NZXT Kraken X61 280mm AIO CPU Cooler Review (Page 1)

NZXT Kraken X61 280mm AIO CPU Cooler Review

NZXT released the hounds in pursuit of the top of the charts. Let's see if its newest 280mm AIO CPU cooler, the Kraken X61, is capable getting there.

| Nov 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm CST
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing


It really does seem like forever and a lifetime ago since we last took a look at an AIO from NZXT, and looking back to their product line, it has been over two years now. Even back then, NZXT was slightly ahead of the game. While just about everyone was jumping into the AIO game, NZXT came right out with software controllability in all of their offerings, albeit then some very simple software; it was this, go to Antec, or opt to go with Corsair, and pay out for the Link to do the same job. So really, your choices then were down to just Antec and NZXT if you wanted any sort of control within that initial purchase price.

Well, NZXT is finally back at it, introducing a trio of AIOs to fit anyone's needs and budget. We will be covering these coolers in reverse order this time in our trilogy of reviews of the new Kraken coolers, but as far as offerings go, you have the option for a standard 120mm version to start it off. Moving up in the series, you can also move into a single 140mm AIO that offers a slightly thicker radiator, as well as head unit illumination. The top-tier of this series is the 280mm radiator based AIO that also offers head unit illumination. So, whether you are in the market for the latest generation, basic AIO, or if you plan to really work the snot out of the cooler in benching and testing, or even just long hours of gaming, with three levels of this series to choose from, NZXT covers everyone from system builders to enthusiasts.

Since we are starting off with the best offering in this new series, we really need to introduce you to the NZXT flagship AIO, the Kraken X61. As we have stated, it is based on a 280mm radiator, and with the latest generation of head units, we expect to see pump speeds of near 3600 RPM, delivering less heat into the head unit than previous generations. As far as we can tell, this is the same generation as the Water 3.0 Ultimate we tested not too long ago, just to give you some perspective on what generation we are dealing with.

With the basics of the AIO capable of very nice results, with the addition of the CAM software that takes control and information to a whole new level, outside of the H220 and H220X, you will be hard pressed to find this package of features elsewhere at this time. If this doesn't generate the least bit of excitement for you, maybe you should check for a pulse, because by the time we are done showing off this Kraken X61 from NZXT, we are sure you will have to be feeling it. This sealed AIO is just that cool.

NZXT Kraken X61 280mm AIO CPU Cooler Review 01 |

Unlike a lot of other AIO manufacturers, NZXT is not afraid to display all of the information at hand on their product. At a quick glance, we can see that the specifications listed are sort of all over the place, so let's see if we can't group them up, and make a bit more sense out of this.

The RL-KRX61-01 offers an aluminum radiator that measures in at 280mm long, 140mm wide, and 27mm in thickness - so they say, but in reality, the dimensions are slightly larger. Getting coolant from the radiator to the head unit is carried out with the use of black rubber hose held to the barbs with plastic rings. As you reach the plastic head unit that contains the pump and copper base plate, you will find the unit has a pair of swivel fittings, just like all the rest.

As for the fans that cool this radiator, we are given a pair of FX V2 140mm PWM Performance fans. These fans have rubber isolators in the corners of the black frames, and sport nine, white blades on each. These are capable of delivering up to 101.6 CFM of airflow each, while pushing 1.97 mmH2O of pressure at nearly 2000 RPM. These 140mm fans use four-pin plugs to power them via 12V, and the head unit also offers a four fan power lead that also uses a SATA connection to supplement the power. Getting back to that pump in the head unit, here we should see speeds of 3600 RPM, and this time the pump only draws 325 mA of power, so there is much less heat dumped into the coolant from the pump in this generation.

At the bottom, we find mention of what are likely the three of the best features of the Kraken X61, outside of performance. We see the head unit is illuminated, and offers full RGB scale color options, along with modes to make this look outstanding in any build. They also offer that new CAM software that offers more information and control than most will know what to do with. The last bit is that when you buy the Kraken X61, you are covered against defects and failures for a full six years from the date of purchase.

As we look around to find this product in the wild, we had no issues doing so, as most of the major locations have stock currently. Direct from the Armory, we find the Kraken X61 costs $139.99, and also requires $9.99 to ship it. Just like with the Grid+ fan hub, when looking elsewhere for a better deal, they can be had without shipping cost at the same base price, so you may as well look around and save yourself the extra $10. Keeping in mind that this is an average price for a sealed AIO with this size radiator, on the flip side, there are some things that will set this apart. The implied warranty here will definitely not cover opening the loop and modifying it, but our angle here will be if you leave the H220X as-is, how do they all stack up? Stick with us, as we have a lot to show, and where the Kraken X61 from NZXT places in performance may be a bit of a surprise.

PRICING: You can find the NZXT Kraken X61 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.

United States: The Kraken X61 retails for $139.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The Kraken X61 retails for CDN$149.99 at Amazon Canada.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:33 pm CDT

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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