NZXT Kraken X72 review: tall in stature and high in price, but falls short on performance | PCGamesN

NZXT Kraken X72 review: tall in stature and high in price, but falls short on performance

NZXT Kraken X72

NZXT have released their first 360mm all-in-one liquid cooler to date, jumping on the growing trend of enormous chip chillers. Building on their successful Kraken X series, the X72 aims at the high-end enthusiast overclockers, and those with an abundance of space in their rig.

Here’s the full breakdown of the best liquid coolers we’ve tested to date.

With three Aer P 120mm fans side-by-side, only lumbering full-tower designs, and spacious mid-towers, will be able to take advantage of this elongated 394mm-long radiator design. But, if you are all good on space, then the usual suspects of Intel and AMD sockets - including Threadripper’s TR4 - are supported by the Kraken X72.

With massive cooling potential, it seems somewhat of a shame that the cold plate affixed to that triple rad isn’t Threadripper-optimised and won’t offer full coverage across both of the - potentially eight-core - CCXs within these behemoth processors. With 12nm Threadripper incoming later this year, the potential is there for manufacturers to develop really chunky coolers for use with these similarly chunky chips.

The X72 uses the same pump design as we saw on the other Kraken X series coolers, so it comes at no surprise that this cooler makes for a strong statement. It’s big, bright, and it is oddly tasteful for an RGB-laden style. It is design-centric NZXT, after all.

NZXT Kraken X72

When it comes to performance, the X72 manages some pretty admirable scores compared to the 280mm X62 - but they aren’t game-changing. Unfortunately, we don’t have the 360mm Corsair H150i Pro for comparison, but we got the 280mm Corsair H115i Pro all-in-one cooler to drop into the mix.

During a six-thread torture test from CPU-destroyer Prime95 - with the same BIOS fan curve set for all - the Kraken X72 manages to stick around 28°C idle, and 77°C under load. The Kraken X62 manages 29°C at idle, and 79°C under load; while Corsair’s H115i Pro hits 30°C at idle, and 75°C under load. In Civilisation VI’s AI benchmark, the 360mm Kraken X72 manages to keep temps below a max of 61°C, while the 280mm Kraken X62 sits a little higher at 65°C, and the H115i Pro runs at 66°C.

Chunky coolers like these are a little overkill for a non-overclocked system, however, so it would be remiss of us not to push these all-in-one loops a little further. A few subtle tweaks and our i7 8700K settles nicely at 5GHz and 1.35V. That high voltage causes far more heat to exude from our chip, and under gaming load in Civilisation VI’s AI benchmark, temps reached a peak of 80°C for the Kraken X72, 81°C for the X62, and 85°C for the H115i Pro.

It’s not just real estate you pay for those few extra degrees, either. At $200 / £190 MSRP, the Kraken X72 is $40 more than the Kraken X62 at $160 / £150, and that’s a lot of money to drop on a chip chiller. Considering you can now get the Kraken X62 for ~£130 in the UK, that price difference becomes even more disparaging.

And that means you need to have very specific needs to justify opting for the Kraken X72. It’s an adept cooler, and unsurprisingly, it stays extra quiet thanks to its deluge of fans - although they aren’t quite maglev-silent under really heavy load. Regardless, it’s hard to recommend the X72 - unless you’re constrained by a specifically restrictive chassis, or some exceptionally demanding workloads. NZXT’s Kraken X62 is $40 cheaper, almost as proficient as its bigger sibling, and it looks just as stunning.

While more capable than some smaller 280mm coolers available, performance of the NZXT Kraken X72 just falls short of justifying its price tag and necessary space requirements.

PCGamesN verdict: 6/10

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nu1mlock avatarJacob Ridley avatarVong avatarApeman-san avatarStellarMerger avatar
nu1mlock Avatar
2 Months ago

It's just my opinion, but I don't think that price should be a factor in a review. 6/10 sure sounds bad and by the number alone, one would think that it doesn't cool especially good, but in fact it's better than the X62 (although only a tiny bit).

In my opinion, a review of hardware should focus on its features and how good it is, while it's up to the consumer to decide if they want to pay the higher price for a small gain. The price should obviously be in the article (as it is) and it should be mentioned that the reviewer don't think the higher price is worth it, but the fact is that this is a superior product and shouldn't get a lower score because of its price.

But that's just me.

Jacob Ridley Avatar
2 Months ago

I believe pricing is one of the more important aspects of reviewing products such as this. Price vs. performance makes all the difference between competing products and is often the main consideration among consumers. The fact you can get near-enough the same performance, or even greater, for a vastly reduced price is key.

Having said that, regardless of price, the X72 is exceptionally large and it's, more or less, wasted space considering the relative performance of smaller units. It's not quieter than the Corsair H115i Pro for its bulky size, either.

Overall, it's an okay unit which won't disappoint. But for that price, size, and performance I couldn't realistically give it a better score compared to the other units we've reviewed.

Vong Avatar
2 Months ago

I think it's important. Price/performance ratio, it's why people still recommend high end air coolers over any aio because they're cheaper and perform almost the same as high end aio's. This 360 performs barely any better than the 280.

Apeman-san Avatar
2 Months ago

Guessing someone doesn't know numbers.

6/10 is average, 7/10 is good/positive. It's like movie ratings which taste is subjective, so score doesn't always mean everything either.

StellarMerger Avatar
1 Month ago

I have owned all three, the H115i Pro and the H150i Pro and x72, I'm happier with the x72.

I built my son a gaming computer and started out with the H115i Extreme however thanks to Holiday late returns I was able to upgrade to the H115i Pro.

He has an overclocked i9 7900x at 4.5Ghz and I just didn't think the H115i pro was doing a great job so I ate $30.00 on a late return on Amazon (past 30 days) and upgraded to the H150i.

At first it was good. Then came fan noise (Not normal loud fan noise/wind) and it drove me nuts but my son always had his headphones on and didn't seem to mind. However it never really got quiet unless I put it on quiet mode, when on BALANCED the H1150i pro was loud and or louder. (This wasn't the case when I first got it, not sure what happened).

During this time (Past few weeks) I decided to build my own gaming PC and jumped on the new X72. I spoke with someone at NZXT who did state he was excited to get one as well and slipped (I think) that the x72 might lack in performance a little but the infinity mirror and RGB lights are worth it.

In the past few days Link 4 recieved an update that caused the fans to go full blast and I could do nothing in Link 4, not slow it dow, not change RGB colors etc... A restart, a shutdown later and still full blast! I uninstalled Link 4 and installed previous Link 4 software. I just mailed (RMA) it back to new egg and purchased a x72 for my son too.

So the short review of NZXT. (I've had mine running for a handful of days, got it straight from NZXT on launch day). Quiet, even on performance but obviously louder when it needs to cool. The RGB is 100 times nicer to look at than the Corsair block, if you have other Corsair products inside, I guess it works lol. However If there is an Aura (or the likes) party going on in your case, the x72 at least shows up and has a great time unlike the Corsair block that is obviously uncomfortable at the party and shouldn't have even came.

As far as cooling, I find the x72 keeps lower to same gaming temps, I play COD and the likes so I'm not burning 70c or even 80c 24/7 (and under the reviewers Civilization game test, x72 won), for those who need to run 70 to 80c, I'm guessing most use custom water cooling.

Over all I am happy so far.

So it really comes down to the reviewer and if you're doing a review and can't compare Apple's to Apple's, it's not a fair review.