NZXT Kraken G10 Graphics Adapter

Cooling | Graphics Cards
Viewing page 5 of 6 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next

TEST RESULTS

The presence of a pump forces changes in our testing methodology. Tests were conducted by manually varying speeds of both the pump and the fans. Some levels were not tested if the fan was obviously going to drown out the pump (or vice versa) by a big margin. Total AC power drawn by the system was ~280W.

Test Results: NZXT Kraken G10/X41 on ASUS GTX 680
Maximum Simultaneous GPU & CPU Load
Pump
(RPM)
X41 Fan
G10 Fan
CPU Fan
Case Fans
GPU
°C
CPU
°C
PCH
°C
2900
Max
Max
Max
High
47
36
39
35 dBA
2500
920rpm
500rpm
560rpm
Low
62
36
45
18 dBA
2200
740rpm
500rpm
560rpm
Low
67
39
46
17 dBA
Ambient: 10~11 dBA, 22°C

These are the best full load temperature results ever obtained in our video test system. To give you some point of reference, here's how the ASUS GTX680 card compares with its stock cooler/fans.

NZXT Kraken G10/X41 vs Stock Cooler/Fans on ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II OC
Maximum Simultaneous GPU & CPU Load
Cooler
fan speed
GPU
°C
CPU
°C
PCH
°C
G10/X41 max
47
36
39
35 dBA
G10/X41 low
62
36
45
18 dBA
G10/X41 lowest
67
39
46
17 dBA
Stock*
max
73
59
55
28 dBA
Stock*
low
83
60
59
17~18 dBA
Ambient: 10~11 dBA, 22°C
*
Ambient temp during Stock GTX 680 testing was 24°C, so stock cooler temps were adjusted down 2°C.

For SPCR audiences, the relevant comparison is at 17~18 dBA system SPL. Depending on whether you use the 17 or 18 dBA level of the G10/X41 combo, the GPU temperature lead is either 21°C or 16°C. The CPU temp difference favors the G10/X41 by a similar margin, and the PCH is also cooler by 13~14°C.

At maximum fan/pump speeds, the Kraken G10/X41 combo is considerably louder (+7 dBA) but the win margins are even bigger: 27°C for GPU, 23°C for CPU and 16°C for PCH.

It is an utter demolition by cooling standards. And this in a setup where the X41 radiator/fan was partially impeded.

Aside from the GPU temperature difference, the impact of the G10/X41 on the temperatures of the CPU and the PCH — which are not even on the VGA card — are striking. With a standard VGA cooler, the heat of the GPU increases the temperature of any nearby components, which include the CPU and PCH. Even with its fans blowing some of the heat out the slots in the back, the stock cooler of the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II OC cannot prevent the GPU from heating up the interior of the case. With the G10/X41 setup, the GPU heat is pumped away to the radiator, positioned above the motherboard at the outer periphery of the case, and blown out and away by the radiator fan. Hence, much of the video card's estimated 200W heat is dissipated outside the case. Also, with the CPU tower cooler rotated, the fan on the X41 radiator became part of a dual-fan, push-pull setup, further helping to lower CPU temperature.


The stock cooler of the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II OC does vent out the back but with nowhere near the efficiency of the G10/X41.

How does the G10/X41 compare against the best air-only aftermarket GPU coolers like the monstrous 3-fan Acceleros from Arctic Cooling? Unfortunately this question can't be fully answered at this point. We did review the Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme Plus some years ago, but the test was conducted on the higher power HIS Radeon HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo graphics card, the one found to be dead earlier in the course of this review. The Accelero Xtreme Plus was examined in an earlier test case, which was somewhat less open than the Define R3 used here. Examining the results from that test, it would probably be a pretty close contest. My guess is that the AC Accelero (today's version) would nose out the G10/X41 for noise while the latter would provide slightly better cooling all around. The main point of contention in the acoustics is the noise of the pump.

ACOUSTICS ANALYSIS

The single most contentious aspect of water cooling for SPCR enthusiasts is the buzzy, chattery quality of the water pumps. In our experience with AIO water cooler review samples over several years at SPCR, pumps are always more tonal and objectionable than good quality 120~140mm axial DC fans. With most air coolers, if you don't like the noise it makes, you can change the fan. With a water pump, especially in these AIO closed loop coolers, all you can do is slow it down. As with a fan, slowing down the pump reduces its cooling ability, but as long as the water keeps flowing, some cooling is achieved. However, at least subjectively, the pump noise doesn't seem to change as much as a fan when its speed is changed. The basic chattery quality always seems to remain.

Shown below is the acoustic spectrum of the X41, measured out in the open in our review of AIO cooler. The overall SP was low but not without some tonal elements that were audible, and perhaps objectionable for some people, at close distance.


The spikes are audible tonal elements.

In our VGA test setup, with the top vents of the case completely open for the radiator, there was no appreciable or measurable blocking of the most audible noise source, the chatter of the pump. The measured SPL was quite low, at 17 [email protected]


The cyclical nature of the pump clicking cannot be capture in a 2-dimensional plot; better to listen to the MP3 audio recording.

It's best to listen to the MP3 recording to get an idea of what the pump sounds like when all the fans in the system are at nearly inaudible levels.

Our audio recordings are made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

This recording is intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ears. The recording starts with a 7 second segment of room ambient (ie, silence), then the product with settings at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

  • NZXT Kraken G10/X41 on ASUS GTX 680 in VGA Test System

    - The first 7 seconds is the ambient of the chamber, ~10 dBA
    - The second 10 seconds is the sound of 2 case fans at min speed, CPU fan at 500rpm, G10 fan at 700rpm, X41 fan at 500rpm, and the X41 pump at ~2200rpm, ~17 [email protected]
    - The last 10 seconds is the sound with the pump turned off, and the fans ramped up slightly in speed to the same 17 [email protected] SPL level.

It is easy to hear the pump, but keep in mind that you've probably got the volume level set higher than the noise would be in real life, and there is no other sound in the recording space. The chatter/clatter is plainly audible to me from a foot above the case. From a meter away, I can hear some noise, but the chatter recedes to a low level, and sounds something like a slow fan with rough sounding bearings. From 1.5m away, it's not intrusive at all. Under my desk, less than a meter away, the pump noise could be bothersome. It depends how absorbed I was in a game, which would be the main reason to have one of these devices on a video card.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next

Graphics Cards - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: