In September 2021, the American hardware manufacturer NZXT launched the Kraken Z53 RGB 240 mm AIO. The water cooling features two 120 mm RGB fans and a pump housing with an integrated display. But how good is the cooling performance? Can a layman install the system? And is a display necessary? You can find out all about that in this report.
Technical data of the NZXT Kraken Z53 RGB
|Model||Kraken Z53 RGB|
|Cooling block dimensions||Diameter: 79mm / H: 52mm|
|Cooling Block Material (Block)||Copper|
|Cooling block material (case)||Plastic|
|Pump motor speed||800 – 2,800 ± 300 rpm|
|Radiator dimensions||123 x 275 x 30mm|
|Fan Model||Aer RGB 2 120mm|
|Fan dimensions||120 x 120 x 26mm|
|Fan speed||500 – 1,500 ± 300 rpm|
|Fan connector||PWM 4-pole|
|LCD Active Area||2.36″ (60mm) diameter|
|Resolution||320 x 320px|
||€ 245.85 *|
NZXT’s packaging for the AIO is less flashy. On the front, we immediately get a first impression of what awaits us inside. The back shows the water cooler in its installed state and next to it again highlights the strengths and possibilities of this product. Once we remove the protective film and open the packaging, we see cork and a small note with a QR code, under which we can find the assembly instructions. Once we pull everything out, we have insight on the All-In-One system.
Scope of delivery
Included in the box are:
- 1x NZXT Kraken Z53 complete water cooling
- 2x 120mm fan
- 1x fan splitter cable
- 1x fan connector cable
- 1x Micro USB cable
- 1x daisy chain cable
- 1x Breakout cable kit
- Mounting accessories for specified socket
- Fan and radiator mounting screws
If you look at it, everything is already taken care of. We have all the screws, we have all the cables, and we have all the plate variations for the CPU. So let’s get right to the next part.
Design and finish
NZXT has used a radiator made of aluminum here with a high-quality matte black finish. The pump housing was also covered with matte black paint and designed in a classic round shape. The hoses are sheathed and can be rotated and adjusted as desired, so you have many options for installation. The fans are 2x Aer P 120mm PWM fans with interchangeable surrounds, which also feature high quality and beautiful looks. There are RGB and non-RGB variants to choose from. In this review, we used the RGB fans. The LCD should produce a nice picture with individual design options for us on 2.36 inches with a resolution of 320 x 320 px and 24-bit color depth.
NZXT Kraken Z53 RGB Assembly
As mentioned above, we find a QR code in the box with the assembly instructions. Following these step by step, little to no difficulties arise. There is already thermal paste on the copper plate of the cooler, which is perfectly sufficient for mounting. How you install the AiO depends on the case on the one hand, and on your own preferences on the other. You should definitely think about the direction of the hoses beforehand, as it should look like in the end result. Here we decided to install the hoses in the direction of the RAM and lay them over it. It doesn’t matter how the display of the cooler is positioned, because you can still adjust it in the appropriate software.
Cooling performance and noise
An AiO should not only provide better looks, but also better cooling performance! To test this we looked at the comparison to the AMD Ryzen standard cooler. For this, we use Prime95 to max out the CPU and test the maximum temperatures in a thirty minute stress test.
The setup looks like this:
- MSI MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX AMD AM4 DDR4 m.2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 HDMI ATX Gaming Motherboard*
- AMD AMD T R5-3600 - AMD AM4 Ryzen 5 3600, 6x 3.60GHz, tray*
- G.Skill DIMM 16 GB DDR4-4000 Kit, Arbeitsspeicher*
- Gainward Gainward GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Dual (PCIe 3.0, 3GB DDR5 Speicher, HDMI, DVI, 3xDisplayPort)*
- Crucial MX500 500 GB, SSD*
- Corsair Corsair VS650 (Active PFC, 80 Plus White, 650W) schwarz*
- Lian Li LIAN LI LANCOOL II Mesh RGB LAN2MRX Gehärtetes Glas ATX Gehäuse – Schwarz Farbe – LANCOOL II Mesh RGB – LAN2MRX*
In testing, we came up with the following results:
|NZXT Z53 RGB (50%)||73°|
|NZXT Z53 RGB (100%)||67°|
Based on the results, we see a decidedly good cooling performance under heavy load. 5° and 11° compared to the AMD standard cooler definitely speak for the AiO. The pump only becomes audible when the load is also correspondingly high and it runs at full speed. Otherwise, it convinces with very quiet work and is hardly or not at all audible under normal conditions. The fans, on the other hand, are already audible under low load, but are by no means annoying. Under higher load, they create a background noise that can definitely be perceived as annoying, but it rarely comes to such a load, so we are very satisfied with the performance here as well.
Lighting and software
Since this is the RGB model, the fans are equipped with bordered lighting. These can be customized via the NZXT software and bring with them many different variations of lighting right away. For example, there is the possibility to adjust the color of the fans depending on the CPU temperature.
In the program we can make all settings to the AiO. The pump speed, fan speed and the display on the LCD of the pump are adjusted here. Thus, NZXT has built in the possibility of various temperature data or a self-selected GIF, which is then displayed on the LCD. This allows a wide variety of design options to be implemented and thus offers a varied design. In addition, there is the possibility to create your own profiles, in which you can specify in advance what performance the pump and the fans should bring at what temperature. Alternatively, there are already prefabricated profiles, which are already well configured in our opinion.
Summary of NZXT Kraken Z53 RGB review
In our review, we put the NZXT Z53 RGB under the microscope and are very satisfied with the water cooling system. Pump volume and particularly easy assembly stand out very positively here. Due to the individual design options, the AiO also convinces in visual points. If you don’t see the need for the LCD or the RGB lighting on the fans, you can save yourself a few euros and go for the X53 model. The price for the Z53 is steep due to the LCD, but absolutely competitive and worth the money for our taste.
On top of that, NZXT is so confident in their product that it adds a manufacturer’s warranty of 6 years.