NZXT Kraken X52 All-In-One CPU Liquid Cooler Review

NZXT has been stepping up its cooling game this year, and the Kraken X52 All-In-One represents its "in between" liquid CPU cooler model for those cases with somewhat limited space for the radiator. The Kraken X52 comes with a healthy feature set that has most of the bells and whistles that are needed to make it competitive.



The NZXT Kraken X52 is an excellent addition to the NZXT lineup. The performance of the X52 makes it a great cooler for gamers or enthusiasts looking for excellent cooling but can’t fit larger 280mm radiators in their setup. At 240mm, the Kraken X52 should be able to fit inside most gaming cases or on top of, as is the situation with our setup. The X52 performs very well at stock but this cooler is most definitely overkill if all you’re looking to do is cool down your CPU at stock levels. At overclocked speeds the X52 performs even better, though that largely depends at what speed you run the fans at. At full speed, you’ll get top tier performance but be ready to pay for it with your ears. Turning the fans down will give you near total silence but the CPU temps will hover around the eighty-degree Celsius mark.

The LED lighting of the Kraken X52, as with the X42, is sharp looking. The "infinity mirror effect" stands out and gives the X52 a superior style that can be configured to fit any color theme your system might have. It adds a unique flavor to the Kraken AIO coolers but I’ll leave that up to your individual tastes to determine if it’s of value or not.


The charts below show the cost you will pay for each degree in temperature reduction the heat sink gives you over the stock cooler. The two areas that influence this chart are cost of the heat sink and its performance. An expensive cooler that gives you superior performance will be rated as average since its cost hurts its rating. Inversely, a poor performing heat sink that costs next to nothing will be rated as average since its performance will hurt its ratings. We ideally look for low cost and high performance. All prices were gathered by doing a very quick search of the web for each cooler and listing it here sans S/H and tax (these can vary widely from region to region). We use MSRP pricing for those not yet found in stock.

As an example, if a cooler outperforms the stock cooler by 10C and costs USD $5.00 it would be listed in our chart as $.50. You would pay fifty cents for each degree of better performance over the box cooler.

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To arrive at a single number difference, we took the value of all four cores from our overclocked tests, averaged these and then compare these for analysis.

The Bottom Line

You may have noticed that there is no current support listed for AMD's new Ryzen AM4 socket. Today we reviewed the Kraken X52 model number RL-KRX52-01; this kit does not have AM4 support. NZXT has released it updated Kraken X52 model number RL-KRX52-02; this kit does have AM4 socket support. If you currently own, or purchase an NZXT Kraken series cooler that does not have AM4 socket support, NZXT has you covered with a free AM4 mounting braket, and you can find all the instructions on this page for obtaining the AM4 bracket. Certainly NZXT gets kudos for this type of excellent customer support, and this might very well be considered in your decision to purchase from NZXT or not.

If you already have a Kraken or are purchasing one that doesn’t already include the AM4 bracket, no need to worry. We will provide you with a free AM4 bracket kit. All you need to do is follow the directions below.

The NZXT Kraken X52 AIO's MSRP is $149.99. It is selling at Amazon for $146.37 with Prime Shipping, and Newegg for $149.99. That is a lot of money to cool down your CPU. It’s at this point you need to ask yourself what matters the most to you. Do you want performance above all else but need to save a bit of money and don’t need any lighting effects? If so, the Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 240 is an option as it performs near-identically (with a much lower sound profile due to its stock push/pull fan configuration) but costs $60 less today. Free AM4 support is also offered by Arctic. If your budget is much more flexible then the Kraken X52 gives you the performance of the best coolers on the market today but with a lot more style.

There is no doubt that NZXT has created an amazing cooler in the Kraken X52. It looks great and performs better than almost anything on the market today, but there is a price for its "infinity mirror effect" and sound profile.

For its elite level performance and sharp LED lighting we happily award the NZXT Kraken X52 the HardOCP Silver Award.

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NZXT Kraken X52 All-In-One CPU Liquid Cooler