NZXT Kraken G10 GPU Heatsink Review
They say that often the best ideas are the simplest. This is most certainly true of the NZXT Kraken G10. As a concept it's brilliant. In the most basic terms it's a metal bracket that enables an AIO cooler cold head to be mounted to a GPU chip. We've been doing this for years with CPUs and AIOs so had to figure it was only a matter of time before we saw it with GPUs. We have to say we think it makes perfect sense.
Being NZXT though, the design is a bit more refined. For starters, with an eye to aesthetic integration, the G10 comes in a choice of White, Red and Black. Don’t like the colours? Simple, sand it down and mod it yourself. And rather than just being a bent bit of steel the designers at NZXT have taken the time to sculpt it to some degree, again improving its looks and overall aesthetic. They've also been canny and figured that if you've got a nice looking a bracket with a lot of tubes and wires passing through it you're not going to want those wires and tubes dangling around the place and making the case look like its vomiting snakes. To this end subtle cable tie points are built into the bracket enabling you to tuck all the offending items neatly out of the way. NZXT have also added a two tone 92mm fan to aid VRM cooling, and perhaps indirectly a bit of airflow over the GPU RAM. They've also been very astute, and although we're sure they'd much prefer you to partner it with one of their own coolers, NZXT have ensured that that the G10 is in fact compatible with a good many other coolers. Not to mention most modern GPUs from both camps.
Assembling the G10 isn't complicated as such, but it is a bit of a fiddle and regardless of your man card status you will find yourself having to "Check" the instructions from time to time, you know, just to make sure you've got it right. What you're building is basically an AIO cold plate sandwich with a 92mm fan on the side to additional VRM cooling. Inserting the assembly in your Motherboard is no more complicated than inserting a GPU normally but with the added challenge of having a radiator and fan dangling off the end of it.
In reviewing cooling related kit we would often comment on their noise characteristics, and although the G10 does have a 92mm fan to a larger degree the amount of noise you generate will depend more on the choice of AIO and fans you opt for, and of course the speed you run them at.
As with the noise, the performance you can expect to achieve will depend on the AIO you couple the G10 with. To test the G10 and to provide a basis for comparison, we partnered it with the Kraken X40 and tested it with the same R9 290 board that we recently tested the Morpheus with. The results speak for themselves, even with the Kraken X40, which is by no means a big fat chart topping AIO the G10 is still able to give a massive 40 degree reduction in max temps over the stock cooler. It also garners a decent 10 degrees off the temps given by the Morpheus. Just imagine what it could do when combined with and X60!
It's hard to compare the G10 with similar products because to a greater extent, there's little out there that can offer what the G10 is able to. The only other real option being aftermarket air coolers such as the Morpheus. At £30 the G10 isn't all that expensive. Granted you will also have to factor in the cost of an AIO. However, even with this caveat, with more and more affordable cases offering native water support in more than one location we have more than a sneaking suspicion that the G10 is going to be very popular indeed.
It goes without saying that the G10 gets the gold award, and for coming up with something so simple yet so brilliant we’re bestowing the highly coveted OC3D innovation award.
Thanks to NZXT for sending in the G10, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.