In the past, noise was of little concern when it came to selling you an AIO cooler. It used to be a battle of fans where only the best thermal results in charts was where heads were at. Today, we see that this Kraken X42 is a balance of noise, performance, and aesthetics, and we feel NZXT does a terrific job of maximizing all three.
No, the Kraken X42 is not a chart topper, when it comes to thermal testing, but with the results that we find to be more than sufficient, the majority of the time this thing is running, you will never hear it. The looks take it to another level too. The brushed metal, high-end look and feel to the head unit, the sleeve applied to the tubing, and the subtle name on the side of the radiator and an all-black fan attached to it, will not distract from what the head unit is capable of doing.
Mounting the Kraken X42 could not be easier, the length of the tubes allows this cooler to fit in more locations, and with what CAM brings to the Kraken series of coolers, it makes this the most feature rich AIO system we have tested. Not only is the head unit RGB LED backlit, but you can also pick colors, put the lights in various display modes, use thermals to dictate color, or even have the lights flashing corresponding to music or gameplay.
Cam delivers a full array of details of the entire system, it offers custom control and modes for the pump and fan, and if you have other NZXT products, they tie into CAM seamlessly as well. Just like with peripherals, it is hard not to appreciate one larger suite to cover all products at once. The performance was not chart-topping, but we do like what we see from this single 140mm radiator based unit, and gives us hope that those who move into the larger Kraken AIOs have even more to look forward to. What is best about the performance, is that at no time do we even hear the Kraken X42 without climbing into the system.
As we sit here and ponder everything we just saw, we cannot find any fault with NZXT for the design or layout, although RAM can be an issue if you have sticks with heat spreaders double the size of the PCB. Otherwise, you get good thermal results and a near complete lack of noise, and an AIO with a dazzling light show.
Considering the MSRP of $129.99, you may want to move into the larger brothers to this Kraken X42, but if space keeps you to a single 140mm radiator based solution, for our money, we would be looking at the Kraken X42 and nowhere else. Why settle for an inferior product, when NZXT is dangling the perfect solution to your needs, right here in front of your face.
Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST
The Bottom Line: NZXT delivered the goods! The Kraken X42 may be small, but it is silent, feature rich, easy to install and use via CAM software, and NZXT is not gouging you at the counter. An impressive evolution to AIO coolers.
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