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This review is from: NZXT Kraken X61 RL-KRX61-01 280mm All-In-One Water / Liquid CPU Cooling Solution
Pros: Quality seems quite high, with both radiator and fans feeling very premium. Installation was pretty straightforward. I went with a push configuration, with it top mounted and acting as an exhaust. Temps are pretty much the same that I was getting on air, with between 30-35C at idle and around 55C on load (not overclocked). I kept the stock thermal paste and installed it according to the instructions.
The ability to change the LED is very cool; thankfully there are makers out there who understand people have different themes going on. So kudos to NZXT on that one! Green is such a hard LED to find these days.
Cons: Included instructions are a little vague and lacking in depth. As a water cooling noob it would have been nice to get some more detail on how to actually put this thing together. But I got an instructional video online so no biggie.
When it comes to noise, I honestly couldn't tell you what's normal for water cooling, but I can relate what I've noticed so far. Upon boot, a small 'gurlging' or 'clicking' can be heard for a few seconds but instantly goes away; I attribute this to the pump simply powering up. Other than that, I can't even hear the thing unless I take off the panel and put my ear right next to it. Even during gaming, the pump is barely heard. The fans are also very silent, only kicking in if temps breach 50C (which I told them to do in my custom fan profile).
The CAM software is...well...not that great. On the plus side it gives me good temp readings for both the CPU and the liquid inside the pump, so that's nice. But on the downside, when CAM is running my pump 'clicks' every few seconds. Very noticeable and obvious. The second I exit the software, the clicking stops. After some Googling, this is apparently a common problem with the Kraken. Not enough to make me want to return it, but it solved my clicking problem instantly. Everything can't be perfect I guess.
Other Thoughts: This is the very first time I've dealt with water cooling, so I kept it simple and stuck with an AIO so the hassle would be minimal. I bought this directly from NZXT along with a case since this was my first time, so I figured straight from the manufacturer was the way to go. It fit perfectly and I honestly couldn't be happier. The CAM software glitch prevents this from getting 5 eggs, but really I'm sure a patch could fix that.
This is a first impression review; obviously, time will be the ultimate factor. So as that goes on, I can report back on the quality of this product, and if their infamous 6 yr warranty holds up when the time comes.
Core i7 4790k 4.0GHZ (stock)
16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866
Intel SSD 730
GTX 980 in SLI
This review is from: NZXT H440 Razer Steel Mid Tower Case
Pros: My first impression so far with this case is that it is well constructed. It feels premium and heavy, something I actually prefer to the lighter plastic cases out there. There is a decent amount of space, even with the PSU shroud at the bottom. Cable management was pretty good despite the foam on the side panel. Maybe it's because I don't have a plethora of components, but I found the side panel to be relatively easy to put back on after I organized all my cables. Took a bit of effort but nothing that I'd call a pain.
The PSU basement is a very nice feature, one that I didn't even know existed except I stumbled across a video featuring the H440 original. I was intrigued and did more research and found I absolutely love it. Really presents a clean look. Plus it matches my theme build (green & black) so it was a natural choice.
The I/O lighting is a subtle but thoughtful idea, and though I'm sure NZXT isn't the first to capitalize on it, I gotta give them credit for including it.
I like the tinted window. I'm not out to blind onlookers with my LEDs; instead I wanted a subtle yet sleek look that would hint at the awesomeness beyond, but didn't just lay it all out like 'here is my stuff'. Of course it'll depend on what you as the user wants out of it, but I for one don't like just laying bare my entire set up. A little mystery goes a long way in my opinion, and the tinted window strikes a good balance.
Cons: The PSU basement, while presenting a clean and professional look, does make adjusting your power supply cords a hassle. Since I have a full modular power supply, it does take some finesse to work in the tight space when plugging/unplugging cables. But overall that's rather minor considering the trade off is it looking awesome.
Air intake isn't the best. The clean and tailored outside comes at a price, and though there are vents for airflow, not a whole lot gets through especially with the sound dampening foam. Those front fans (and top ones if you so choose) might be a bit starved. Not that everything will start overheating, but I have noticed the inside being several degrees hotter than my previous one.
SLI is going to be a bit tight. I had GTX 980s in SLI in my other rig (the ASUS Matrix ones which are beasts), and temps usually hovered around 32C idle, with the bottom card always a couple degrees hotter. In this case (no pun intended), idling temps are around 38C for the top card and 42C for the bottom. A fairly decent jump considering nothing changed except the case. I contribute that to to the lack of airflow mentioned above. At load (GTA V @ max settings) the temps spike up to 74C (top) and 82C (bottom). But it isn't terrible and still within the safe operating temps stated on ASUS's website.
Other Thoughts: I purchased this straight from the NZXT website; for some reason my OCD told me I'd be less likely to get a dud if I ordered straight from the manufacturer. Though it took longer than expected (almost 7 days), the case arrived undamaged. All the LEDs worked right out of the box however the rear fan hub circuit board was DOA. Wasn't too big a deal, I simply plugged those fans straight into my mobo but still, I was hoping for a bit better quality control.
This is my very first case from NZXT. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. It's extremely hard to find green and black components, so I'm glad NZXT paired up with Razer for this edition. I got a Razer mouse and keyboard but am far from a fanboy; I mainly got it because I really like green. And the case fit the bill of being minimalistic yet still having a sleek and subtle color scheme. I took off an egg because of the DOA fan hub and the somewhat frustrating task of power supply cabling, but other than that this case is doing a very good job of looking good on my desk. Those cons are minor in the long and this will be a good investment for several years.
Pros: Well constructed, sturdy and its weight adds a sense of durability and quality. Packaging was well beyond expectation; could have dropped this from a cliff and it'd probably be just fine. Upon first inspection there were no blemishes, scuff marks or scratches. It was clean and appeared in new condition (I've been fooled before).
There was no need for a software installation by the included CD, Windows recognized it and installed everything it needed. Out of the box color and settings needed tweaking (see cons), but other than that set up was fast and simple. The power button turns on the monitor instantly, as opposed to ones in their previous lineup.
The DisplayPort cable worked as expected and was a sufficient length. The red LED colored base is a nice touch and adds to the rest of my ROG components. The integrated USB ports are handy, though poorly placed.
Cons: The USB ports, while handy no doubt, aren't logically placed. It takes some skill to plug something in when they are so hidden, and half the time I still have to stick my neck under there to figure it out. But it's not brain surgery, and only a minor inconvenience at best. Just worth noting.
The viewing angles aren't the greatest, but workable considering other TN panels I've had the pleasure (and displeasure) of using. And with being a TN panel, historically they haven't been great at color reproduction but I find it quite acceptable in this monitor. The only thing I had to do was download a color profile on the Interwebs that tweaked the settings to their absolute best; out of the box, I agree with most that they are slightly washed out.
The hotkey on the monitor to select the refresh rate is puzzling; if I select 60Hz, down from 144Hz, Windows display adapter settings will still show the monitor at 144Hz. Games will reflect the hotkey position, however, so you can change it in game. But the fact that Windows doesn't keep up is an interesting note. Could be nothing, could be everything.
Color reproduction was quite poor straight out of the box; colors were washed and inaccurate in my opinion. But, having little knowledge on the 'best' settings, I sought out a color profile from the series of tubes and, when enacted, changed the settings to very ideal. Since URLs are not allowed, a simple Google search will lead potential purchasers to several varying profiles at their disposal.
G-Sync, while helpful no doubt, isn't worth the price increase for monitors offering 1440p and 144Hz. This thing is easily three hundred dollars more than its closest Freesync competitor. I understand it's Nvidia's baby, but the gap needs to close. Many buyers are willing to pay a premium, but there's a line and I believe this thing is dangerously close to it, if not slightly past it. One man's opinion though.
Other Thoughts: I purchased this from a different vendor, but place more stock in the Newegg community and wish to repay their insight with thoughts of my own.
I've owned this monitor for just over two months. I purposely didn't review it right away, for fear of something failing in the near future, such as dead pixels or something of that nature. Plus, I wanted to ensure I tested the monitor from every aspect within my power, such as 'stressing' it with GTA V on max settings, at its full resolution and refresh rate (buttery smooth and zero hiccups or tearing, btw). From everyday use to the most graphically intense game I own, I gotta hand it to ASUS that they made a pretty darn good monitor. Its faults are minor and easily overlooked when looking at the big picture. I came from a 1080p, 120Hz monitor and even though the differences on paper are slight, real-world performance was a definite and worthwhile increase.
Three quarters of my build are from ASUS, and that's not on accident. They make good products, at a steep price mind you, but I feel that it's justified because of quality. Your results obviously may vary, but at least for me I've yet to have something from them fail or be DOA. It was a good purchase, an investment really, and I hope it serves me for years to come.
My build for comparisons sake (nothing is overclocked)
i7 4790k 4.0GHz
16GB Corsair 1866MHz/CAS 9
730 Intel SSD
GTX 980 in SLI
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit