NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review | An excellent entry-level AIO

NZXT‘s Kraken line of all-in-one coolers has been a staple of PC builders for years now, and the company recently refreshed the Kraken X line. The Kraken X-3 series brings a few new bells and whistles to be excited about, and I’ve been putting the Kraken X53 through the paces over the last month.

It’s hard to tell what the benefits of a new generation of cooler can bring. After all, the X53 (official website) doesn’t look much different from its predecessor, the X52. However, it does bring some improvements that aren’t readily noticeable.

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NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review | What’s improved?

NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review in PC

 

The most significant improvement the Kraken X53 features is the move to Asetek 7th generation pumps, which operate at 800-2,800 RPM. These new pumps allow for quieter operation over a broader range of speeds, giving Kraken owners the best of both worlds when it comes to noise reduction and performance.

The X-3 series refresh also marks a significant improvement with the RGB logo design. The infinite mirror logo on the X-2 series required you to mount the pump on your CPU in one direction only if you wanted it to be right-side up. With the X-3 series, the logo rotates so that you can mount the pump in four different orientations. This might not sound like a big deal, but depending on your motherboard layout, it can make the process of installation a lot easier. No more awkwardly trying to make sure your pump inlets don’t put pressure on your RAM or fighting the tubing to get the pump installed.

NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review| Performance

NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review RGB

The Kraken X53 features a 240mm radiator cooled by two Aer P 120mm fans and is excellent for small-to-mid-sized cases. It doesn’t entirely give the cooling performance of its bigger brothers, the X63 (280mm) and X73 (360mm), but it allows for a lot more versatility when it comes to installation. Instead of being relegated to only a top mount, the X53 easily installs into the front (and even rear) of many popular PC cases.

I ran the X53 with an AMD Ryzen 3800x, which is known for running hot. On the stock Wraith Prism cooler, I typically ran around 38-40C at dead idle and up to 75-80 at 100% usage. Given how good Wrath Prism is for a stock cooler, and given that the X53 has a relatively small 240mm radiator, I didn’t expect I’d see much improvement.

I installed the AIO into my venerable Corsair Vengeance C70 case which features the following cooling setup:

  • One rear fan blowing out
  • One bottom fan pulling air in
  • Two front fans pulling air in

I mounted the X53 to the top of the case, with the two fans set to blow air out. The radiator replaced two 240mm fans, so airflow is similar to what it was when I was using the stock cooler.

As predicted, I didn’t see a ton of improvement in CPU temps with the X53 over the Wrath Prism. My system idles at around 35C now and maxes out at 73-75C. That averages out to about 3 degrees cooler, which isn’t amazing but is decent for a 240mm AIO.

NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review | Bottom Line

NZXT Kraken X53 Cooler Review Plate

The biggest advantage that comes with the Kraken X53 isn’t improved, temps. Instead, this is a great cooler if you want less fan noise. The Aer P2 fans that come with the X53 are very quiet, even maxed out, and the pump itself makes much less noise at 100% output than the Wrath Prism and similar air coolers. The PC I installed the X53 in is situated in my living room, and I use it to game on my TV. I like to leave my computer on, and I noticed much less overall fan noise when I was watching a movie or TV show.

Overall I’d recommend the NZXT Kraken X53 as a tremendous entry-level AIO for anyone looking to build their own PC. It’s priced to move at $129.99, looks excellent, and gives moderate temperature improvement over AMD’s stock cooler with almost silent operation. If you’re looking to overclock, you might want to look into NZXT’s larger coolers like the X63 or X73 for superior cooling performance.


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