application screen

We tested the Kraken X60 in two modes: Silent and Extreme.

How We Tested

We tested the cooler with a Core i5-2500K CPU (quad-core, 3.3 GHz), which is a socket LGA1155 processor with a 95 W TDP (Thermal Design Power). In order to get higher thermal dissipation, we overclocked it to 4.0 GHz (100 MHz base clock and x40 multiplier), with 1.3 V core voltage (Vcore). This CPU was able to reach 4.8 GHz with its default core voltage, but at this setting, the processor enters thermal throttling when using mainstream coolers, reducing the clock and thus the thermal dissipation. This could interfere with the temperature readings, so we chose to maintain a moderate overclocking.

We measured noise and temperature with the CPU under full load. In order to get 100% CPU usage in all cores, we ran Prime 95 25.11 with the “In-place Large FFTs” option. (In this version, the software uses all available threads.)

We compared the tested cooler to other coolers we already tested, and to the stock cooler that comes with the Core i5-2500K CPU. Note that the results cannot be compared to measures taken on a different hardware configuration, so we retested some “old” coolers with this new methodology. This means you can find different values in older reviews than the values you will read on the next page. Every cooler was tested with the thermal compound that comes with it.

Room temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer. The core temperature was read with the SpeedFan program (available from the CPU thermal sensors), using an arithmetic average of the core temperature readings.

During the tests, the panels of the computer case were closed. The front and rear case fans were spinning at minimum speed in order to simulate the “normal” cooler use on a well-ventilated case. We assume that is the common setup used by a cooling enthusiast or overclocker.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed near the top opening of the case. This measurement is only for comparison purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2°C error margin, meaning temperature differences below 2°C are considered irrelevant.

Our Tests

The table below presents the results of our measurements. We repeated the same test on all coolers listed below. Each measurement was taken with the CPU at full load. In the models with a fan supporting PWM, the motherboard controlled the fan speed according to core load and temperature. On coolers with an integrated fan controller, the fan was set at the full speed.

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Speed Core Temp. Temp. Diff.
Cooler Master Hyper TX3 18 °C 50 dBA 2850 rpm 69 ºC 51 °C
Corsair A70 23 °C 51 dBA 2000 rpm 66 ºC 43 °C
Corsair H100 26 °C 62 dBA 2000 rpm 64 ºC 38 °C
EVGA Superclock 26 °C 57 dBA 2550 rpm 67 ºC 41 °C
NZXT HAVIK 140 20 °C 46 dBA 1250 rpm 65 ºC 45 °C
Thermalright True Spirit 120 26 °C 42 dBA 1500 rpm 82 °C 56 °C
Zalman CNPS12X 26 °C 43 dBA 1200 rpm 71 °C 45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900 Max 20 °C 51 dBA 1700 rpm 62 °C 42 °C
Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition 22 °C 50 dBA 2400 rpm 65 °C 43 °C
SilenX EFZ-120HA5 18 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 70 °C 52 °C
Noctua NH-L12 20 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 70 °C 50 °C
Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 2550 rpm 71 °C 50 °C
Gamer Storm Assassin 15 °C 48 dBA 1450 rpm 58 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 400 15 °C 44 dBA 1500 rpm 60 °C 45 °C
Cooler Master TPC 812 23 °C 51 dBA 2350 rpm 66 °C 43 °C
Deepcool Gammaxx 300 18 °C 43 dBA 1650 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Intel stock cooler 18 °C 41 dBA 2000 rpm 97 °C 79 °C
Xigmatek Praeton 19 °C 52 dBA 2900 rpm 83 °C 64 °C
Noctua NH-U12P SE2 18 °C 42 dBA 1300 rpm 69 °C 51 °C
Deepcool Frostwin 24 °C 46 dBA 1650 rpm 78 °C 54 °C
Thermaltake Frio Advanced 13 °C 56 dBA 2000 rpm 62 °C 49 °C
Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition 9 °C 48 dBA 2100 rpm 53 °C 44 °C
Thermaltake Frio Extreme 21 °C 53 dBA 1750 rpm 59 °C 38 °C
Noctua NH-U9B SE2 12 °C 44 dBA 1700 rpm 64 °C 52 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro 15 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 52 °C 37 °C
Deepcool Fiend Shark 18 °C 45 dBA 1500 rpm 74 °C 56 °C
Arctic Freezer i30 13 °C 42 dBA 1350 rpm 63 °C 50 °C
Spire TME III 8 °C 46 dBA 1700 rpm 70 °C 62 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer 11 °C 54 dBA 2000 rpm 49 °C 38 °C
Arctic Alpine 11 PLUS 11 °C 45 dBA 2000 rpm 82 °C 71 °C
be quiet! Dark Rock 2 10 °C 41 dBA 1300 rpm 58 °C 48 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14CS 16 °C 47 dBA 1300 rpm 58 °C 42 °C
Phanteks PH-TC14PE 16 °C 48 dBA 1300 rpm 57 °C 41 °C
SilverStone HE01 (Q) 19 °C 44 dBA 1150 rpm 63 °C 44 °C
SilverStone HE01 (P) 20 °C 57 dBA 2050 rpm 62 °C 42 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (S) 17 °C 44 dBA 1250 rpm 52 °C 35 °C
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Extreme (E) 17 °C 53 dBA 1900 rpm 50 °C 33 °C
Deepcool Neptwin 11 °C 46 dBA 1500 rpm 56 °C 45 °C
SilverStone HE02 19 °C 49 dBA 2000 rpm 64 °C 45 °C
Zalman CNPS9900DF 23 °C 45 dBA 1400 rpm 68 °C 45 °C
Deepcool ICE BLADE PRO V2.0 22 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 67 °C 45 °C
Phanteks PH-TC90LS 24 °C 47 dBA 2600 rpm 95 °C 71 °C
Rosewill AIOLOS 20 °C 40 dBA 1600 rpm 94 °C 74 °C
Corsair H60 20 °C 49 dBA 2000 rpm 64 °C 44 °C
Zalman LQ310 27 °C 51 dBA 2050 rpm 65 °C 38 °C
Noctua NH-L9i 24 °C 44 dBA 2500 rpm 95 °C 71 °C
NZXT Respire T40 20 °C 45 dBA 1850 rpm 76 °C 56 °C
NZXT Respire T20 21 °C 45 dBA 1900 rpm 77 °C 56 °C
Zalman LQ315 20 °C 52 dBA 1950 rpm 57 °C 37 °C
Corsair H80i (Quiet) 19 °C 44 dBA 1100 rpm 61 °C 42 °C
Corsair H80i (Maximum) 19 °C 57 dBA 2500 rpm 55 °C 36 °C
NZXT Kraken X40 (Silent) 25 °C 44 dBA 1050 rpm 66 °C 41 °C
NZXT Kraken X40 (Extreme) 25 °C 53 dBA 1650 rpm 62 °C 37 °C
Zalman LQ320 20 °C 52 dBA 2100 rpm 57 °C 37 °C
Corsair H100i (Quiet) 22 °C 45 dBA 1150 rpm 58 °C 36 °C
Corsair H100i (Maximum) 22 °C 61 dBA 2500 rpm 54 °C 32 °C
NZXT Kraken X60 (Silent) 26 °C 46 dBA 1000 rpm 62 °C 36 °C
NZXT Kraken X60 (Extreme) 26 °C 60 dBA 1650 rpm 60 °C 34 °C

In the graph below, you can see how many degrees Celsius hotter the CPU core is than the air outside the case. The lower this difference, the better is the performance of the cooler.

NZXT Kraken X60 

In the graph below, you can see how many decibels of noise each cooler makes.

NZXT Kraken X60 

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the NZXT Kraken X60 CPU cooler include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The NZXT Kraken X60 presented extremely good performance on our tests, performing comparably with the best sealed liquid cooling systems we have tested so far. It is also flexible and smart with its companion software, and the performance didn’t degrade when we tested it in the Silent mode. The product is well-made and has an excellent overall quality.

The only issue about the Kraken X60 is regarding its compatibility with your case. Few cases available on the market support 280 mm radiators. Therefore, it is wise to check if your case is compatible with the Kraken X60 before buying it.

Because of its great cooling performance, the NZXT Kraken X60 receives the Hardware Secrets Golden Award.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/NZXT-Kraken-X60-CPU-Cooler-Review/1721


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