NZXT’s Kraken G10 GPU bracket is somewhat of a unique product. The only similar product appears to be Corsair’s HG10, but that has yet to hit the market despite a soft-launch back in June 2014. The Kraken G10 GPU bracket is designed to replace a GPU’s stock cooler, and allow it to be fitted with a closed-loop liquid cooling system.
The compatibility of NZXT’s solution is impressive, supporting a variety of graphics cards and liquid coolers. The current compatibility options are listed below in the specifications:
- Model Number: RL-KRG10-W1 (White), RL-KRG10-B1 (Black), RL-KRG10-R1 (Red), RL-KRG10-U1 (Blue)
- Dimensions: 177 (W) x 32.5 (H) x 110.6 (D) mm
- Fan Bearing: Sleeve
- Fan Connector: 3-Pin
- Compatibility: Nvidia : GTX 780 Ti, 780, 770, 760, Titan, 680, 670, 660Ti, 660, 580, 570, 560Ti, 560, 560SE — AMD : R9 290X*, 290*, 280X**, 280**, 270X, 270 HD7970**, 7950**, 7870, 7850, 6970, 6950, 6870, 6850, 6790, 6770, 5870, 5850, 5830 — The compatibility list is based on AMD Radeon and NVIDIA’s reference board layout, screw spacing and die height only. Please check the height restriction before purchase. — *Some variation in die thickness and height may cause issues with screws being too short to install on some AMD 290-based cards. — *Do NOT force the G10 to fit if your card is too thick, contact support for a revised screw set. — ** Some variations in AMD die height may require the use of a shim.
- Compatibility: NZXT : Kraken X61, Kraken X41, Kraken X31, Kraken X60, Kraken X40 — Corsair : H105, H110, H90, H75, H55 , H50 (CW-9060006-WW only) — Antec : KUHLER H2O 920V4, KUHLER H2O 620V4, KUHLER H2O 920, KUHLER H2O 620 — Thermaltake : Water 3.0 Extreme, Water 3.0 Pro, Water 3.0 Performer, Water 2.0 Extreme, Water 2.0 Pro, Water 2.0 Performer — Zalman : LQ-320, LQ-315, LQ-310
- Fan Dimensions: 92 (W) x 92 (H) x 25 (D) mm
- Fan Input Power: 16W
- Fan Current: 18A
- Fan Speed: 1500 ± 10% R.P.M.
- Fan Voltage: 12V DC
- Warranty: 2 Years
In the box of the Kraken G10, along with the cooling bracket came a fan, a set of screws, and an instruction manual.
The Kraken G10 being reviewed today is the white version of the bracket. In addition, NZXT provided a Kraken X40 liquid cooler to pair with the G10. A big thanks to Nvidia as well for providing a GTX Titan for the purpose of this review.
Here are the specifications of the PC used for testing the G10:
- CPU – Intel i7-3820, with Corsair H100 Liquid Cooler
- GPU – Nvidia GTX Titan, with NZXT G10 Bracket with NZXT Kraken X40 Liquid Cooler
- RAM – Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary Edition 16GB (4x4GB) 2400MHz DDR3
- Motherboard – Gigabyte X79-UD7
- PSU – Corsair AX1200i 1200W 80 Plus Platinum
- SSD – 2x 120GB Kingston HyperX SATA3 in RAID 0
- HDD – 4x 4TB Western Digital RE Enterprise in RAID 10
- Chassis – Corsair 800D
- Disk Drive – LG Black Blu-ray Burner
The installation of the bracket was a bit time consuming, but part of that was due to unfamiliarity with the product and procedure.
The process began with removing the stock cooler from the GTX Titan, which was a fairly simple operation. All that was required was unscrewing a few screws and unplugging the stock cooler’s fan.
Cleaning the thermal paste off of the GPU was fairly straightforward, the process is the same as it would be for a CPU: some rubbing alcohol or thermal paste remover and some cotton swabs do the trick. Just be sure whatever you use to remove the thermal paste is a non-abrasive material, as even tiny invisible scratches to the surface can cause damage and performance issues.
Next, the G10’s fan was screwed onto the bracket, while making sure the fan’s orientation would have it blow cool air onto the GPU.
Once that was done, the backplate was assembled and the long screws were attached to the bottom of the GPU. The tricky and time consuming part was the next step: Attaching the liquid cooler to the G10 bracket, and trying to lower the bracket onto the card while lining up the screws. This step was just a matter of getting the long screws to go through the correct adapter holes on the bracket while making sure the liquid cooler didn’t drop out of place. Having a second person for this part would have made things easier, but it can definitely be done by just one person.
Once the cooler was attached to the GPU, it was ready to be mounted in the chassis. This is the part that prospective buyers definitely need to consider, as the chassis will need space for the liquid cooler, and the liquid cooler’s hoses will have to reach whatever the desired mounting point is.
The test rig was already running a dual rad liquid cooler on the CPU – the Corsair H110. The Kraken X40 dual rad liquid cooler used for the GPU needed a place of its own. Since the PC was built into the extremely large Corsair 800D chassis, there was a lot of space, but the downside was that the Kraken X40’s hoses were only so long.
The Corsair H110 was mounted to the top of the case, so the optimal solution was determined to be to attach the Kraken X40 to the back of the chassis.
Determining where and how to mount the second liquid cooler was the second most difficult process as there was some concern as to how the hoses and cables would reach, and if anything would be blocking or be blocked by the cooler.
Thankfully, once the liquid cooler and graphics card were situated, it was smooth sailing. It was time to power up the system and see how the liquid cooled GTX Titan would perform against its previously stock-cooled self.
To benchmark the GPU, it was tested at both idle as well as full load.
To run the GPU at full load, Furmark was run at 1920×1080 with 8x MSAA.
The results are incredibly impressive. Even at idle, there’s an 18 degree Celsius difference between the water cooled and air cooled GTX Titan. At load, the difference becomes even more marked– the temperature difference is 33 degrees C, and the fan speed drops from the air-cooled GPU’s 56% to 33%. The fan speed of the liquid cooled GTX Titan at load is almost the same as the card on idle for both air and liquid cooling– 33% vs 30%.
Clearly having the graphics card on liquid cooling makes a massive difference in temperature. This allows for more overclocking and prevents throttling caused by high temperatures.
At a price of $29.99, the NZXT Kraken G10 is extremely affordable. A compatible single rad liquid cooler can be found for as low as $65 (if not lower in some cases), making this a GPU liquid cooling solution for under $100. Considering the alternative is an expensive liquid cooling solution requiring a variety of different components, the Kraken G10 provides a very attractive option.
Liquid cooling a graphics card is no longer the expensive and difficult task it used to be, and that’s thanks to the NZXT Kraken G10, which provides excellent performance at a great price.
This post originally appeared on VR World, Bright Side of News*’ sister site covering the Asia Pacific