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NZXT Kraken X42 Liquid CPU Cooler Review (Page 1)

NZXT Kraken X42 Liquid CPU Cooler Review

Should NZXT's Kraken X42 liquid cooler be your next CPU cooler of choice? Our testing shows that may well be the case.

By Chad Sebring from Mar 23, 2017 @ 20:52 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing


By now, most of us in the real-world have tried some form of liquid cooling, whether it be a fully custom setup, or opting for one of the many sealed loops on the market today. Up to now, when it came to AIOs, there has been one way to make them work well, and that was done by changing the fans used on the radiator portion of the cooler, which allowed companies to opt for static pressure, more airflow, and in the best-case scenario, fans which were great at doing both. Older generations of these coolers tended to be somewhat limited in their pump speeds, and many would complain that the older pumps were noisy, and could even be heard over the fans, when they were running at lower speeds.

It seems that now, there is a drastic change in the AIO market, and NZXT is the first to show off what the latest generation of AIOs is capable of. Rather than depending so much on the fan speed of their systems, there is a new pump in charge of the flow rate, which is where much of the magic happens. The new pump translates to a more efficient system, which increases the rate in which the coolant moves through the radiator, and can then reduce the fan speed, obtaining optimal performance without the need to make your ears bleed. What you are about to see, will change the way you look at closed loop coolers, and a new day is dawning in the AIO market.

NZXT has sent over the Kraken family for us to have a look at what is new, and we have decided to look at them, smallest first, on up in size as we look at the three coolers. The first of this trio is named the Kraken X42, and while similar in name to previous designs that NAZXT has had in the past, that is just about all that is shared between this and previous offerings. We are impressed with what NZXT is doing in the realm of sealed water cooling, and with all the new technology and features added in this time around, there is not a major price hike associated with it, which makes buying anything else at this point a bit pointless.


We took this chart from the Kraken X42 product page, and it does tell us much about this cooler. First off, we are given the size of the radiator, and this single 140mm radiator is 175mm tall, 143mm wide, and without the fan, it is 30mm thick. The head unit on the X42 is larger than most, as it is a cylindrical shape that is 80mm across the top, and it stands 52.9mm high. In this product, there is aluminum used in the radiator and the cover on the head unit. Copper is used in the base plate, plastic is used for the fittings and the clear cover on the head unit, and there are over fifteen inches of ultra-low evaporation rubber tubes, which have nylon sleeve on them.

All told, without the hardware included, it weighs in at 890 grams. Compatibility is wide, as it fits anything since AM2 for AMD, and all Intel sockets after LGA775. There is a RAM height clearance shown too, and we believe this is the height under the swivel fittings. This 35mm may come into play, but you will see later, that the X42 did not encroach on them.

NZXT offers CAM software to control the X42, and this is where you can set modes, for both the fan and the pump, as well as a place to tinker with the RGB LED system. The pump in this system is shown to spin at a maximum of 2800RPM with a margin of error, and the fan cooling the other end of the cooler is an Aer P140 fan. Only one fans ships with the X42, but it is capable of 1800RPM, at a noise level of 38db(A). Along with the model number at the bottom of the chart, we also see that the new Kraken coolers are backed by a six-year warranty; the longest we have seen to date.

Since we were on the product page to get the chart, we looked around as we always do, and found that the MSRP of $129.99 is right there in bold print. From what we can recall in the past, single 120mm AIOs release at $119.99, so an extra $10 to make the move to 140mm is reasonable. Looking around for other places to grab the Kraken X42, we see that Newegg is sticking tight to the MSRP, with their listing at $129.99 as well. Amazon, they are a tad higher, as they are asking $132.58 for this cooler currently. Of course, as time passes by, sales will pop up eventually, but at $129.99 we feel that not only are you getting the latest generation of AIOs to start off with, but you are also getting the most feature rich AIO we have seen to date.

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