Testing Results & Conclusion
By using data compiled from previous cooler tests, we can take these standardized results and graph some comparisons of the NXZT Kraken X72 with other recently-released coolers similar in price and design.
As usual, our six-core, Intel Core i7-5930k overclocked to 4.2Ghz at 1.20v will do the heavy lifting, and all coolers were tested in our system Corsair Graphite 760T chassis. We will evaluate the NZXT Kraken X72 against the Raijintek Orcus 360, Corsair H150i Pro and the EK Fluid Gaming A120 kit.
As an added bonus, we will also compare the NZXT Kraken X72 against the Enermax LIQTECH 360 TR4 OC AIO cooler on our AMD Threadripper 1900X, clocked at 4.1 Ghz and 1.40v.
The Kraken X72 provides the lowest load temperatures over ambient of the comparison group, at just under 53 Celsius at full fan RPM speeds, besting the Corsair H150i Pro by 2.2 C. At 50% fan speeds, it shows even more cooling prowess when compared to its rivals during the same tests.
Reported fan speeds show the Kraken X72 with the fastest fan spindle speeds of the group. Pump RPM is provided for observation, showing flow rates remain consistent between fan speed testing, although it is quite interesting to observe measured pump speeds from different product pump designs. Pump RPM is not necessarily indicative of actual flow rates though, as we’re quite confident the pump in the EK Fluid Gaming A120 kit is moving the most volume per minute.
As we often see, higher fan speeds typically result in higher registered sound levels, and our chart shows the highest fan speeds of the X72 also topping the noise level graph, although it'sstill relatively quiet considering three 120mm fans are employed.
Acoustic performance skews the bars a bit here, due to relatively similar thermal load temperatures of the NZXT Kraken, Raijintek Orcus 360 and Corsair H150i Pro, and lower registered noise levels from the Raijintek and the EK Fluid Gaming A120.
Performance value is where we attempt to put a bow on our charting by evaluating cooler performance against retail price. Available now at $199.99, the NZXT is the most expensive cooler of the group, but it also offers the best overall cooling performance of our comparison group.
Since the NXZT Kraken X72 is also Threadripper-ready, we wanted to provide some comparison to another 360 AIO, the Enermax LIQTECH 360 TR4 OC, which is ONLY AMD socket TR4 compatible.
The Kraken X72 paces slightly behind the LIQTECH 360 in overall thermal load testing, but as we’ve seen from that review, the LIQTECH benefits from utilizing a full-coverage, all-copper rectangular block to blanket the Threadripper CPU. The Kraken X72 base is also copper, however the circular design is more suited to sit directly centered over the CPU processor dies.
Fan speeds show that the Kraken X72's fans spin slightly slower than those on the LIQTECH 360. With each cooler her using a large 360 radiator, matching fans to the heat exchanger being used can make a difference.
The slight difference in fan speed also seems to correlate into slightly lower noise levels, as well. No real surprise there.
Acoustic efficiency between just two coolers usually provides wider differences, due to the lack of values to average. The Kraken X72 takes a noticeable cooling performance-vs.-noise level advantage at 50% fan speeds here.
The 25% price premium of the Kraken X72 over the LIQTECH 360 creates a bit of a gap between these pair of performance coolers, although the NZXT Kraken X72 does use USB connectivity for software UI dashboard and RGB color support. And the Enermax cooler is designed solely for Threadripper, making it less likely to be carried over into a future build. So you are getting more functionality and versatility for the extra cash of NZXT's cooler.
NZXT continues to offer up performance cooling with its Kraken line of AIO coolers, and while the Kraken X72 flagship furthers that trend, it does come with a $200 retail price tag. That's higher than most other 360 AIO systems, but better cooling performance and an attractive RGB-lit mirrored pump face helps it earn its high price. The informative, well-designed graphical interface and controls of the CAM dashboard software help on that front as well.
There are two sides to every argument though, and while the Kraken X72 performs very well on our Intel cooler comparisons, it falls just behind the Enermax LIQTECH 360 TR4 OC cooler on our AMD Threadripper system in overall thermal load testing, while being priced higher. So if value and cooling performance are your main aims, this AIO might not be the best option for those with Threadripper systems.
AMD or Intel, the Kraken X72 provides the great performance and presentation for those seeking large AIO cooling for CPU overclocking, along with attractive looks for those increasingly popular tempered-glass chassis.
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