NZXT Kraken X40 & X60 CPU Coolers Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: February 10, 2013
Product Name: Kraken X40 and Kraken X60
Part Number: RL-KRX60-01 & RL-KRX40-01
Warranty: 2 Years
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Kraken Controller Software

In previous years sealed water coolers either relied upon external controller hardware or simply expected the customer’s motherboard to determine an ‘optimal’ fan profile based on CPU temperatures. In reality, neither solution was particularly optimal.

Much like the Corsair H80i and H100i, the new NZXT Kraken series is part of a new breed of ‘smart’ cooling solutions. They have a hardware fan controller integrated directly into the waterblock and also utilize a USB data port which can communicate in real time with compatible software.

In the case of NZXT’s X40 and X60, this software stack takes the form of a reskinned Asetek solution. The resulting “Kraken Controller” is broken down into multiple tabs with each dedicated to a specific task and labeled in easy to understand terminology. All of thisallows for quick, easy and precise control over the fans attached to the Kraken’s built in controller. This software gives these AIOs a level of adaptability and customization that few on the market can match.

Much like certain parallels can be drawn between the Kraken and Corsair’s Hydro ‘i’ series, so too can the software of each be compared and contrasted. Like Corsair Link, the Kraken application allows for customized fan profiles but it also has a setting which links every fan to a give speed. This tends to make the Kraken much easier to work with but at the expense of customizability.

The Kraken program also incorporates real time monitoring of CPU temperature, fan speed, pump speed and coolant temperature. You can also customize the waterblock’s integrated LED color and set it to alert the world to a pump or fan failure.

However, unlike Link, Kraken is more basic in how it handles these alerts. You can’t configure it to change the fan profile, nor run an application or even send you an email when a system error occurs. It simply creates a popup alert notification on the desktop. This is still better than nothing but it is a crucial difference between this first generation software and Corsair’s second generation offering.

The other missing feature is firmware updating. Corsair allows their Link software to perform upgrades on the hardware itself whereas Kraken has no such feature.

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