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NZXT Kraken G10 Review

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NZXT Kraken G10 Closer Look:

Out of the box, the bracket is rather simple. The finish is glossy and appears to be very durable. There is the mounting hole to the left with all the bent tabs for the pump, and a round mounting hole for the supplied 92mm fan. There are also two bent tabs for using the zip ties to keep the water lines orgainzed and out of the way.

 

 

The mounting hardware is fairly simple. You get a base plate for the GPU, some zip ties, screws / studs, nuts, spacers, and thumb screws. The base plate has different hole locations for different style GPUs and the instructions show you which holes to push the studs through. There are two foam spacers / isolators with adhesive on one side - these are to keep the fan vibrations to a minimum. There is a firm, foam pad in the center of the base plate that is pressed against the back of the GPU.

 

 

The fan that is supplied with the G10 is a 92mm 3-pin style that will be used to keep the VRM on the graphics card cool since you will be removing the factory fan.

 

There are four screws supplied in the hardware bag that are used to secure the fan to the bracket. Pay attention to the direction of the fan - it is easy to get confused since the bracket is basically flipped over from what you might think when it is mounted to the graphics card.

 

Here is my GTX 670 (reference) graphics card. The first thing to do is to remove the top cover. The degree of complexity will depend on the brand and model of card, but generally most of the screws are on the back of the PCB. There are probably a few screws on the sides, too. Keep everything you remove handy in case you need to restore the graphics card to the original configuration.

 

 

Unplug the fan and after removing a few more screws, the fan module comes off.  Next, there are four screw that hold the heat sink to the card. You may have to twist the heat sink just a little if the thermal paste is not wanting to release. And again, remember to save all the stuff you remove in case you ever want to return the card to its original condition.

 

 

Now it is time to assemble the base plate. Use the instruction sheet to determine which holes to use, and slide the studs up through the holes. The studs have anti-rotate flats to keep them from turning when you install the nuts. Then secure the studs to the plate with the four supplied nuts. Finally, there are four spacers that go on top of the nuts.

 

 

Now you are ready to assemble the pump to the bracket. First, carefully clean the surface of your GPU to remove the old thermal paste, then apply a dot of the supplied thermal paste. I put the dot of paste directly on the center of the GPU. Determine the best orientation of the pump and place it over the GPU, then lower the bracket over the pump. Be careful to align the bent tabs to the little tab pockets on the pump housing, and at the same time getting the four studs to line up and go through the holes in the bracket. This can be a little tricky with the weight from the rest of the cooling tubes and radiator fighting against you. Then you can install the four thumb screws. Tighten them carefully in the order shown on the instruction sheet. You may want to line up the NZXT logo on the back of the base plate so you can read it after installation. This is not a requirement of course, but if it matters to you, do it before you get everything assembled and tightened up.

Now, you will notice that the fan is sort of just hanging out there to the right. The fan that is supposed to cool your graphics card VRM - yes, that fan. After all, you just removed the factory fan - in my case a blower-style fan. And that was the fan that pushed air across the GPU heat sink and then across the finned aluminum VRM heat sink. Now the VRM is out there by itself, not in any air flow. So obviously this particular GTX 670 uses a somewhat condensed PCB, and the VRM in this situation is at the other end of the card, away from the 92mm NZXT fan. In NZXT's defense, it has to have a design that covers the bulk of  the graphics card layouts, and indeed, most of them have the VRM located so that the fan would work. I will talk a little more about this later.

 

 

You can see that the overall thickness easily eats up another slot, so the G10 will eat up one more slot than your original card thickness. For me this is not a problem since I only plan to use one GPU.

 

 

It turns out that the little 92mm VRM fan happens to line up with my motherboard RAM, so although it won't do much towards cooling anything GPU related, it will act as a nice motherboard RAM fan. The radiator fan for the X31 is of course controlled by the X31 and plugs into the the fan lead coming from the X31 pump base. The USB plug coming from the pump gets connected to one of the USB headers on your motherboard. Install NZXT's CAM software (see X31 review for CAM info) and it will control the X31; however this is not a requirement. The CAM software is not compatible will all coolers. The 92mm VRM fan (which is now my RAM fan) is plugged into a fan header on the motherboard. The fan header on the graphics card is not used.

 

 

After I got the G10 installed and fired the system up, I decided to see how hot the VRM heat sink got with little to no air flow. At idle it was fine - just lukewarm to the touch. But under a load, it got a little toasty. So I decided to use a spare Cooler Master 120mm JetFlo fan to move some air. I mounted it under the VRM, blowing up directly on the entire front half of the card. That made a huge difference.

Depending on the computer case you have and which cooler you use for the G10, your radiator mounting options will vary. For my Corsair Air 540, the long, flexible tubes of the X31 allow me to mount the radiator in the front, top, or rear of the case.




  1. NZXT Kraken G10: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. NZXT Kraken G10: Closer Look (Continued)
  3. NZXT Kraken G10: Specifications & Features
  4. NZXT Kraken G10: Testing Setup & Results
  5. NZXT Kraken G10: Conclusion
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