NZXT Kraken G10 Graphics Adapter

Cooling | Graphics Cards
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Testing the G10 is considerably more complex than testing other GPU heatsinks.

  • First of all, it's not a heatsink, but a device which enables any number of heatsinks to be used on video cards; 27 is the number of officially compatible AIO water coolers.
  • Secondly, when a water cooling system is tested, for acoustics, both the pump and the fan(s) on the radiator come into play.

Despite the fact that this review is of the Kraken G10, the end results are intrinsically dependent the actual AIO water cooler that is employed, in this case, the NZXT Kraken X41. It should be obvious, but to be perfectly clear, if you use a different AIO CPU water cooler, you will get different results.

Test Platform

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Test Procedure

Our test procedure is an in-system test, designed to determine whether the cooler is adequate for use in a low-noise system. By adequately cooled, we mean cooled well enough that no misbehavior related to thermal overload is exhibited. Thermal misbehavior in a graphics card can show up in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sudden system shutdown, reboot without warning, or loss of display signal
  • Jaggies and other visual artifacts on the screen.
  • Motion slowing and/or screen freezing.

Any of these misbehaviors are annoying at best and dangerous at worst — dangerous to the health and lifespan of the graphics card, and sometimes to the system OS.

Our main test consists of FurMark stability test running in conjunction with Prime95 to stress both the graphics card and processor simultaneously. This combination produces more CPU/GPU stress than a typical gaming session. As our test system has very limited airflow, our results are not indicative of a real-world situation, but rather a worse-case scenario. If the heatsink in question can cool the card and its components adequately in this environment it means there will be some degree of thermal headroom when deployed in a more conventional situation.

The cooler's fan(s) (if applicable) are connected to a custom external fan controller and tested at various speeds to represent a good cross-section of its airflow and noise performance. If the heatsink is passively cooled, we use different predefined system fan speeds to determine the effect of system airflow on cooling performance.

System Acoustics Baseline

There are three fans in our VGA test platform. Two Antec TrueQuiet 120 fans are for case airflow, one for intake and the other for exhaust. The Kingwin Lazer Platinum 1000W power supply is set to ECO mode, and its fan does not spin up till ~500W load is reached. The PSU fan has never spun up in any video card testing we have done so far. With the case fans at their LOW setting, the residual noise level is so low as to be silent in any normal environment.

GPU Test System Acoustics
System Fan Speed
1130 RPM
26 dBA
820 RPM
18 dBA
580 RPM
12~13 dBA
Note: mic is positioned at a distance of one meter from the left panel at a 45 degree angle.

Another view of the final test setup. The fan on the radiator actually became the second fan in a push-pull dual fan setup for the CPU cooler.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 22°C.

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