Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
We have seen the best NZXT has to offer, and we were pleasantly surprised at the abilities of their midrange solution with the Kraken X61 and the X41. We were very pleased with the build quality, as it is on par with any other Asetek AIO, but the CAM software is the biggest bonus of opting for a NZXT AIO over many of the others on the market today. We always did have fan control potential, but as far as the pump was concerned, it was always PWM control, or adapted with a fan adapter to a certain speed only, or you had to connect it to a conventional fan controller to have any real say in the pump speed. With CAM, via a simple USB connection, you have access to three sections that will show you everything you would need to know while monitoring your system, all within a very intuitive and attractive window.
Some concessions have been made from the last two coolers we looked at to allow NZXT to lower the price and offer a more affordable solution. First of all, this version is based on a 120mm radiator and fan, not that it is a bad thing, but this version also uses a 30mm thick radiator, so some of that cost went into this. That does give this cooler a sixteen percent advantage over the standard 120mm AIO. We also lose the braided sleeve that was applied to the wiring leaving the head unit, but the wiring is still black for all of the leads, so that isn't such a bad thing either. The one thing we will really miss in this version is that on the head units, what was once a backlit design and name, is now painted, and illumination is not included here.
Today, we bring forth the smaller, more budget friendly offering in NZXT's latest generation of AIOs, the Kraken X31. Since we have already covered the major differences in this design, we are also assuming out of the gate that performance will not be the highest due to the design of this cooler. What we do expect is that the Kraken X31 will be able to run with coolers like the Enermax, Silverstone, and GamerStorm AIOs, and hopefully it comes out on top.
Even for the Kraken X31, NZXT offers the same charts that make our brains hurt, so as we discuss the specifications, we will do our best to group them into more sensible segments. We will start with the copper heat plate and black plastic housing that contains the pump, and makes up the head unit. The pump inside of it can be powered in any fashion as before, or as intended; simply plug it into the motherboard CPU header, and gain full control of it via the CAM software.
This pump will allow control of the pump speed from 2400 to 3600 RPM, and at top speed, it will only draw 325 mA of power. There are three leads extending from the head unit on the Kraken X31. One powers the pump via a three-pin connection, another is the much longer USB 2.0 cable, and also there is a dual four-pin plug fan lead.
Between the head unit and the radiator, NZXT chose 400mm worth of black, ultra-low evaporation rubber tubing to allow users maximum reach for more mounting options. At the head unit end, there are angled swivel fittings, and on the radiator there are only straight fittings. To keep the tubing on the barbs of those fittings, there is a ring of tougher rubber to secure the tubing. As for the radiator itself, it is made of aluminum, is dual pass, and it's painted black to match the rest of the kit.
The last bit to discuss, outside of the six-year warranty, is the included fan. On this model we find the NZXT FX V2 120mm PWM fan, again with white blades and a black frame. This is powered via four-pin PWM connection, and should be connected to the lead from the head unit to take full advantage of the software. The fan is capable of speeds up to 2000 RPM, and it can deliver 69.5 CFM of air flow and 2.77 mmH2O of pressure. We also see that NZXT has rated this fan slightly more silent than the 140mm version, as this one shows 34 dBA of noise level.
Just like the other two products in this series, you could go to the Armory and buy this cooler, but our advice is to go there only if you cannot find stock elsewhere, because only the Armory has an additional charge for shipping. All of the major e-tailers are respecting the price set at NZXT though, and just about anywhere, you can obtain the Kraken X31 for $79.99.
As you can see, there is a $30 drop from the cost of the X41; hopefully it is easier to understand why NZXT had to basically strip this model of some of its more interesting aesthetic features. However, you still have total control over this cooler with just a few clicks of the mouse, just as the rest of the coolers in this series. Considering there are other AIOs at the same price point with the same size radiator that do not offer software control, there is little reason to choose any of these other AIO's if you are just looking for a base level AIO anyways. Take the software; it is essentially a free bonus.
PRICING: You can find the NZXT Kraken X31 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 X31 retails for $73.99 at Amazon.
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