NZXT Kraken G10 Graphics Adapter

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NZXT Kraken G10 GPU Adapter
Product
NZXT Kraken G10
GPU Adapter
Manufacturer
NZXT
Street Price
US$27~35

Our recent NZXT Kraken X31, X41 and X61 AIO CPU water cooler reviews triggered discussion about an adapter that allows them to be used with hot video cards. (See the forum threads here and here.) Such devices have been adopted by inveterate DIY gaming enthusiasts, who have been machining brackets that allow the pump/heatblock of all-in-one CPU water coolers to be attached to GPUs, mostly for better overclocking and cooling.

This section at Overclock.net is dedicated to DIY entrepreneurs selling universal as well as custom fitted GPU adapters for AIO CPU coolers. There is interest among other commercial heatsink makers, as well. Silverstone showed a version at Computex in June this year, but were not sure if they would go ahead with it. Arctic, a long established aftermarket cooler brand, has been offering a complete AIO water cooler specifically for GPUs since 2012; the name "Accelero Hybrid" refers to the existence of a fan on the card itself, similar to the G10.

The question among the SPCR audiences is not whether such adaptations improve GPU overclocking or cooling, but whether the additional headroom of a water cooling system can be harnessed to lower noise. Reducing the noise of powerful gaming PCs is an oft-recurring topic in the SPCR forums, so the existence of the G10 CPU adapter bracket, and our positive review findings about the cooling prowess of the Kraken X41 and X61 — really the first AIO coolers to match or surpass the best air-only heatsinks by our requirements — were reasons for some excitement.

The NZXT Kraken G10 has been available since late last year, but we became aware of it only after our recent Kraken X31, X41 and X61 cooler reviews. The G10 is said to be a copy of a bracket created and sold (for a while) by an Overclock.net member called DWood. Anantech, Legit Reviews and Puget Systems were among those who posted reviews of the G10 focusing mostly on cooling performance, but none tackled the question of how it works for low noise computing. Naturally, SPCR had to ask that question, and NZXT provided a sample for us to try.


The box shows how the G10 looks mounted on a graphics card.


G10 box contents.

One obvious benefit of this bracket is the added fan, which provides cooling airflow for VGA card components other than the GPU, such as the VRM and memory chips, all of which tend to get pretty hot without some kind of cooling.

NZXT Kraken G10: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Model Number RL-KRG10-W1 (White)
RL-KRG10-B1 (Black)
RL-KRG10-R1 (Red)
RL-KRG10-U1 (Blue)
Compatibility Nvidia : GTX 980, 970, 780 Ti, 780, 770, 760, Titan, 680, 670, 660Ti, 660, 580, 570, 560Ti, 560, 560SE
AMD : R9 290X*, 290*, 280X**, 280**, 270X, 270 HD7970**, 7950**, 7870, 7850, 6970, 6950, 6870, 6850, 6790, 6770, 5870, 5850, 5830
The compatibility list is based on AMD Radeon and NVIDIA's reference board layout, screw spacing and die height only. Please check the height restriction before purchase.
* Some variation in die thickness and height may cause issues with screws being too short to install on some AMD 290-based cards.
* Do NOT force the G10 to fit if your card is too thick, contact support for a revised screw set.
** Some variations in AMD die height may require the use of a shim.
Compatibility NZXT : Kraken X61, Kraken X41, Kraken X31, Kraken X60, Kraken X40
Corsair : H105, H110, H90, H75, H55 , H50 (CW-9060006-WW only)
Antec : KUHLER H2O 920V4, KUHLER H2O 620V4, KUHLER H2O 920, KUHLER H2O 620
Thermaltake : Water 3.0 Extreme, Water 3.0 Pro, Water 3.0 Performer, Water 2.0 Extreme, Water 2.0 Pro, Water 2.0 Performer
Zalman : LQ-320, LQ-315, LQ-310
Warranty 2 Years
Fan
Dimensions 92 (W) x 92 (H) x 25 (D) mm
Speed 1500 RPM ± 10%
Bearing Sleeve
Voltage/Current 12V DC / 0.18A
Connector 3-Pin

Examine the specifications, and you discover that the G10 is meant to be a universal device. Not only is it meant to fit a wide variety of graphics cards, it is compatible with AIO coolers from Corsair, Antec, Thermaltake, Zalman and NZXT, of course. The commonality of all of these AIO water coolers is that they are made by Asetek, and they all use the same bayonet-mount, short barrel-style pump/heatblock.

The video card compatibility list also includes three caveats at the end. They're easy to miss:

* Some variation in die thickness and height may cause issues with screws being too short to install on some AMD 290-based cards.
* Do NOT force the G10 to fit if your card is too thick, contact support for a revised screw set.
** Some variations in AMD die height may require the use of a shim.

So... These are cautionary statements. The G10 is clearly a product trying to be a unversal matchmaker for two classes of gear: Video cards and AIO water coolers not designed expressly to fit video cards. The user may have to be creative to make things work just right. Given those cautions, I would hesitate to recommend the G10 to anyone not at least somewhat experienced with physically handling PC hardware.



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