NZXT Kraken X61 & X41 Liquid CPU Coolers Review

Author: AkG
Date: December 14, 2014
Product Name: Kraken X61 / X41
Part Number: RL-KRX61-01 / RL-KRX41-01
Warranty: 6 Years
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NZXTís Kraken series of prebuilt CPU water coolers has been around since early 2013 and when they were released, they took the All in One market by storm. Since then, the original X60 and X40 are still among some of the better solutions around but the competition has been fierce with new or updated units from Corsair, Silverstone, Antec, Thermaltake and many others. Now NZXT is launching the Krakenís next generation while consists of three new Asetek-supplied closed loop liquid coolers: the X31, X41 and X61.

In order to top of the performance abilities of their first attempts, NZXT went back to the drawing board. The result is a brand new waterblock and pump design that was handed down to Asetek for mass manufacturing. This update promises to be even more efficient at whisking away heat from even the hottest running of CPUs.

While absolute CPU cooling performance is first and foremost the primary task of NZXTís redesign, the pump plays a key role as well. In previous AiO designs fan speeds could be controlled so a user could have some control over their systemís noise levels but the pump itself remained at a constant operating speed. This proved to be a bone of contention since achieving truly quiet acoustics proved to be a challenge with the pump chugging away. With the X41 and X61 NZXT is introducing a technology thatís long since been available on custom water cooling setups: a variable speed pump which can scale its speed from 2400RPM to 3600RPM depending on load conditions.

There are plenty of similarities between the newest Kraken series and their predecessors, NZXT has implemented more than enough changes to warrant a second look. A new fan dubbed the FX140 V2 was designed to improve overall airflow, radiators were updated with the latest technology and the NZXT CAM controller software has also undergone some noteworthy improvements.

Like their predecessors, the dual bay X61 and single bay X41 are based on the 140mm form factor and go for $140 and $110 respectively. While this may sound like a lot to spend on a CPU cooler, theyíre supposed to offer some of the best performance around at minimal decibel levels. More importantly, both come with an immense 6 year warranty which does add quite a bit of long-term value to the equation.

On paper these two new coolers do have a lot going for them but with stiff competition from every corner, theyíll need to be extremely impressive to justify their relatively high cost.


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