NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler

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Product(s): NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler
Provided By: NZXT

Price: ~$99.99 USD

Introduction: 

Here at BCCHardware we have had the chance over the years to look at quite a few products from NZXT. When we first started reviewing NZXT products they were mainly a case company, but over the years they've expanded into other enthusiast categories and now with the new Kraken Liquid CPU coolers they are taking aim at the liquid cooling market as well. The Kraken series of liquid coolers from NZXT is based on Asetek's Gen4 platform which is a pretty established platform when it comes to liquid cooling.

Today we are going to take a look at the NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU cooler. The Kraken X40 features a 140mm radiator to which you can attach up to two 140mm fans (only one fan is included with the cooler). The Kraken series of coolers also has a bigger version called the X60 which features a larger 280mm radiator.

Let's take a closer look at what the Kraken X40 is all about in the next section.

 

First Impressions:

One cool feature of the Kraken X40 is the NZXT logo on the water block has adjustable color control and allows you to select pretty much any color you might desire to go with the overall lighting scheme inside of your case. If you have a window on the side of your case this feature will be a nice touch.

 

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NZXT Kraken X40 - Packaging
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NZXT Kraken X40 - Top View

 

The water block (the part of the cooler that attaches to your CPU) is a round puck design similar to ones made by Asetek. This isn't a coincidence as the Kraken X40 is based on the Asetek Gen4 platform.

NZXT Kraken X40 - 140mm Radiator
NZXT Kraken X40 - Side View

 

One feature that NZXT is really proud of is the fact that the tubing that connects the water block to the radiator is extra-long to make for extra easy installation and gives you more options as to where you can put the radiator. Another nice feature is the fact that the tubes that go into the water block are able to pivot which makes for easy installation and allows you to route the tubes a whole lot easier.

 

NZXT Kraken X40 - 140mm Radiator
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NZXT Kraken X40 - Bottom View

 

As you can see in the pictures above, the radiator that is used is a 140mm and features all the mounting hardware necessary to mount a 140mm fan on both sides of the radiator for a "Push/Pull" setup.


NZXT only includes one fan with this cooler (one of their FX-140mm premium fans) so if you want to add a second fan you will need to purchase that separately.

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NZXT Kraken X40 - Accessories

 

As you can see above you get a whole bunch of mounting hardware which will allow you to mount this cooler to pretty much any recent AMD or Intel CPU available.

One other nice thing they include is a CD with the software on it. This might not seem like a big deal but it sure beats having to go to NZXT's website and find the software (Kraken Control), download it, and then install it before you can get your system up and running. There is something nice about just popping in a CD and being done. Thanks NZXT!

And that is what the Kraken X40 is all about; let's move onto the next section for more details about this cooler.

 


 

NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler Specifications:

All specifications taken from NZXT.com

Features:

World's first all-in-one 140mm cooler with capacity to mount up to two 140mm fans
• High performance pump and copper block with interactive digital fan control
• Integrated HUE controlled LED pump cap
• Large tower support with extended 16" tubing and premium black sleeved cables for a clean look and improved airflow
• Completed sealed system backed by a 2 year warranty

 

Specifications:

Water Block Material Copper
Pump Motor Speed 2900 + 150 RPM
Voltage 12V
Current 175 mA
Fan Control Interactive Digital Fan Control
LED Color Hue Controlled Color Changing Lights
Fan Model NZXT FX-140
Quantity 1
Dimension 140 x 140 x 25 mm
Bearing Liquid State Bearing
Speed 800 - 2000 RPM + 10%
Noise 21 - 37dBA
Voltage 4.5 - 12V
Air Flow 54 - 98.3 CFM
Air Pressure 0.8 - 2.2 mm-H2O
Connector 4 Pin PWM
Radiator Dimension 138.4 x 27.0 x 172.5mm
Material Aluminum
Tube Length 400 mm
Material Rubber
Compatibility Intel Socket 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011
Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3

AMD Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1
Phenom II / Athlon II / Phenom / Athlon FX / Athlon X2 / Athlon / Sempron / Dual-Core Opteron / Opteron / Fusion
Warranty 2 Years

 


 

NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler - Installation:

Before we can get to the testing section of this review we have to first get this cooler attached to our test system.
 

Typically liquid cooling systems take a little bit longer to install than an air cooler would thanks to the extra hardware (radiator) that you need to get attached to your case.

One really nice feature of the Kraken X40 is the fact that the tubing is longer than most self-contained liquid cooling systems available. The extra length in the tubing makes it much easier to get this radiator mounted as well it gives you more options as to where you want to mount the radiator (especially in a larger case).

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NZXT Kraken X40 - Packaging
NZXT Kraken X40 - Top View

 

As you can see in the pictures above, the first step to installation is to attach the mounting hardware to the portion of the cooler that will be touching your CPU. Depending on what type of CPU you are mounting this cooler to, you will have to follow different directions as to which pieces you use and where they go. This is a section of the installation where it will serve you well to follow the instructions rather than just guessing as you could very easily waste a bunch of time putting the wrong clips and screws in and then having to try to remove them again.

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Installation Complete
Installation Complete

The trickiest part of the installation is installing the correct brackets and clips onto the end of the cooler that touches the CPU. Once that is complete all you have to do is put the bracket on the back of your motherboard and then attach the two parts and BAM!!, you are done."

 

Overall the installation isn't too time consuming or tricky, but I found that if you try to "guess" at any point you could very easily make a bunch of extra work for yourself. If you are embarrassed to have to read the step by step instructions then you will want to install this cooler while no one else is watching.
 

In total, if you have your motherboard removed from your case already, installation should take no longer than 30 minutes.

 


 

NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler - Testing:

Test Setup:

For Intel (LGA1336) testing we will be using the Intel Core i7 920 CPU, which produces 130 Watts of heat. Most current CPU's produce considerably less heat than the Intel i7 920 but this should give you a very good idea what to expect performance-wise when compared to other coolers that we've reviewed.
 

For both AMD and Intel testing, we have taken all temperatures using CoreTemp v.0.99.4. CoreTemp takes a temperature from the CPU core, and allows for much more uniform results across different motherboard and CPU platforms. These temperatures may seem higher than other temperature recordings; because chances are they are taking temperature recordings using the diode underneath the CPU, which isn't able to be as accurate, and can really fluctuate between different brands of motherboards.
 

For all tests we are using the Highspeed PC Top Deck Tech Station , and we are using no additional cooling in our testing. All temperatures are recorded in a controlled environment that is set to 23 degrees Celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit) to provide fair results between coolers.

For all tests we use Arctic Cooling MX-2 High-Performance Thermal Compound (Paste), We use the same thermal paste in all our testing so that we can keep our results consistent. If a cooler is shipped with thermal paste pre-applied, it will be removed and we will re-apply it with Arctic Cooling MX-2 to provide fair results.

Intel Test System:

 

For all of our testing of the NZXT Kraken X40 we have manually turned the fan on the radiator up to 100% (2000 RPM).

 

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So as we can see from the first chart the Kraken X40 offers some pretty decent performance. Let's take these results and put them up against all of the other coolers we've taken a look at.
 
 
 
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Click on chart for larger view.

 

The results are in.

As you can see from the chart above, the Kraken X40 did very well in our testing and was only beaten by one other cooler. The Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme was able to beat the Kraken X40 by 2 degrees, but when you consider that the Kraken X40 has a MSRP of $100 USD and the Water 2.0 Extreme has a larger radiator and a MSRP of $130 USD I would say the Kraken X40 did very well.

Overall I would say that I was expecting the Kraken X40 to do well, but it exceeded my expectations by a couple degrees with its performance.

Let's move onto the final section of this review where we provide a final score for the Kraken X40.

 


 

NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler - Software

Normally the software of a CPU cooler doesn't get its own section, but the Kraken Control software that is included with the Kraken X40 is worthy of its own section.
 

Sometimes companies get carried away with their software and try to pack too much into them and end up just making the control software complicated to use. NZXT has done the opposite with Kraken Control. As you will see in the next few paragraphs, the Kraken Control software has a ton of features in it, yet it still manages to have a very smooth interface and is nice and easy to use. If you just want to see the temperatures of your cooler and the vital stats you can easily find them, but if you want more detailed information or to tweak your settings you can also easily do that with only a couple clicks of your mouse.

When you first fire up the Kraken Control software you will see the screen pictured below, the dashboard. From the dashboard you will be able to quickly see all the vital stats about your cooler and computer.

dash.jpg

 

The next tab we see is the graph feature. This is a handy little utility that shows you how what the temperatures and fan speeds of your system have been doing over a period of time. This is more of a "Power User" feature, but it is also nice to be able to look at what your system has been doing while you weren't around.

graph.jpg

 

And then we move to the Fan Setting tab. In this section you can set the fan speeds depending on what your CPU temperature is. As you can see below we have it set to "silent" which keeps our fan speeds pretty low unless the temperatures really get out of control. This section can be changed easily to the defaults (Extreme or Silent) or can be set to Custom where you can drag and drop the graph to whatever thresholds you want.

fan.jpg

 

The next section is Light Settings. This section allows you to customize the color that the cooler glows to pretty much any color you can think of. You can also set it up so that it will glow a different color if temperatures start getting high.

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And last but not least we have the General Setting tab. This section will let you change some of the more advanced settings of the cooler as well as how the software behaves. All of these settings are pretty easy to change and allow you to customize this cooler to your liking.

settings.jpg

 

And that's the end of the software section. As you have probably been able to tell, the Kraken Control software is very useful, yet it still is very easy to use and makes changing your settings very quick and easy to do. I really like how simple the software is and found it super easy to get things setup in no time.

 


NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid CPU Cooler Final Thoughts:

We have had the opportunity to take a look at quite a few NZXT products here at BCCHardware over the past couple years and it seems like every time we are left pleasantly surprised at what we see. Even though the Kraken series of water coolers is NZXT's first attempt at self-contained liquid cooling, from what we saw with the Kraken X40 it looks like they know what they are doing.

During our testing we found the build quality of the Kraken X40 to be really good and everything feels like it will stand up for the long haul. With little features like longer tubing (which allows you to mount the radiator further away from the CPU if your case allows) it is pretty obvious that the design team behind the Kraken X40 really put some thought into this cooler. NZXT is confident enough with their workmanship that they include a 2 year warranty with the Kraken X40. Other liquid cooler makers normally only include a 1 year warranty so having an extra year gives a little extra piece of mind.
 

The "Kraken Control" software that is included with the Kraken X40 (and Kraken X60) is also very good. NZXT has done a great job of putting some great features into the Kraken Control software, yet they still managed to keep it nice and simple with a very clean interface. Sometimes companies overcomplicate their software, but NZXT has managed to include powerful features in the software but still kept it nice and easy to use and therefore earned top marks in the software category of our final score.
 

When it comes to performance, the Kraken X40 is pretty tough to beat and came in almost at the top of our chart. The Kraken has a big brother (Kraken X60) that we will be also be taking a look at shortly which features a bigger radiator and should be able to improve on the X40's performance a bit more and might just be able to claim top spot on our cooler chart.
 

The Kraken X40 carries a MSRP of $99.99 USD, which for a liquid cooler isn't terrible and when compared with other liquid coolers that we have reviewed it is pretty competitive. The only cooler that was able to beat the Kraken X40 in our testing carries a $129.99 USD MSRP which makes the Kraken X40 a pretty good value in the watercooling market.
 

At the end of the day the Kraken X40 is a winner in our books. A competitive MSRP, top notch performance, slick software, and great build quality have easily earned the NZXT Kraken X40 our "Editor's Choice - Gold" award. While this might be NZXT's first water cooling product you would never know that by the looks of the Kraken X40 as this cooler is able to compete with the best of the best.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Performance
  • Great Software Included
  • High Quality Construction
  • Good Value
  • Customizable LED Lights
  • 2 Year Warranty

 

Cons:

  • Nothing Major

 

BCCRating 
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I'd like to thank NZXT for sending us their Kraken X40 cooler. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.