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NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB review: great cooling at a hefty cost

This monstrous 360mm AIO CPU cooler has loads of features, great looks, and masses of cooling power, but it also has an eyebrow-raising price.

The NZXT Elite 360 RGB AIO installed in a white case

Our Verdict

The NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB is a quiet, powerful AIO CPU cooler, with stunning good looks and easy-to-use software. It's not cheap, and the LCD is hardly an essential, but it looks fantastic, and you do at least get a lot of features for the high price tag.

Reasons to buy
  • Great looks
  • Excellent cooling
  • Low noise levels
Reasons to avoid
  • Fan and pump slow to spin up
  • Lots of cables
  • Expensive

Large, premium AIO liquid coolers are the epitome of lavish cooling (outside of custom water cooling), delivering great performance with low noise levels thanks to their large radiators and coolant capacity. The NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB sits right at the top of this stack and won’t leave you with much change from $300. You can buy custom water-cooling loops for less money, but this AIO liquid cooler is simple to install, less likely to leak, and looks fabulous right out of the box.

But there’s more to the Kraken Elite 360 RGB than just its stylish appearance. To see how it copes when it’s strapped to the latest Intel and AMD CPUs, we’ve put this cooler through our lab tests and determined that it’s one of the best AIO coolers you can buy right now.

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The NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB specs list is:

Intel sockets supported LGA1700, LGA1200, LGA115x
AMD sockets supported AMD Socket AM5, AM4, sTRX4, TR4
Dimensions with fans (mm) 121 x 52 x 394 (W x D x H)
Fans 3 x 120mm
Stated noise 34dBA
RGB lighting Yes
Extras Software control, RGB controller, LCD on pump


The NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB has a few features that make it stand out from the crowd. Firstly, it has a customizable display on its pump that looks sharp and vibrant, and it shows the coolant temperature by default. You also get software control for the display, fans, and RGB lighting, courtesy of NZXT’s CAM software and a spare USB 2 header that you plug into your motherboard.

It also has one of the quietest pumps we’ve had the pleasure of not hearing, as well as support for a wide range of CPUs. This includes both LGA1700 and Socket AM5 out of the box, as well as AMD’s older Socket 4, and Intel’s LGA1200 and LGA115x sockets.

You’ll need space to accommodate this cooler’s 360mm radiator and three RGB fans in your PC case, but installation is simple, with thumb screws locking the pump section to the CPU socket using threaded pins and brackets.

Meanwhile, an RGB controller box deals with the fan RGB cables, and all three fan cables connect to a cable running off the pump. It’s a little messy, but easily tidied away. You can select from speed presets for the fan and pump, adjusting them according to the coolant or CPU temperature, plus you have the ability to create your own speed curves in the CAM software.

NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB installed in a white case above the GPU

LGA1700 temperature

The Krekan Elite 360RGB’s CPU temperature of 81°C in performance mode is the best we’ve seen from any cooler so far when dealing with our Core i7-13700K test CPU, with this figure rising to 86°C in the silent mode. It was evident that, by default, the fans responded to liquid temperature, and this rises far more slowly than CPU temperature, keeping noise to a minimum and avoiding annoying rapid speed increases.

Compared to the best from the air cooling world, the Kraken Elite 360 RGB was also quieter than the Noctua NH-D15 during this fairly extreme stress test, though the NH-D15 is quieter under less load. This was after a 10-minute stress test so you’ll see far lower temperatures (and fan noise) when gaming.

AM5 temperature

As usual, the temperature of our AMD Ryzen 9 7900X test CPU rocketed to 95°C under load in both speed modes but, as with the Noctua NH-D15, the CPU managed to maintain decent frequencies under the Kraken Elite 360 RGB.

In both our test systems, we noticed that the fans and pump weren’t rising to maximum levels, as they were responding to coolant temperature, rather than CPU temperature, which takes a long time to rise. We found that switching the input to CPU temperature, so the fan and pumps hit their top speed sooner, resulted in better performance in our AMD system, so that’s worth bearing in mind if you end up using this cooler.

The display on the NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB AIO cooler

Noise level

The benefit of the fans and pump responding more slowly to temperature, of course, is that you’re blessed with very low noise levels even after ten minutes of full CPU load. The pump is also practically inaudible below 50% speed, and only makes a slight whine above 70%, while being fairly noticeable at full speed. Thankfully, the noise from this cooler is never unpleasant at any speed, but you won’t want it sat next to you at full speed all the time.


In comparison to other AIO coolers, the Kraken Elite 360 commands a premium price of $300 (£250). However, if you’re patient you can often find deals on it.

While the price might be a bit too steep for some, we can’t argue with the cooler’s fabulous aesthetics, great cooling, and low-noise operation. It’s not cheap, but it largely justifies its cost with all the extra features.


If you want epic cooling, a snazzy RGB-equipped design, and low noise levels, but don’t want the hassle of a full custom water cooling system, then the NZXT Kraken Elite 360 RGB is a great choice if you can afford it. However, we also advise taking a look at recent models from Lian Li and Corsair, which have modular fans that can drastically reduce cable clutter.

We can’t fault NZXT’s CAM software, either, which worked flawlessly in our tests, and we’d be happy to use this cooler in our own systems to cool high-end CPUs. Just remember to consider swapping the CPU temperature-monitoring mode if you’re using an AMD Ryzen 7000 CPU.