NZXT Kraken G10 GPU Water Cooler Review on an AMD Radeon R9 290X

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Water Cooling Your Video Card With Asetek Style Coolers

kraken-g10-water-cooler

When we heard that NZXT was coming out with a low-cost water cooling kit for video cards we were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to get one to try out. At first we thought NZXT was coming out with a product that included a water cooler, but the end result is basically a $29.99 mounting kit for a water cooler. The Kraken G10 from NZXT allows you to install ANY Asetek based All-In-One (AIO) water cooler to your video card. NZXT has kept the retention system the same on their pumps for seven years and will be using it again on their next-generation products as well.  This means that there are thousands of water cooling kits out there that can be used to cool your system. With so many closed loop coolers out there this is perfect for those looking to do something with their old single 120mm cooler and upgrade to a dual 120mm cooler or a newer model for their CPU.  The mounting kit that NZXT uses is also fairly generic and can be used on dozens if not hundreds of video cards made by both AMD and NVIDIA. So, if you wanted to water cool your video card and wanted to use a closed loop cooler then the NZXT Kraken G10 will likely work.

NZXT Kraken G10 Video Card Compatibility (As of 12/2013):

  • NVIDIA: GTX 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

NZXT Kraken G10 Asetek Water Cooling Compatibility (As of 12/2013):

  • NZXT: Kraken X60, Kraken X40
  • Corsair: H110, H90 , H55 , H50, H40
  • 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 3.0 Performer
  • Zalman: LQ-320, LQ-315, LQ-310

It should be noted that NZXT didn’t go all the way back for GPU compatibility, so there are certainly more video cards and possibly some additional water coolers that are compatible with the Kraken G10.

 

kraken-g10

NZXT hooked us up with the NZXT Kraken X40 and the NZXT Kraken G10 to try out the Kraken G10 video card GPU mounting kit. This 140mm liquid cooling kit runs $89.98 shipped, so by the time you add in the $29.99 GPU mounting kit, you are looking at a total cost of $119.97 for this setup.  You can often get a full coverage water block for that price, but you’ll have to put that full coverage block into a custom water cooling loop and most people aren’t doing that these days.  There are also a ton of Asetek kits on ebay, so if you wanted to water cool your video card this way you can certainly snag a lightly used water cooling kit and do it for well under $100.

 NZXT Kraken G10 Colors

NZXT will be offering the Kraken G10 GPU bracket in white (RL-KRG10-W1), black (RL-KRG10-B1) and red (RL-KRG10-R1).

nzxt-g10-retail-box

We were sent the NZXT Kraken G10 GPU bracket in white with part number RL-KRG10-W1. Inside the retail box you’ll find the steel GPU mounting bracket, GPU backplate, 92mm fan, instructions, zip ties to keep the cabling looking nice and a bag of mounting hardware. So, your $30 investment gets you a custom stamped steel plate as that is the ‘magic’ in this kit.

kraken-g10-hardware

Inside the hardware bundle you have four case fan screws, four spacing washers, four water block screws and the four water block nuts.

nzxg10-t-bracket

The NZXT Kraken G10 comes with a 3-pin 92mm cooling fan that has a black frame with a white 7-blade fan. The fan is attached to the metal plate with the four included fan screws and will help cool the components on the video card. The GDDR5 memory and VRM area on pretty much all video cards gets very hot, so this fan will help keep the temperatures down.

nzxt-bracket

You’ll want to be sure to install the fan the right direction, so make sure the airflow is going towards the cards printed circuit board (PCB).  Notice just above the NZXT logo along the inside edge of the bracket there are two standoffs for attaching zip ties. This is where you’ll want to zip tie the pumps water tubs and power cables to keep them out of the way once everything is installed.

sapphire-290x

We’ll be installing the NZXT Kraken G10 on the hottest video card that we have and that would be the AMD Radeon R9 290X. AMD designed this card to run at 94C and we’ve been dying to put this card under water to see what happens. Let’s move along to the next page and get the NZXT Kraken G10 installed!

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  • http://www.kennethballard.com Kenneth

    For those curious about using heatsinks under the G10, I found this video on YouTube that shows the kind of heatsinks you can use with this for the memory and VRMs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9dZhEC4as

  • http://www.downloadcrunch.com/ Sainik Biswas

    I have 2 ASUS Radeon 7970 GHz Edition Reference Cards with a Asus Crosshair Formula V Motherboard. Would it be possible to use 2 G10 Gpu mounting kits for cooling both the cards. I wanted to use this because it is cheaper than EKWB or XSPC and according to your reviews there’s is almost an astounding temperature drop. If you have any solutions kindly reply. Thanks for the review.

  • Benjamin Mou

    i dont care if you have to write another 3,000 words, GO INTO OVERCLOCK! :P

  • tm

    Can you list the vreg temps during this run? I’d like to know what temps were with no heatsink on them.

  • nono

    Do you think it would be possible to fit the 290 and the watercooling system in a bitfenix prodigy ?
    That would be an awesome news for some people but I have some doubts as I see the mobo position and the gpu seems so close to the side wall…

  • Lordz

    Is there room to fit heatsinks to the vrams and memory chips under the kracken?
    or does the bracket take up too much space

  • t.t

    Any chance that you guys can try to see if you can fit a GPU at the third pci-slot?
    Really want to run crossfire, but im stuck on m-atx so If this solution does take 3 slots, Im out of luck

  • Quake2

    Nice, what I was expecting abount power consumption. AND I think I does not need to go that low in temperature to get that 44watts back, it will do the same at around 65-70C. Hawaii is very efficient indeed.

  • Steve Smith

    Great review, just ordered a 290x and going to order this cooling setup too. Did you get the chance to overclock it at all?

  • john

    @Nathan: Are you sure these readings are correct?? 120 with peak 147 W powerdraw? Can you recheck those as I’ve seen some reviews placing the gtx780Ti @ 262 W – there is really too much of a difference can you somehow verify those power readings? If so … wow … just WOW! It would mean that the 290x can achieve with this kind of cooling ~40% better efficiency then NVIDIA? Even with stock cooling it would be ~30% more power efficient then the 780Ti. Considering this to sum it up the chip is 30% smaller yet 30% more efficient then the 780Ti only to be edged out by ~5% in raw performance? If this is true this is quite THE achievement of AMD in ages! Can you verify the numbers so we don’t all get too excited for nothing :D?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      John, Those are the readings with GPU-Z 0.7.4 and they are showing the readings from the software. I didn’t believe it myself and spoke to W1zzard over at TPU and AMD about it before publishing the results (why the article didn’t go up on Monday). AMD said that lowering the temperature should result in lower leakage and that appears to be the case. You can see the power consumed at the wall with my Kill-A-Watt meter on the next page.

      • john

        Well this is quite cool – got to say it… It would be interesting to see the same analysis done on 780Ti with the same type of cooling and the same type of power measurement and normalize performance to get absolute performance clock for clock(1ghz).

        Efficiency = Mean Performance / W.
        Chip quality = Efficiency / diesize.

        Also I’d like to see how far you can push this thing with this cooler. And a big question that’s been bugging me for a while now… can you OC the memory to 6ghz?

        This would be useful for investors, enthusiasts & cryptocoin miners alike…

        • 200380051

          Very interesting indeed. Exciting even. On the subject of 6ghz memory though, i beleive the reference cooler may fare better with regards to cooling. With the NZXT solution, they are barely, if not cooled at all. Some of the chips are actually pretty far away from the fan, on the other side of the GPU and pump assembly, so even adding small sinks is not going to be much help.Here’s a small benchmark of an overclocked and watercooled 290X http://www.reddit.com/r/gamingpc/comments/1pi3wz/watercooled_my_290x/.

  • Gurg

    Anyone questioning the initial total cost outlay for the G10 bracket and separate closed loop cooler needs to realize that this solution should also work on future card purchases as well as eliminating the hassle of RMA or warranties if your fan on a card goes bad. I’ve got a used Kuhler 620 I can use for this bracket.

  • Strider

    Thank you so much for the review. You really can’t go wrong with this bracket, even when adding in the cost of having to buy a supported cooler, it’s still vastly less expensive than going full-on water cooled. The performance is also downright outstanding.

    I was actually shocked to see it kept the other components so cool as well under load. If you’re really worried about the VRAM temps, perhaps there is enough room under the bracket to add some short copper ramsinks to the VRAM modules for additional dissipation?

    I already had my mind set on trying this Kraken G10 out on a 290X, however this review makes the idea even more appealing. Thanks for taking the time to do a proper review. Now perhaps you can see how much it helps when it comes to overclocking the card? =P

    • jpg207

      I’ve seen a video on this set up and the guy managed to put some small heatsinks on the VRAM no problem and it cut the VRAM temps buy 20/30 decrees.

      • Caly Payne

        on my sapphire 7970 dual-x oc w/ boost the vram isn’t an issue as sapphire put a set of screw through vram heatsinks seperate from the gpu heat sink which for non-customized air cooling w/ the sapphire fans and heatsink i dislike but with a g10 would actually be beneficial

  • Paul Margettas

    Only this is hat this is a mess of wires.

  • Tequila_Mckngbrd

    Pretty sweet, I’ve been doing this on my own, but this setup looks a lot better. The only thing I wouldn’t do is increase the voltage on the graphic card, as the fan itself isn’t enough to cool the VRM’s on the higher end graphics cards.

    • Wilbur

      Totally agree. My suggestion would be to manufacture a full-cover block on which the kraken can be mounted. The block could be cheap and easy to make, as there would be no need for internal channels, o-rings, covers and such. Just a thin solid block. This would make it very easy to change a GPU too, without opening your loop.