NZXT Kraken X61 28cm Liquid Cooler

Cooling
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TEST RESULTS

The presence of a pump forces us to adjust our testing methodology in order to achieve maximum cooling potential. Tests were conducted by varying voltages for both the pump and fan. Some levels were not tested if the fan was obviously going to drown out the pump (or vice versa) by a big margin.

Test Results: NZXT Kraken X61 (Dual Stock Fans)
Pump Voltage / Speed
Fan Voltage / Speed
Thermal Rise
12V / ~2900 RPM
(19 dBA)
12V / 1940 RPM
28°C
45 dBA
9V / 1450 RPM
29°C
36~37 dBA
7V / 1120 RPM
31°C
29 dBA
6V / 960 RPM
31°C
25 dBA
5V / 750 RPM
33°C
21 dBA
4V / 590 RPM
35°C
19 dBA
9V / ~2500 RPM
(16 dBA)
5V / 750 RPM
34°C
20 dBA
4V / 590 RPM
37°C
17 dBA
7V / ~2200 RPM
(14 dBA)
5V / 750 RPM
36°C
20 dBA
4V / 590 RPM
38°C
16~17 dBA
Dual Reference 140 mm Fan (Noctua NF-P14)
12V / ~2900 RPM
(19 dBA)
12V / 1250 RPM
33°C
34 dBA
9V / 990 RPM
34°C
28 dBA
7V / 770 RPM
36°C
22 dBA
6V / 660 RPM
37°C
20 dBA
9V / ~2500 RPM
(16 dBA)
7V / 770 RPM
36°C
21~22 dBA
6V / 660 RPM
37°C
18 dBA
7V / ~2200 RPM
(14 dBA)
7V / 770 RPM
36°C
20~21 dBA
6V / 660 RPM
38°C
17~18 dBA
Best 20 dBA and lower result for each sample/fan configuration in bold.
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from the center of the heatsink.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The Kraken X61 was a tremendous performer with thermal rise results in the low to mid 30's. It becomes just the second CPU cooler to break the 30°C rise mark (the first being its little brother, the X41) though very high fan speed (and noise) was required to accomplish this feat. Still, its cooling proficiency didn't drop much as fan speeds were decreased. Lowering the pump speed to ~2500 RPM had a small effect on temperatures but it was necessary in order to achieve a noise level below 19 [email protected] A similar outcome was observed at ~2200 RPM.

Our reference Noctua fans fared moderately worse than the stock fans, but they held up better when the pump was slowed.

HEATSINK COMPARISON TABLES

°C Rise Comparison: CPU Coolers with Dual Fans
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
NZXT Kraken X61
 
33
34
35
 
37
           
Prolimatech Genesis*
(reference fans)
35
   
36
   
37
   
39
   
Thermalright Silver Arrow
   
35
       
38
40
 
Noctua NH-C14
 
36
   
37
   
39
 
41
 
NZXT Kraken X61
(reference fans)
 
36
 
38
           
Thermalright HR-22*
(reference fans)
37
   
38
 
39
       
Noctua NH-D15
 
38
   
39
   
40
   
Thermalright HR-02 Macho*
(reference fans)
36
     
37
   
40
       
Noctua NH-U14S*
(reference fans)
       
39
     
40
     
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
 
38
   
39
   
41
     
Scythe Mugen 4*
(reference fans)
39
     
40
     
42
   
NZXT Havik 140
   
39
   
41
         
Scythe Ashura*
(reference fans)
   
40
   
41
     
43
   
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
 
41
       
44
         
Cooler Master Seidon 240M
     
40
 
43
   
53
     
SilverStone Tundra TD03
    40                  
SilverStone Heligon HE02*
(reference fans)
     
44
     
46
       
Enermax Liqtech 120X
 
44
 
45
               
Zalman CNPS9900DF
   
48
   
50
   
53
     
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Liquid coolers in blue.
*Models lacking dual stock fans tested with dual reference Noctua NF-P14 fans.

Compared to previous coolers we've tested with dual fans, the X61 takes the top spot, just squeaking by the Prolimatech Genesis for the title. When paired with our reference fans, it drops a few rungs but it's still within a degree or decibel of the very best. [Editor's Note: Insignificant in actual use and likely within the test margin of error.] Against other liquid coolers, well there's simply no competition. The Seidon 240M, Tundra TD03, and Liqtech 120X are't even in the same league.

°C Rise Comparison: CPU Coolers with Single/Dual Stock Fan(s)
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
NZXT Kraken X61
 
33
34
35
 
37
           
Prolimatech Genesis*
(reference fans)
35
   
36
   
37
   
39
   
Thermalright Silver Arrow
   
35
       
38
40
 
Noctua NH-C14
 
36
   
37
   
39
 
41
 
Scythe Kotetsu
35
         
38
 
41
 
42
 
NZXT Kraken X61
(reference fans)
 
36
 
38
           
Thermalright HR-22*
(reference fans)
37
   
38
 
39
       
Noctua NH-D15
 
38
   
39
   
40
   
Thermalright Archon SB-E
   
39
         
40
   
43
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
 
38
   
39
   
41
     
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
38
   
39
     
40
41
 
43
 
Scythe Mugen 4
           
40
   
42
 
45
Noctua NH-U14S
     
38
 
40
   
43
   
NZXT Kraken X41
   
38
                 
NZXT Havik 140
   
39
   
41
         
be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
     
40
   
41
 
42
   
Scythe Yasya
       
40
       
43
   
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
         
41
 
43
 
46
 
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
   
40
       
42
 
47
 
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
 
40
     
41
   
44
 
49
Scythe Ashura
     
42
     
44
     
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
       
41
       
44
54
 
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
 
41
       
44
         
Silverstone Argon AR03
41
     
43
         
48
Scythe Ninja 3
       
44
       
46
   
SilverStone Argon AR01
42
     
44
         
50
Titan Fenrir
 
43
   
45
 
47
     
Cooler Master Seidon 240M
     
40
 
43
   
53
     
SilverStone Tundra TD03
   
40
                 
SilverStone Heligon HE02*
(reference fans)
     
44
     
46
       
Antec Kühler H20 620
42
   
44
     
47
     
LEPA LV12
         
45
48
52
 
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
   
45
     
47
 
49
     
NZXT Kraken X31
 
43
 
44
 
47
         
Enermax Liqtech 120X
 
44
 
45
               
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
     
48
 
49
   
50
     
be quiet! Dark Rock 2
     
48
     
52
 
55
61
 
Zalman CNPS9900DF
   
48
   
50
   
53
     
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
49
       
51
     
56
   
Core i7-980X Stock Cooler
             
53
   
62
 
Enermax ETS-T40
   
49
         
55
 
64
Core i7-920 Stock Cooler
64
FAIL
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Single/Dual fan air-cooled heatsinks in light/dark green.
Single/dual fan liquid coolers in light/dark blue.
*Fanless models tested with dual reference Noctua NF-P14 fans.

Naturally, the X61 retains its position when we include single fan heatsinks but many of the top coolers start to look inefficient. Not far behind the leader is the much smaller and cheaper Scythe Kotetsu.



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