The NZXT Kraken Z53, Z63, and Z73 are three nicely designed AIO water coolers. The radiators come with regular or RGB fans, and the CPU block comes with an OLED screen with helpful system information. You can adjust the screen by CAM application, so the NZXT gives you a complete AIO hardware-software unit.
NZXT Kraken Z series is available in sizes of 240mm (Z53), 280mm (Z63), and 360mm (Z73), so it was interesting to test how these AIOs behave in front of a big TDP challenge in the form of AMD flagship Ryzen 9 5950X.
NZXT CPU AIO
Material: Aluminum, Plastic
123 x 275 x 30
143 x 315 x 30
121 x 394 x 27
Asetek (7th Gen), 800 - 2800 RPM
LCD Display Panel
2.36” (60mm), 24-bit True Color, 320 x 320px , 650 cd/m²
2x Aer P120mm
2x Aer P140mm
3x Aer P120mm
NZXT Kraken Z53
NZXT offers two types of AIO cooling marked X and Z. The X series on the water block of effects has two RGB elements, a logo, and a ring, while the Z series has the OLED screen (as mentioned above). The competition isn’t sleeping, so Asus Ryujin and Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce also have much to offer.
The NZXT Kraken Z53 is the smallest representative of the Z series, with a 240mm radiator and 2x Aer P 120mm fans. Thanks to its smaller dimensions, it’s ideal for installation in compact computers. Inside the CPU block, Asetek’s latest 7th gen pump runs in the range of 800 to 2800 rpm while the radiators and fans remain the same as the previous generation.
Notice that there is no performance difference between the X and Z models. You pay the price difference, and quite a lot, only because of the possibilities brought by the OLED screen.
The NZXT Kraken Z53, Z63, and Z73 come with mount accessories for newer Intel and AMD processors. Also, all water blocks on the tested Kraken AIO coolers already have a ring for mounting on Intel’s LGA 11xx and LGA 1200 processors.
The cooler’s base is copper and excellently polished with factory-applied thermal paste. Don’t remove this paste unless you are putting on an expensive variant (liquid metal) for the best OC results, but that’s out of the realm of this story.
Aer P 120mm fans
The two Aer P 120 mm fans have 4-pin connectors, and you can connect them in two ways. The first way is to connect directly to the motherboard, controlling rotation speed. Otherwise, you can join the connectors to the water block, and NZXT’s CAM software will take care of everything. NZXT Aer P 120mm are quality fans with 500 to 2000 rpm, airflow from 18 to 73 CFM, and noise from 21 to 36 dBA.
You can take the Kraken Z53 RGB AIO with Aer RGB fans, which are a bit slower (500 – 1500 rpm) but still efficient, for a little more money.
The NZXT placed the pump and OLED screen in a cylindrical metal case with two connectors. The micro USB connector connects the motherboard via an internal USB 2.0. Connect the multi-cable splitter to the larger connector. You can join Aer fans and SATA connectors to power the entire cooling system and other NZXT RGB devices, such as RGB fans or LED strips.
NZXT wants to manage all other RGB peripherals centralized through the AIO system. Too many cables aren’t good either aesthetically or practically. The biggest problem can be the inconvenient position of the micro USB connector, i.e., the USB cable that can interfere with RAM modules (if all RAM slots are populated).
If you want to fine-tune the cooling performance and adjust the built-in OLED screen, installing the free NZXT CAM software is necessary. The built-in round OLED screen has a diameter of 2.36-inches and a resolution of 320×320 pixels with a 24-bit color palette. You can display various useful system information on the screen, such as CPU and graphics card temperature, CPU load, etc. In addition to helpful information, you can display any arbitrary GIF animation and do all of the above exclusively through the CAM.
You can adjust the performance in the Cooling section of the CAM software, so NZXT has saved three Master profiles. Master profiles can be silent, performance, and fixed. These profiles combine pump and fan settings, although you can also create a user profile (cooling curve) and save it as a new Master profile.
NZXT Kraken Z63
The Kraken Z63, compared to its younger and smaller brother, the Z53, comes with a larger radiator (143 x 315 x 30mm) and two Aer P 140mm fans. It’s not suitable for installation in compact housings, so if you want such a purpose, stick to the Kraken Z53. The larger dimensions of the radiator and fans in the Z63 promise better cooling results, so I will specifically check this in practice.
The Kraken Z63 is ideal for installation in the NZXT H500 series, and you can also get it in the RGB version or/and white color, of course, for a bit more money than the one shown here. All other technical features, such as CPU socket compatibility, pump type, hose length, and OLED screen, are identical to the smaller Kraken Z53.
NZXT Kraken Z73
The most serious story in terms of cooling comes in the form of the biggest NZXT AIO representative – Z73. Strongest AIO is suitable for installation in larger enclosures such as the NZXT H710 series. Also, the radiator is the largest (121 x 394 x 27mm) and comes with three Aer P 120mm fans. All other technical characteristics are the same as the Kraken Z53 and Z63.
You can expect the best NZXT Kraken Z73 cooling performance for the strongest Intel (Alder Lake) or AMD processors. Like its two smaller brothers, the Kraken Z73 comes in an RGB version in black or white.
AMD’s fastest (Zen 3) processor Ryzen 9 5950X, is currently the best that AMD can offer for the desktop platform. The latest AMD processor is the direct successor to the strongest representative of the Zen 2nd generation, the Ryzen 9 3950X.
The Ryzen 9 5950X is compatible with all AM4 boards starting with the B350 chipset, but you will have to purchase a cooler as it does not ship with it. Compared to the Ryzen 9 3950X, there are no significant changes except the basic and enhanced clock speed. The TDP of 105 W remained the same, which is good in terms of cooling requirements.
The test system consists of the following components:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen R9 5950X
- RAM: GSkill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600
- MB: NXZT N7 B550
- GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
- Case: NZXT H510 Elite/H710
NZXT Kraken Performance
As can be seen from the test results, the youngest and smallest NZXT Kraken Z53 holds up well compared to the Z63 and Z73. It’s a cheerful surprise that the NZXT AIO smallest cooler will cool the Ryzen 9 5950X perfectly and that you can install such a setup in small PC cases without fear of overheating. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend overclocking the most powerful AMD CPU with Kraken Z53 because you will still need Z63 or Z73 for that (also, that means a bigger PC case like NZXT H710).
So, take the NZXT Kraken Z53 to make a powerful gaming PC in a compact case. You can pair it with the strongest AMD or Intel processors and enjoy gaming ( without high temperatures.) The only drawback may be the price, but NZXT Kraken X53 without an OLED screen is a cheaper alternative. You don’t have to worry; cooling performances remain the same.
On the other hand, take the stronger Kraken Z63 and Z73 if you want an even cooler processor or play with overclocking. Also, a cheaper option is to take this AIO cooling without an OLED screen in the form of the X series, which gives identical cooling performance but doesn’t have the visual charm of a water block in the case of the Z series.
If the price doesn’t play a significant role, I recommend the NXZT Kraken Z series with RGB Aer fans. Choose the black or white color of AIO cooling and thus add an aesthetic note to your PC gaming build.