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Custom desktop computers have always reminded me of the car-stereo scene. I’m not sure people worry too much about their auto stereo systems much anymore. But when I was young, people would pack their Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics with powerful amps, tons of speakers, and head units with bright animated LCD displays. And now, new devices like the Kraken Z-3 and X-3 CPU all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers from NZXT are keeping that legacy alive for PC enthusiasts.

Both the Kraken X-3 and Z-3 are available now in the U.S. They will launch in the rest of the world in early February. The X-3 line starts at $130 for the X53 with a 240mm radiator. Or you can get a 280mm X63 for $150 or 360mm X73 for $180. The Z-3 starts at $250 for the 280mm Z63 and goes up to $280 for the 360mm Z73.

Like old car stereos, NZXT’s coolers are as much about form as they are function. With the X-3, that means an upgraded version of the company’s existing coolers with plenty of LED lighting. The Z-3, however, goes even further by including a full LCD display on the cooler cap.

Sure, the Kraken Z-3’s screen can provide important system information like the current temperature of your CPU. But why would you do that when you can have it play an animation of some whales or a city or something?


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Above: NZXT’s Kraken Z-3 has big Pioneer car-stereo energy.

Image Credit: Pioneer

“The CPU cooler is the centerpiece for every PC Build,” NZXT chief executive officer Johnny Hou said in a statement. “We took great lengths to ensure that the newest generation of Kraken is the most visually appealing and highest performing AIO ever. The possibilities for customization with the Kraken Z are endless, and I cannot wait to see what the community does with this potential.”

NZXT is simply acknowledging what we all already know: custom PCs are fashion. And NZXT can help make your PC look good.

NZXT is more than just looks

While the Kraken Z-3 and X-3 coolers are stylish, NZXT is also still just as concerned with function.

It’s promising simpler installation with the option to rotate the X-3’s faceplate or the Z-3’s display. The company also improved its tubing to increase durability and flexibility. This enables the coolers to potentially accommodate tighter spaces.

NZXT also upgraded to the new seventh-generation fluid pump from Asetek. Both companies claim this pump is quieter and better at cooling.

“When NZXT approached us with ambitions for the ultimate in all-in-one CPU coolers, we knew some of our newest and most exciting technology advancements were an ideal fit to take gameplay to the next level,” Asetek chief executive André Eriksen said. “With our all-new performance engineered pump, the new Kraken all-in-ones provide superior cooling and whisper quiet operations, plus give builders a platform for unique self-expression.”

NZXT has already made some excellent products. Hopefully the X-3 and Z-3 devices deliver on the promise of enhanced performance to go along with the refined looks.

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