NZXT Kraken X63 RGB Review: Little Difference Impacts a LotApril 18, 2022
NZXT Kraken X63 RGB is the 280mm liquid cooler of the Kraken X lineup. It inherits the traits that made its predecessor one of the sought-after AIO coolers of its generation.
Though NZXT openly puts out that this is a refresh of their successful X62 liquid cooler, the X63 still brings new and improved features to the table that provides better performance and ease of use.
At first look, you might find zero to no difference from the X62, but upon closer inspection you’ll find that its pump plate is now rotatable, allowing support for numerous build placements. The closer inspection also reveals NZXT’s more simplified approach to the pump connectors. You’ll find a micro USB port occupying the place of the previous mini USB; and a 10-pin port for the breakout cable that splits to SATA power, pump tachometer, and RGB LED.
For internals, the brand says that their new lineup is equipped with the 7th generation pump of Asetek which provides better noise to thermal performance. We’ll get on to that later on.
Aside, from the differences that we pointed out, the X63 retains most of the design elements of its predecessor. The big difference that sets the two apart would be their SRP, as the X63 is $10 USD cheaper than its predecessor. If you’d want to know if this is the right liquid cooler for your build, then you should read on through this review.
NZXT Kraken X63 RGB: Inclusions
Before we dig deep through its performance, we should check what inclusions should one expect from the package.
Upon opening the package, you’ll find the 280 radiator, the duo of AER fans, a lengthy instruction manual, a set of screws for the fans, and AMD mounting brackets. You’d also find the needed cables for both the fans and pump inside the package. Unfortunately, the package doesn’t include any additional branding items such as stickers or badges. The lack thereof isn’t that bad from a consumer standpoint, as this lowers the total cost of the product.
Also, there isn’t really a need for said additional branding items. The branding on the X63 is enough for someone to know that the liquid cooler is of NZXT.
Design and Build Quality: Littlest difference impacts a lot
If you’re familiar with its predecessor, then you’ll find that the X63 has minimal overall difference from it. This is expected, as this generation’s Kraken series is a refresh. And doing that isn’t a bad move as its previous iterations were well-received.
However, even if they look and feel the same, this generation’s Kraken X series still comes with new features. One of the most notable differences that it has from its predecessor is its rotatable pump plate. This new feature allows users to place the X63 in any orientation that they want. Without the need to think about logo orientation, users can place the X63 in any position in the chassis. Users can just easily rotate the plate to fix the NZXT logo orientation.
Another notable improvement is the simplified approach to the pump connectors. The Mini USB from before is now a micro USB. While a new 10-pin port for the pump power, tachometer, and RGB LED, replaces the old port for the breakout cable.
Those might be miniscule differences but they make an impact in the installation process, making it a bit less taxing.
Differences aside, the NZXT Kraken X63 RGB carries over the well-received build quality of its predecessor. The X63 radiator still has 17 tubes, just like the X62. And just like on its predecessor, the external materials of its pump are mostly of plastic. However, the X63 now has a matte finish in contrast to its predecessor’s glossy metallic look.
Aside from those similarities and differences, NZXT has something unique for this generation’s Kraken series. The brand launched white versions of their Kraken X and Z series. The addition of the white variants presents users with more options in terms of build color matching.
NZXT Kraken X63 RGB: Installation Process
The little differences that the Kraken X63 has from its predecessor are enough to make the installation process easier than ever.
Again, the addition of the rotatable pump cover eliminates the need to check if logo is in the right orientation, allowing a carefree installation process if you will.
As any other AIO liquid coolers, the NZXT Kraken X63 package includes everything that you’ll need for its installation. However, you will still need a PH1 screw driver to mount the radiator and the fans into the chassis.
There is no fan hub in the package but a fan splitter cable is included. NZXT also includes its very own Fan Connection Cable to daisy chain the fans. Users can connect up to 5 fans per channel. The fan connecting process is a walk in the park as all the necessary cables are labeled.
NZXT CAM Software
By default, the fan and pump led lights are on static whites. To change this, you’ll need the NZXT CAM software, the brand’s homebrewed monitoring software.
Aside from giving users the ability to monitor and change both lighting and cooling performance, the NZXT CAM also enables them to overclock via the dedicated overclocking tab. It’s an all-in-one software if you will. However, just like other software for monitoring and altering performance, there are issues here and there. One of the biggest concern that a handful of users have cited is its firmware auto update feature. It would be better if this feature would prompt the users first before installing the updates rather than otherwise. Another one is the software’s hit or miss user profile recording. Sometimes it saves the user’s settings but a handful of times it does the opposite.
As of the moment, having the software running all the time is not that recommendable. For now, we’d recommend to keep it off once you’re done with your lighting and fan speed settings. The NZXT CAM, with its repertoire of options, is still a good software to have for the NZXT liquid cooling products. But it’s not something that you’d want to keep, not until NZXT fixes said flaws.
Before we get into the cooling performance of the NZXT X63 Kraken RGB, take a look at the test unit we built for it first.
- Processor: Ryzen 5 5600X
- Motherboard: ASRock B550 PG Riptide
- Memory: Kingston Fury Renegade 16GB DDR4 4600MHz
- Graphics Card: XFX RX 5600 XT Thicc II
- Storage Drive: HyperX Fury 256GB SSD
- PSU: Inwin P85 850W Gold
- Chassis: NZXT H510 Flow
Now that you know the components that we used with the NZXT Kraken X63 RGB, it’s time for our performance test. We’ll be using the OCCT stress tool that’s free to download from the OCBASE website. It’s an all-in-one stability check & stress test tool that generates heavy loads on your components to produce possible stability issues and errors.
The OCCT Linpack Test injects the processor with different instruction sets that push its performance, which in turn produces heat, thus our temperature results for the Kraken X63 RGB. Through the continuous Linpack test, the Kraken X63 RGB with the AER fans were able to hold a peak temperature of 72.25C. The peak temperature is a bit high for my liking, as the Ryzen 5 5600X has a rather low TDP. However, in terms of overall performance, the Kraken X63 is really commendable. Even though its fans only running at a maximum of 1800RPM, they were still able to hold the temperature at bay. Aside from that, the fans’ low RPM enables them to be near noiseless during operation and under heavy load.
What we think:
The NZXT Kraken X63 RGB is a very capable liquid cooling for gaming-centric CPUs like the Ryzen 5 5600X. Build-wise, it is a recommendable liquid cooler for those who eye compact builds with performance and aesthetics in mind.
With its efficient cooling performance to noise level, it’s definitely one of the best liquid cooler in its price segment. It delivers outstanding cooling performance without the annoying rumble that’s common on regular cooling fans running on full speed. But as we’ve mentioned, its noiseless operation did not come without a tradeoff.
While there might be little to no difference in performance and build quality from its predecessor, the Kraken X63 advances on ease-of-use with its rotatable pump cover. We reiterate that this feature allows a carefree installation by eliminating the need to correctly orient the logo.
So, if easy installation, top-notch performance, and noiseless operation are in your checklist, then you should look at the Kraken X63 RGB. Additionally, all NZXT Kraken X63 liquid coolers are backed by the brand’s 6-year warranty.