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NZXT Kraken Z73 Review: Pretty, Pricey Performance

It’s a strong performer with a pretty LCD face. But this cooler will leave a “kraken” your wallet.

NZXT Kraken Z73
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Dressed to impress in glitzy formal wear, the NZXT Kraken Z73 brings real-time system control, UI integration and hardcore CPU liquid cooling to those with deep pockets and high expectations.

For

  • Beautiful, multi-option LCD pump face displays selected data in real-time
  • CAM software provides ability to manage pump and fan curves or pre-select factory settings
  • Excellent cooling capability

Against

  • Premium price closes in on full watercooling kits
  • Fan noise at 100% RPM

NZXT’s latest flagship Kraken Z73 AIO represents a new generation of liquid coolers from a company already known for its quality and striking visuals. Armed with a trio of powerful fans and a new 7th- gen pump, this 360mm model makes a stunning visual statement with its active LCD face displaying a myriad of system statistics, like registered CPU and coolant temperatures or even customized logos, radiating forth from atop your CPU in pure digital bliss.

Priced at $279.99, the NZXT Kraken Z73 commands a premium for its digital LCD fireworks and a cooling performance punch that rivals the best AIOs -- and even some custom cooling loops we’ve tested. For those system builders who strive to reach the peak of thermal excellence and can’t get enough of that integrated, jaw-dropping LCD display, the Kraken Z73 is second to none.

Specifications

Thickness1.125" / 28.6mm (2.25" / 57.15mm w/fans)
Width4.75" / 120.65 mm
Depth15.5" / 393.7mm
Pump Height2.125" / 54.0mm
Speed ControllerBIOS/Software
Cooling Fans(3) 120 x 25mm
Connectors(3) 4-Pin PWM, proprietary USB header to MB 9-pin USB
Weight48.0 oz / 1361g
Intel Sockets2066, 2011x, 1366, 115x
AMD SocketsAM2(+), AM3(+) AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Warranty6 years
Web Price$280
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As any enthusiast cooling system should, the NZXT Kraken Z73 ships with mounting hardware for nearly all current mainstream and high-end desktop (HEDT) processors, from both sides of the great CPU silicon chasm (Intel and AMD). Just note that if you want to chill your threadripper, you’ll need to get an optional bracket from NZXT.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The heart of the Kraken Z73 is a 7th-gen pump that promises better flow and reliability. The familiar NZXT reflective face actually hides a 2.36 inch (60mm) diameter LCD display for real-time reporting of CPU or liquid temperatures, and even has the ability to manage your own custom image or animated GIF.

A motherboard USB 2.0 header-to-micro-USB cable manages the connectivity between the CAM desktop software and the Kraken Z73. A proprietary cable fans out from the pump to a trio of fan outputs, a SATA power input, and an unused 4-pin connector.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The base of the Kraken Z73 features a copper cold plate and a splotch of factory-applied thermal compound. The traditional Asetek twist-lock bracket system is easily seen from below and allows the simple interchange of the correct mount during installation.

A pair of 90-degree swivel fittings allow for the nylon-sleeved tubing to be rotated and moved into position during installation.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

NZXT provides three 120mm AER P120 fans with fluid-dynamic bearings to muster air through the 360mm aluminum radiator. Each of the 2000RPM (max) fan blades has a bit of an upturned winglet near the tip and is surrounded by a contrasting molded shroud.

Rubber grommets are positioned at each of the four corners for additional vibration damping.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Installation of the NZXT Kraken Z73 is very manageable and similar to most other AIOs on the market, assuming the chassis in question supports a 360mm radiator. The length and flexibility of the sleeved tubing and swivel fittings allows for a multitude of different mounting options to suit your needs.

Management of both the USB and  PWM+SATA cables require a bit of thought due to the width of the proprietary cable bundle and the top location of the USB plug, which typically routes to a 9-pin USB header at the bottom of the motherboard.

The NXZT CAM software allows for selection of the LCD display as well as multiple system sensor reports from the UI. Fan and pump speeds can be managed using either a curve ramp or manufacturer-defined performance settings.

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(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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  • DookieDraws
    Yeah, that pricing is outrageous. o_O
    Reply
  • D33r
    Since when was CAM a positive?
    Reply
  • MoxNix
    More overpriced RGB garbage. When are these companies going to realize many of us don't want flashing rainbow lights everywhere and on every part?
    Reply