NZXT Kraken X40 & X60 CPU Water Cooler Reviews

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Installing The x40 and x60 Kraken CPU Coolers

Both of these Kraken liquid CPU coolers will be installed on an Intel Core-i7 4770k with a GIGABYTE Z87X-UD4H motherboard, and I will show you how easy it is to install.  I am also going to be using a Fractal Design Define XL R2 case, which should work perfectly for both of these kits.

We start off by laying our system on its side.  To prep your system for install, make sure that your CPU is clean of any old thermal paste and other debris.  Make sure you use rubbing alcohol with the highest purity that you can find, and also ensure that you’re using a lint-free cloth.

The very first thing you need to do, is prep the backplate by putting the metal inserts into place.  These again will have the appropriate numbers on them for what socket you’re using, so you know where you have to put the insert.  You can also prep this by putting a double sided pad on, but for me, I would rather not do that.

NZXT Kraken Mounting Bracket

Should you be using a socket 2011 board, you will not need to worry about the backplate as there are a special set of screws to mount directly into the board’s CPU socket studs.

Here’s a snapshot of the bracket from the interior, which shows the studs poking through the mounting holes.

NZXT Kraken Mounting Bracket Studs

The mounting screws are held in place with two plastic inserts that go on the retention ring.  This particular prep work is tedious, but it isn’t difficult by any means.  Follow the directions for your CPU socket type.

NZXT Kraken Mounting Screw Clips

Before doing any mounting, I would highly recommend putting the retention ring and clip in place, along with the mounting screws.  This will save you some of the annoyance that you might get when trying to do this inside your system with the radiator mounted.  Here’s what it looks like when it’s finished.

NZXT Kraken Retention Ring Installed

Here is one more shot:

NZXT Kraken Retention Ring Installed

Following the NZXT instructions that were included with both Kraken coolers for radiator mounting, the picture for mounting these coolers in your case is a pull configuration.  This entails you to set the fans in place and then mount the radiator under them.  Basically what you can do here is, put a fan where you will be mounting your cooler and stick a screw through the top two holes.  This will hold the fan(s) in place while you grab the radiator to mount.  Finding the screw holes is plenty easy, since the radiator and fans are the same size.  Essentially it’s a bit more of a hassle getting the pull fans installed than it would be to start off with a push only setup.

NZXT Kraken Fans Set

Once that’s installed, you can now screw the block into place.  This is made super easy by the thumb screws and I found that I did not need to use any tools to tighten this more.  The screws will stop in place with your fingers alone.  If you have a cramped board, the screws do have a Phillips screw head.

NZXT Kraken Mounting Screw

Hooking up to the connections is made plenty easy.  NZXT included a nice and long USB cable that I was able to route the wire behind my motherboard tray and come out by a USB header.  With this USB cable in place, we are now interfaced with the Kraken Control software.

The 3-pin power cable can be hooked up to any 4-pin fan header, while the fans themselves hook up to the respective attached cable.  For additional power when you hook up four fans, the Kraken x60 has a SATA power connector.  Here is the x60 all hooked up!

NZXT Kraken x60 Installed

Finally, firing up my system, we can see the various colors that the NZXT logo can light up to.  You can simply change the color on-the-fly with the Kraken Control software, or it can change colors if the temperature gets too high.  This is very cool eye candy!  Below are a few that you can choose from in the full pallet of colors.

NZXT Kraken Pump LED Colors

That wraps up the installation of the Kraken Series coolers, so let’s take a quick look at the Kraken Control software and see how it works with the Haswell platform.


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  • Mike

    Just a word of warning, Please please please don’t believe what is written in the compatibility guide online. They aren’t tested in any of the cases bar their own like they have you believe, and the product is not compatible with the majority for rear placement (only top placement where larger Rads should be going).

    NZXT Tech Support Manager (Eric Henry) recommend you cut your case up to accommodate the non compatible (but apparently compatible) product.

    As they refuse to accept any responsibility, I am now taking it upon myself to warn others before they make a similar mistake. Although its a nice product, the support is terrible, and it is only really compatible with their own cases for the majority.

  • Guest

    Hi, i run a crossfire with the x40 on each GPU. i noticed i can only control one of the pumps/fans. Any idea why?

    Thank You

    • Paul Margettas

      The software is probably only designed to control one pump at a time.

  • David

    Hi, I noticed that you installed your x60 backwards (hoses on the right, resulting in the nzxt logo being upside down) and left in the rear 140mm fan. Most builds I’ve seen pictures of floating around remove the 140mm fan from the rear and install the x60 (hoses on the left) resulting in the logo being right side up. 2 questions 1) do you recommend installing it the way you installed yours (leaving in the rear 140 mm fan) and 2) is there a reason you installed it upside down in terms of the logo?

    • BuzzFuzz

      David, it doesn’t matter in which way.. they turned that way coz of pipe maybe looks better this way. cheers