NZXT Kraken X31 & X41 Liquid CPU Coolers

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NZXT Kraken X31 & X41 Liquid CPU Coolers

August 11, 2014 by Lawrence Lee

NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken X41 Liquid CPU Cooler
Street Price
US$75 US$100

While all-in-one liquid CPU coolers are marketed as high-end solutions to enthusiasts, our previous encounters with them have left us wanting. A closed loop system with fluid continually being cycled between a small reservoir sitting atop the processor and a large heat exchanger mounted to an exhaust fan position is a cool idea, but they've always failed to impress on our heatsink test platform. Usually they deliver lackluster cooling performance at higher noise levels than regular heatsinks due to the presence of the pump, and on top of that, they carry a price premium. There also hasn't been much innovation as their basic design has hardly changed since their inception. Pluck a random all-in-one liquid CPU cooler off a manufacturer's catalog and hide the labels, and you'd be hard pressed to identify it correctly. Yet, all-in-one water coolers appear to have become ubiquitous; there's hardly a "serious" case without mounts and accommodations for water cooling radiators any more. The attraction for the overclocker may be the higher maximum clocks that can be achieved relatively simply, without much attention to overall case cooling or high noise levels.

The NZXT Kraken X31 & X41 boxes.

We'd be really excited if NZXT broke the mold with the Kraken X31 and X41, but as you can see from the illustrations on the packaging, they look more or less the same as others that have preceded it. It has the familiar round base and dense radiator design found in countless other models, including the first such cooler we reviewed four years ago, the Corsair Hydro H50. The two Krakens are identical except for the size of the radiator and fan. The X31 is the smaller of the two, with its radiator fitting snugly into 120 mm fan mount, while the X41 is thicker and requires a 140 mm placement. NZXT's marketing for the two coolers touts their various advantages: A variable speed pump, extra long tubing for better compatibility with big cases, desktop software for monitoring/controlling fan speeds and an upcoming mobile app counterpart for off-site management, and a six year warranty. The X41 also has a bonus feature in that the top of the waterblock lights up in a variety of colors.

X31 packaging.

X31 package contents.

The coolers are packed the same way with the same accessories. The cooler is housed, coiled up like a snake, in a paper carton, with the radiator and fan protected further by cardboard cutouts. The base has a layer of thick thermal compound pre-applied and a protective plastic shell. Also included is a succinct assembly guide with diagrams but devoid of words, a single fan (120 mm for the X31, 140 mm for the X41), an Intel backplate (the stock backplate is used for AMD installs), an AMD mounting frame (the Intel mounting frame is installed out-of-the-box), and the various screws, bolts, standoffs, and nuts used to put it all together.

NZXT Kraken X31/X41: Specifications
(from the product web pages located here and here)
Model Number RL-KRX31-01 RL-KRX41-01
Compatibility Intel LGA 2011-3, 1366, 1156, 1155, 1150 CPUs
AMD FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2 CPUs
Material Copper, Aluminum, Rubber, Plastic
Radiator Dimensions 155 x 120 x 30mm 140 x 172.5 x 36mm
Tube Length 400mm
Motor Speed 2400-3600 ± 150 RPM
Motor Current 325mA
Motor Voltage 12V DC
Motor Connector 3-Pin
Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 25mm 140 x 140 x 25mm
Fan Speed 800-2000 RPM ± 10%
Fan Air Flow 81.32 CFM (max.) 42.4-106.1 CFM
Fan Air Pressure 0.44 - 2.76 mmH20 0.36-1.97mmH2O
Fan Noise Level 18-34 dBA 20-37 dBA
Fan Bearing Hydro Dynamic Bearing Nano Bearing
Fan Voltage 12V DC
Fan Connector 4-Pin PWM
Control Method Kraken+ Software Module
Warranty 6 Years

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