We may sound like a broken record here at some point, but these AIO makers are not making our job easy to do anymore. When this all started, sure, it was about the money, but it was also about delivering a product that is well worth the investment. We had to deal with noise when we pushed the CPU, but most people game with headphones these days, and won't hear the cooler much anyways. At idle or during daily tasks at the PC, all AIOs are silent, as they should be. We do not get this trend of moving to silence in all aspects of use, the companies expecting the same amount of money for doing so, with much less benefit to the end-user. What makes it even worse for the Kraken M22 is that it is only a 120mm fan based radiator. If it were more substantial, you could get away with less fan, but with such a small area to cool, the wall NZXT is trying to climb kept getting taller as they work their way up it.
Granted, we did get the temperature difference between testing the Kraken M22 and our version of an Intel stock cooler. At first glance, it seems impressive, but we have no details on the test system used, so while NZXT got as low as 71-degrees, we could only beat that number with a stock CPU. Once overclocked, we quickly passed that number. While you do get what is advertised, you need to see it in perspective to truly appreciate what you are getting, or what you aren't getting instead. We do like that they tried new things by moving the pump out of the head unit, but no defined result shows it to be better than a conventional design. Taking into account what NZXT is asking when buying the Kraken M22, we need more than RGB LEDs in the head unit; even an RGB LED fan would have us a bit more excited. That and the fact that the M22 only gets basic options in CUE, no longer supporting quiet, balanced, and performance modes for the cooler setup, we felt a bit let down.
If you are looking at this cooler online, and see the $99.99 price, we would quickly pass. Even finding it at the lowest price we saw of $84.71 at Newegg, while you may feel better initially, you will soon lose that feeling once you use the Kraken M22. Overall, against all of the coolers we tested, it does not make a bunch of sense to grab a cooler like this when $50 and even more affordable single tower 120mm cooler will suffice, and provide better results. We feel bad for this review and hammering on the Kraken M22 so much, but with everything there, spread out on the table for everyone to see, they leave us little choice on how to feel and what we can say to bolster the image of the Kraken M22.
We might be a one-man crusade to get more from these manufacturers, but asking someone to pay nearly $100 for a CPU cooler, it needs to be an excellent cooler first, and then worry about noise levels, not the other way around. We feel that the entire industry has moved to handing us poop on a plate and calling it dinner. Since NZXT has taken to this trend and is happy to continue taking your money, they can now be lumped in here as well. Fancy lighting isn't going to cut it for us.
|Overall TweakTown Rating||78%|
The Bottom Line: We will give NZXT credit for offering another way to move the pump off the head unit in an AIO, and doing it cleanly. However, for what you pay, and the results we presented, there is little value to be had in the Kraken M22!
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The NZXT Kraken M22 120mm - All-In-One RGB CPU Liquid Cooler - CAM-Powered - Infinity Mirror Design - Reinforced Extended Tubing - Aer P120mm PWM Radiator Fan (Included) retails for $79.99 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The NZXT Kraken M22 120mm - All-In-One RGB CPU Liquid Cooler - CAM-Powered - Infinity Mirror Design - Reinforced Extended Tubing - Aer P120mm PWM Radiator Fan (Included) retails for £79.37 at Amazon UK.