I really like NZXT’s all-in-one CPU coolers. Traditional fan-cooling is efficient and affordable, but an setup the NZXT Kraken can add style and space to your build. And I purchased an NZXT Kraken X62 for my own system because it is efficient, quiet, and slick. So I was excited to take a closer look at the company’s updated X3 and Z3 coolers to see if they live up to their predecessor.
The X73 is available now for $180, but you can get it with a smaller radiator as the X53 or X63 for $130 or $150, respectively. That’s the same price as the last-gen Krakens. But NZXT also has the Z3 coolers. The Z63 is $250 and the Z73 is $280. I tested the X73 and the Z63.
The X3 and Z3 coolers feature a new Asetek pump. The X3, has improved lighting and the option to rotate the logo on the CPU block. The Z3, however, gets an LCD screen with a ton of customization options.
Let’s get into what I like.
What you’ll like
NXZT Kraken X3 and Z3 both use the new Asetek Gen7 pump
The Kraken X2 coolers, like the popular X62, used the Asetek Gen5 liquid pump. NZXT went back to Asetek for the X3 and Z3, but this time it’s using the Gen7. The company is promising quieter performance, but I found the X62 plenty quiet already. In real-world scenarios, I doubt that most people would notice the difference even if the Gen7 pump is better at keeping the noise down in a controlled test.
What’s important here is that the Asetek pumps are reliable and efficient, and that should only improve in this latest update. NZXT also includes a six-year warranty with the Kraken. And that confidence can provide you peace of mind.
Simple to install
The Kraken is also pretty easy to put into your rig. It comes with the brackets you need to hook it right onto an Intel motherboard. And if you need to swap in the parts for an AMD socket, the process is quick and painless.
The nylon mesh for the tubing also provides the flexibility you need to get the cooler into place. Then, on the X3, you don’t even have to worry about getting the logo upright because you can rotate that after installation.
X3 has improved RGB effects
Speaking of the logo, NZXT improved the look of the LED ring to make the Kraken X53, X63, and X73 more stylish than ever. Most of this comes from thicker RGB lighting that improves the infinity-mirror effect. This makes it look like the NZXT emblem is hovering over an endless portal.
It’s still the same overall visual design as the last-gen Kraken, but the bells and whistles are shinier.
The NZXT Z3’s LCD display is a lot of fun
The Z3’s standout feature is a 2.36-inch display that can present important information or, more important, GIFs. And look, you can tell me you don’t want an LCD screen inside your PC case, but I just won’t believe you.
Using NZXT’s CAM software, you can set the screen to display the current temperature of your CPU or GPU. This is a smart way to keep an eye on the health of your system without having to keep monitoring software open.
But you can also download and use any GIF you want, which is a lot of fun to play around with. And it’s another way to take ownership over the look of your rig.
I love this thing.
What you won’t like
While installing the Kraken coolers is mostly painless, I did have one problem. The power header on the CPU cooling unit doesn’t do a great job of guiding in its included cable. This led to me originally plugging it in the wrong way on the Z63. The connection felt like it snapped in securely, so it was difficult to tell the issue. But flipping it around and shoving it back in fixed the problem.
But even if it’s an easy fix, it’s hard to get a good look at the side of the block after installing it. So it would be nice if the port ensured you couldn’t insert it the wrong way.
You need to use CAM
I’m at a point where I’m over complaining about every company having their own software. But it’s still worth pointing out that you may run into some headaches with NZXT’s CAM. The company has made some improvements to the software, but it’s still cumbersome and unintuitive for beginners. And you may encounter some bugs. Keep that in mind.
The NZXT X73 and Z63 that I’m using are fantastic. If you’re happy with the cooling in your PC now, or if you have something like the X62, you don’t need to upgrade. This isn’t some kind of next-gen leap.
But if you want an AIO so you have more room to tinker in your rig or because you think they look better, NZXT Kraken X3 and Z3 are still the best. And sure, the Z63 is $100 more than an X63. But if you think you need that LCD screen, you won’t regret getting it.
NZXT’s Kraken X3 and Z3 coolers are available now. NZXT sent GamesBeat sample units off the X73 and Z63 for the purpose of this review.