Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Water cooling a video card is nothing new, and we have seen various concepts for full coverage water blocks, universal water blocks, and a couple of years back we even looked at an AIO design from ARCTIC. The thing is though, with most of the AIOs being built all coming from two (and now possibly three) companies, there had to be a way to incorporate AIOs into video card cooling in the way that ARCTIC delivered, but in a way to take advantage of the later generation AIOs as well. Anyone following the forum life in the last few years saw a certain mod on another forum, where the idea of a GPU bracket for the majority of the Asetek AIOs was born, modified, and even went retail from that one simple idea.
Well a year or two ago, NZXT had some builds to complete for CES, and asked that they get a couple of these brackets to go along with some of their Kraken AIOs as they debuted the Switch 810. The rest is history, as we now have this product to take a look at.
This review also should have gone live long ago, but we did run into a slight snag. Even after a few emails back and forth, and explaining that we used the HD7950 for testing, we were sent this new product along with an AIO from NZXT to have a go with. However, the die on our GPU is lower than the bracket around it and that left us with an issue of no contact between the die and the AIO base plate. Then we remembered an air cooler that sent a shim along with it, so we dug through some boxes in the basement, and with slight modifications, we are now able to give it a go.
As the title suggests, we are going to have a look at the Kraken G10 GPU to AIO bracket, and just how well it installs and performs with the Kraken X40 they sent along with it for a baseline of results. Keep in mind, this is a slim, single radiator based AIO, and there is always the option to choose another Asetek made AIO that offers the round head and locking tabs. Stick with us, and we think you will be really impressed with the results we got in our testing of this combo.
The chart offered by NZXT is very thorough, and offers everything you need to know about the Kraken G10. First of all, it comes in three colors to blend into any build with the option of red, white, or black (as we received). We see that the G10 is 177mm from expansion slot to power plug, it sits 32.5mm off of the card, and is 110.6mm from slot to edge of the card. Also, to help cool the power delivery system of the card, this bracket includes a 93mm fan. This fan is based on a sleeve bearing, uses a 3-pin connector for power, and will spin at 1500 RPM to cool the card, and it won't be ear-splittingly loud while doing so.
As for which cards are compatible, there is a full list of cards, but pay attention to the asterisks denoting things like die height issues, and in our case, the need for a shim that you have to find on your own. There is also a compatibility chart for the coolers that can be used along with the Kraken G10, and it includes more than just the NZXT products. Here it is easy to see that the Kraken AIOs do work, but there are also Corsair, Antec, Thermaltake, and even Zalman options for sources of compatible AIOs to choose from; they are even listed down to the specific models.
Now of course there is the fact that the price of an AIO is needed to be taken into consideration with a product such as this. Remember, you are getting the bracket and fan, along with a few other goodies, but sourcing the AIO is up to you. While most of us have an AIO lying around collecting dust, that isn't such a concern. The Kraken G10 bracket also comes up in only a select few places, and no matter what you are seeing around the internet, keep in mind the MSRP is set at $29.99 U.S. dollars, and can be had directly from the NZXT store for that amount if you do find that others are charging a bit too much for their stock.
If you do happen to have a compatible AIO collecting dust, a $30 investment is a great way to put it back into use. The flipside though, is that if you need to buy the AIO as well, things can get a bit expensive -like pretty easily over $100 with some of those AIO options. From what we can see though, this is a solid design, and a great way to get some extra cooling to the video card without the mass of an air cooler or the heft of a full cover block.
PRICING: You can find the NZXT Kraken G10 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
Canada: The NZXT KRAKEN G10 (BLACK) retails for CDN$45.00 at Amazon Canada and the NZXT KRAKEN G10 (WHITE) retails for CDN$45.00 at Amazon Canada, and the NZXT KRAKEN G10 (RED) retails for CDN$45.00 at Amazon Canada.