First of all, we want to say a few words about the pump. It turned out to be extremely quiet against the background noise of our quiet testbed. Measured according to our method, its noise level was 34.2 dBA. It’s comparable to the noise of a high-quality 120mm fan at a speed of 900-950 RPM. The operation of the pump is not accompanied by unwanted sounds from the electric motor or anything. The idyllic picture is only somewhat disturbed by air bubbles occasionally going through the pipes and radiator. So, the pump is excellent in this respect. Let’s check out the fan, which is the main source of noise in the Kraken X40 system.
We measured the noise level of each fan throughout its entire speed range according to the method explained in the previous section. Here are the results:
The three cooling systems don’t differ much in terms of noise at low fan speeds (up to 1050 RPM) except for the Phanteks PH-TC14PE in its default configuration with two fans. The NZXT Kraken X40 remains comfortable acoustically until a speed of about 930 RPM. Its fan is quiet at 800-820 RPM, which is the minimum speed we tested it at. However, at speeds above 1050 RPM the large 140mm fan from NZXT is noisier than the two Corsair fans of the H100i cooler. The difference is quite large at the same speed, although the Corsair cooler is louder at the maximum speed of the fans. We can also note that the NZXT is somewhat more agreeable than the Corsair when the fan speed is low.
The product we’ve tested today doesn’t push the performance bar of compact liquid cooling systems to a whole new level, yet the Kraken X40 indeed improves the general standing of such solutions in comparison with air CPU coolers. In its standard configuration the Kraken X40 is as good as the best air cooler and even beats it in the high-speed mode. Compact liquid cooling systems couldn’t even dream of such performance before.
Moreover, when equipped with two 140mm fans the Kraken X40 is competitive against the more expensive Corsair H100i Extreme Performance, let alone the air cooler. So, products of this type seem to be evolving in the right direction in terms of performance.
The NZXT Kraken X40 is only compatible with computer cases that have a place for a 140mm fan. Although the compatibility list already includes 50 models and keeps on expanding, such cases are less common than regular ones with 120mm fans. On the other hand, the Kraken X40 supports as many platforms as possible, including every CPU from both Intel and AMD. The installation procedure is extremely simple, the fastening mechanism is reliable, and the long pipes allow to place the radiator with fan anywhere in the computer case. Its price of $99 is higher than the price of mainstream liquid cooling systems with 120mm fans but not high compared to premium solutions or the Corsair H100i.
P.S.: The NZXT Kraken X40 would be just perfect if it had a copper radiator with two 140mm fans by default (and at its current price). Alas, this is hardly possible.