Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
I think it is safe to say that much everybody knows that the Kraken series LCS units from NZXT have been a hit ever since their first release. We're now at revision 3, as in X-3, and really, this is the first time I have some small comments as aside from two small things, this unit has not been progressing enough? Looking and comparing back and forth, the cooling block and radiator are performing 100% similar to the previous model, the X62, so there is no gain to be made there. In retrospect, that performance, however, is fantastic for an LCS of this class, we simply cannot deny that. For the fans, the same can be stated as well. What is different is the LED ring, which now is a tiny bit bigger with the subtle detail that you can rotate that top side so that the NZXT logo shows horizontally. In a nutshell that really is the main X62 vs. X63 differential.
However, NZXT also stripped an important feature away. What was golden with the X-1 and X-2 series is that the fans were connected towards the CAM infrastructure. That means NZXT applied profiles that offered a perfect balanced choice between silence and performance. This is no longer the case, basically, you now have to connect the two fans directly towards a motherboard fan connector or fan-controller. Neither is NZXT including a simple y-splitter cable so you can join the two fans towards one fan connector at your motherboard, I literally was a little frustrated about something so simple, I mean .. this is a 150 USD product?! What did it for me in the past was despite the price premium everything was software configurable (fan RPM) with CAM. And that now this is missing. So in that respect, NZXT just paved the road wide open for Corsair as they just gained an advantage here. Who wants to spend 150 bucks for this LCS, and then separately need to purchase a Grid+ fan controller, which will cost another 40 bucks. Also, we cannot help thinking that this is the main reason for dropping fan control over the CPU block wiring, e.g. an effort for NZXT to have you spend another 40 bucks. The fact that I am writing a separate paragraph about this is yeah, a bit out of annoyance as I feel this was not a good move to make and hopefully, it'll be corrected on a future X-4 revision. And make no mistake, in all other regards, this is simply put an excellent product series.
The cooling is top-notch, properly good even with lots of reserve and capacity. What impressed me the most is that once you start to overclock our processor the stress temperatures remain really okay. Even up-to 1.40 Volts we remain below 75 degrees C, granted that was with a bit of an aggressive (noisy) fan profile but there is plenty to play around with. So yers, we have been pleasantly surprised by NZXT Kraken X63 cooling performance with the processor in a tweaked state is really nice and on par with high-end cooling, it shines with actual stress and increased voltage cooling capacity. That's the good stuff when overclocking.
Things were perfect with the X62 when CAM was in full control of the fans. With X63 you'll need to RPM regulate the fans yourself. My advice is simple, connect the fans to a FAN header and give them fixed settings of say 600 RPM. Basically, configure and listen and then select your acceptable or preferable acoustic level. The LCS unit does not need heaps of airflow if you are not stressing the CPU all of the time. There is plenty of cooling capacity for you to still run the fans silent. Obviously you can also set up a fan profile in your system BIOS running 500 RPM at up-to 65 degrees C, and then ramp up when the CPU would heat up.
Aesthetics & Design
The overall looks are as always tasteful as far as I am concerned, all-black design with the subtle shades of grey make it an appealing product to the eyes. Even the fans have been logo marked (dark) tastefully. The LED ring is now 10% bigger and can be rotated to line up the NZXT logo horizontally up based on position. Mind you both the ring and logo are configurable separately, so as you can see in the photo above, if you don't want it, you can just turn off the NZXT logo. Please do keep in mind that CAM needs to load up with windows to continuously re-apply the configured preferences and settings. The wide combination of RGB functionality, animations or color-coded LEDs is what makes this thing shine. It looks just great.
Cam remains to be a sore point for many, but we feel it has improved greatly over the past year or so. The software is extensive and has gotten much better over time. Still, when running in the background it can utilize some CPU cycles quite constantly (0.3% in our system). Also, cam collects and uses a lot of data of your PC, which raises the question if that is really needed? What is NZXT doing with all that data? If you install and start-up the software for the first time you need to agree to a disclaimer that so huge in size you simply will refuse to read it, a bit alarming really. Then again, all the stuff that Google, Microsoft and the facebooks out there are collecting is probably far worse. Yes, welcome to 2020 ya'll. Usage and GUI wise we had no issues with CAM, the software could be 'less' though as really I do not need an OSD or tweaking options.
The Kraken X63 is introduced at the $150 marker with a similar price in EURO, which is a lot of money for a two fan LCS, but we can see where the money went to as this is one of the best performing LCS units available on the market. The cooling system is good capacity wise and the lighting system is dazzling. Combined with (when setup) low noise levels that makes the Kraken a little gem. We very much dislike the fact that the fans cannot be connected to the CAM ecosystem anymore unless you purchase an extra Grid+ fan node from NZXT at an additional 40 bucks. Also, NZXT, a simple y-splitter connect for the two or three fans towards one fan header on the mobo, would have been the way to go and include. Despite my remarks, I have no hesitation recommending you the new Kraken X63 series other than the fact you need to be aware of the new fan configuration. It is not a huge deal, but you now need to regulate fans from your sBIOS or a fan controller. We'd advise a fixed fan RPM in the 500 RPM range, and when temps jump up then create an offset delta with fan speed ramping up. When you set that up manually, you can create an ecosystem that is extremely silent as NZXT offers a lot of cooling capacity with this kit. You can configure the pump speed in CAM though, so that's nice. Silent mode is fine, in performance mode, you will hear a bit of crackling noises coming from the pump. As a kit, this AIO LCS definitely is one of the better-performing ones out there if that's what you are after. Aside from all wires, the product is properly user-friendly to install and you'll have proper (additional) capacity left for a nice overclock. Again, there is a fair amount of wires leading out and into the cooling block. So design-wise there is cable spaghetti and clutter to deal with cable routing wise. Overall the final words can be short, we will still recommend the NZXT Kraken X63 without any hesitation being a properly cooling LCS with great looks, aside from the fan connections though. Pretty much anything else is similar to the X62 aside from a slightly bigger LED ring and the ability to rotate it.
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