To be blunt, our first impressions of this AIO when we unboxed it and saw all of the wiring made us nervous. We thought back to previous designs where software either had difficulties recognizing the product, or was just complicated to use. However, after some time with this Kraken X61, all of our worries were put to rest.
Starting with the mounting system, it is the same kit we have seen from Thermaltake in the past, and has proved itself time and time again as a good way to mount these head units with a fair amount of socket pressure. Then we look at the head unit itself. The design is nice to look at, but once you power up and get to play with the LED backlighting, it looks so much better. Black tubing is nothing new, and will blend into any build, as will all of the black braided cabling from the head unit. When it comes to the radiator, the increased surface area definitely helps, and putting on the pair of FX V2 140mm fans really helped to push this cooler to the top end of our charts.
Downfalls for the Kraken X61 are non-existent really. Mounting the fans, the radiator, and the head unit can't get much easier or more straight forward. It looks good, and nothing was beat up or had paint missing. NZXT sends plenty of parts along with it, and with the SATA powered four-fan lead coming from the head unit, having full control over a push/pull setup on this cooler is all ready to go, you even get the screws needed. If we really had to pick on this cooler for anything at all, the only thing that sticks out in our minds is the noise levels, and here it is only in the worst case scenario that we have that complaint.
The CAM software is where a good cooler jumps into the ranks of a great cooling solution. Of course, there are others who have done something similar, but not in the depth, and ease that NZXT has brought forth in the latest release of the Kraken. The only complaint we have in the software is that compared to any other monitoring software, the CPU temperature was always three to five degrees less than the rest, but within a respectable range to have a good idea of what is going on inside the PC. With all of the other information, notices, and options available via the CAM software, it is hard not to really like what NZXT is doing these days.
The $139.99 asking price is not unreasonable, especially when you consider other options on the list of coolers that this cooler contends with. Of course, the H220X has certain abilities that NZXT cannot offer, but Swiftech does not have the super simple software to help users get finite control, and the Kraken X61 has much more lighting customizations than the four offered in the H220X. If we look at it from the aspect of performance, it is a bit louder than the Swiftech, but it is able to overstep Swiftech in performance as well.
If you have the room for a dual 140mm radiator in your chassis, NZXT proves that increased surface area paired with fans that take no prisoners can, will, and does make a huge improvement to the cooling capabilities. In the end, the cost is right, the feature set is rich, and you can be the first of your buddies to have the coolest sealed AIO currently offered, and the world's first variable speed version at that.
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.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||96%|
|Bundle and Packaging||97%|
|Value for Money||99%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||98%|
The Bottom Line: Not only the world's first variable speed AIO, NZXT delivers the most customizable, most controllable, and best dual radiator sealed AIO performance to date! Features, performance, everything you will ever need including a six year warranty puts the NZXT Kraken X61 at the top of our recommended coolers list.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [NZXT Kraken X61 CPU Cooler]
- Page 4 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 5 [Installation and Finished Product]
- Page 6 [NZXT CAM Software Tutorial]
- Page 7 [NZXT CAM Software Usability]
- Page 8 [Test System Setup, Thermal Tests and Noise Results]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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