In this day and age, cooling has swung in favor of AIO liquid coolers and while many of them have now transitioned from performance to aesthetics development, there is still a large room for improvement on these devices. Many brands right now are clamoring to get RGB perfected on their products but have been reluctant in further developing performance features like precision control and monitoring. NZXT has set out to change that with their Kraken series of AIO liquid cooling solution. NZXT’s CAM software is a multi-function configuration and monitoring software that allows NZXT to extend further functionalities on their Kraken series of coolers. Also debuting recently is the NZXT Kraken X72: a 360mm radiator-equipped AIO which is intended to give more cooling surface area so performance should be more than its smaller rivals. In this review we’ll pit the new NZXT Kraken X72 against other 360mm AIOs and see which comes out on top as we test both on a high-end 16-core Ryzen Threadripper and 5Ghz Core i7 8700K 6-core processor.
New performance engineered pump
Individually addressable RGB and infinite mirror design
CAM Powered for complete software control
Includes Aer P radiator-optimized fan
Advanced lighting modes for a fully dynamic lighting experience
Reinforced, extended tubing for increased durability
As with most NZXT products, the Kraken X72 follows a similar packaging style with a plain, white cardboard box with full color prints. A simple shot of the product is in the front with the model name. At the back we can see some feature highlight. It is quite a long box, by the way.
The product is securely held in place by a molded, paper tray. The package includes the NZXT Kraken X72 360mm AIO liquid cooler, three Aer P120 fans, mounting brackets, a backplate and retention screws.
Here are the screws for the radiators. You get the long ones for the fans and the short ones are for mounting the radiator to your case. Washers are also included.
NZXT has redesigned the fan pump on the Kraken to utilize a USB cable for control and the fans are powered off a SATA-power hub. The cables above are included in the bundle.
The NZXT Aer P120 fans are rated for a maximum 2000RPM and they are high static pressure design so they can push more air through the rads. They can get really audible when set to maximum RPM but NZXT has designed the Kraken series to utilize a balance of liquid and fan control to efficiently manage temps and keep noise levels down. That includes the fans.
Here is the Kraken X72 AIO itself. A behemoth 360mm radiator is the major standout feature here with the mirror-top pump block also stealing some spotlight. NZXT has also installed sleeving on the tubing which is a nice touch as it prevents residue build up on the rubber tubes which look really weird when they accumulate in time due to handling.
A better shot of the radiator from the back. We get to see the fin array on the radiator and how packed they are. From the side, we notice an NZXT print just to accentuate the rad. A note for case owners, this cooler will require a relatively big chassis that can support a 360mm radiator. Most new tower cases will support it but do check before you buy.
A shot of the pump-block shows us how good the craftsmanship is on the block top. The sides are clean and the material used is top notch. NZXT has pre-applied thermal paste on the block. The pump block is also where you plug the control cables shown above.
Here are the fans mounted onto the radiators. The rubber lining on the side give a good accent to the relatively simple look of the Aer P120.
Here is the Intel mounting solution. Mounting screws are connected to a backplate which then is secured to the block with the mounting bracket.
A shot of the backplate for Intel.
The NZXT Kraken X72 also supports AMD Threadripper. You will need your TR4 block retention bracket included with your Threadripper processor to mount the Kraken. Once the bracket is connected to the pump-block. Just screw it in place and you’re done.
Here is look at how the TIM spreads when mounted. The TIM stays mostly in its location and doesn’t spread. There’s also good, even pressure as there is no spots in the TIM.
Here’s the Kraken X72 mounted on an NZXT H700i that we also have for review. Note that in most cases that natively support 360mm radiator, placement is key. You’d want it to exhaust heat out of your case so placing it in front with the fans exhausting inwards is not advisable. Be sure to plan accordingly to know how to best handle airflow when mounting the 360mm radiators.
Here is the NZXT Kraken X72 block connected to our RGB demo system.
CAM is a big part of how the Kraken series operates. The latest version of the software is much more stable and functional than its initial release, adding loads of new features like FPS monitoring and other utilities for enthusiasts. NZXT CAM also features monitoring of various components in your system including GPU and storage devices. You can also monitor clock speeds as well as fan speeds on your CPU and GPU. All of this can be setup as an overlay as well for monitoring during gameplay.For desktop-only usage, there is also a widget mode for the NZXT CAM software which gives a smaller, at-a-glance view of system info.NZXT CAM allows configuration of your KRAKEN series cooler as well. You can control the pump speed and fan speed either via preset configurations or manually to give you the performance balance of cooling and silence in your system. You can adjust the settings with ramp profiles or a fixed value to give you the best, custom solution for your cooling needs. This is all seamless and happens in real-time so your KRAKEN X72 as well as other NZXT KRAKEN series coolers will reflect the changes immediately.
We’ll be testing the Kraken X72 in a higher-than-normal standards. Normally we’d go for stock in our cooler tests but since this is a extreme cooler, we’re going to look at it in enthusiast scenarios. First up we have a 5Ghz Core i7-8700K 6-Core CPU with 1.35 volts powering that OC and for our HEDT system, we have the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1960X 16-core processor. We’re using Noctua NT-H1 TIM for all tests and all tests are performed in a 25*C on an open test bench.
In this test, we can see the Kraken X72 taking the lead providing the lowest overall thermal results. In our Threadripper platform, the Kraken X72 performs roughly the same as the Celsius S36 but idles a bit hotter. The fans do go pretty low during idle status versus Fractal Design’s but you can readily offset this via custom profiles if you feel you want it lower.
Many Asetek design coolers right now are being dubbed as similar by enthusiasts and bearing that in mind, it becomes the job of the brand basing off those designs to deliver their own touches to improve on either performance, looks or usability. The Kraken series manages to tick the right boxes making it one of the most preferred of its class. Focusing more on the Kraken X72, it bears the same aesthetics as its brothers except the radiator difference but its classy, all black scheme, low profile pump/block featuring that infinity mirror which shows off the RGB effect is a really well-executed piece of design. It’s not over-the-top nor is it too simplistic. It sets of the right balance of elegance and functionality that’s well-received by consumers.
Performance is quite good on the Kraken X72 for mainstream desktops but I still feel it could’ve performed better on the HEDT Threadripper. That said, it does have great compatibility with a wide range of platforms making it a flexible option that can be used on many systems. The ability to control fan noise precisely as you want make it an even better deal especially for people who have a higher threshold for noise or just plain don’t care, they can tweak their Kraken X72 via NZXT CAM for more performance or for those that seek silence, create a profile for silent operation.
Whichever route you want to take, the NZXT Kraken X72 is a great-perfoming AIO LCS for the enthusiasts that can house it in their chassis. At $199, it does come with a premium and its closest competitor is actually the Kraken X62 280mm model which is cheaper. It all boils down to case compatibility and preference. If you want a maxed-out look for your chassis that supports 360mm rads, the NZXT Kraken X72 offers great features for you.
NZXT backs the Kraken X72 with a 6-year warranty. We give it our B2G Performance Award and B2G Silver Award!