Face-Off: The Kraken X61, Reserator 3 Max Dual, And NH-D15

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Jul 21, 2008
If you're not going to take the time to build a custom loop, put your e peen away and go play in the sandbox. Performance gains of a closed loop are negligible over air coolers. Build your own custom loop, then you actually have something to brag about and very nice temps to boot.


Jan 29, 2009
I don´t see much point of these big dual radiators. They are much more expensive and noisier for a relatively small gain in thermal performance.
The biggest advantage of air cooler is not only being cheaper and quieter, but for me, the possibility of completely shutting down the FAN itself on a semi-passive system. Semi-passive for internet browsing, light gaming and watching movies is the way to go for future computers. It has only advantages: Less dust accumulation, less noise and much higher lifespan of the fan's bearings. The small heatsinks and worse thermal transfer of regular plastic+water pipes of CC WCs (compared to regular heat-pipes) can´t handle semi-passive. Well, maybe with the Skylake higher energy efficiency at idle in the future one could stretch it, (but the water pump would still be needed to kept on), but still there are all the other drawbacks.



Closed loop is not super efficient but it works. Personally I like my H100i as I can have whatever memory I want without worry it will get in the way of the cooler. That's the one issue with these massive air heatsinks.

Not to say someone shouldn't get them if they so choose but if I wanted say Corsair Dominator Platinum memory sticks that would have to be a major consideration with such a large heatsink, as would any sort of warping that could happen due to the weight of it.

To each their own but if they can get a similar sized pump that's more powerful it might help make them better.


Oct 25, 2014
If they ever make an AIO that is filled with non-electrically conductive fluid, I'll bite, until then, I'd probably stick with air cooler.

Ugly air cooler? No concern, I don't stare at my HSF when I game. If I really cared about looks, I would have returned my 'red' (actually pink) phanteks HSF and gotten V8 GTS instead.

The failure of a system resulting from an overloaded HSF is usually gradual (unless your mobo simply couldn't cope with the mass, then it will suddenly break immediately after you mount it), and chances are mobo will fail before something catastrophic happens to the rest of the system. With water, it is usually immediately catastrophic if a leak occurs.

Yes, I am paranoid, but that paranoia is hard dispell because I am inherently afraid of water running through a computing system, not actually afraid of a leak. Give me a cooling fluid that is electrically insulating (hence no danger of shorting), I'll probably bite.


Sep 30, 2010
This is too niche. Modern Intel CPUs barely reach 100W overclocked and that's nothing compared to the old days. If anything cooling solution today don't have the impact they had before since CPUs became more efficient. It's true AIOs are smaller but occupying two 140mm intake fan mounts on a case is not an easy compromise when there are GPUs that need cooling.


Aug 13, 2013

Since the overclock on a cpu is still bottlenecked by the cooler I'd argue against it, sure if you want to oc to 4ghz or something yes you don't need a big cooler but I oc my ivy bridge to way higher numbers as such an expensive cooler is needed though I must admit that the improvement over my dual fan scythe mugan 2 is marginal. I also only oc when needed which is pretty much for wii emulation and planetside 2. When I don't I just turn off the fans on my AIO. and if you have a big case there is not much of a compromise in cooling.


Mar 20, 2009
I started water cooling with a custom loop when it just began and the fountain water pump, fairly popular failed leaking after 5ish years.

I moved onto a h60 and while it didn't have the performance or silence of the custom loop provided a plug and play system until the pump failed after a couple years.

I now have my D14 and while the fans may fail I know it shouldn't damage my equipment though the size is a considerable drawback.

King Kevain

Dec 10, 2014
I think the point of the test and to give a baseline comparison to stock coolers out of the box with no tweaking. Once you start adding custom fans, 3rd party Fan Management systems and so forth, the test becomes extremely subjective and that's not how you compare things in a test environment.

This test only measures the cooler performance, there are so many other considerations - a Radiator ports the heat directly out the case, Midi or mini ATX cases can have very bad air flow depending on the design and the skill of the builder, so it's not always Ideal to have a big donk of a D14/15, even though it is well noted they perform very well.

IMO if your going to complain about $20/$30 paying more or less for a supposed better cooler, why would you pay 50-75% more for the latest CPU to OC if you're going to skimp on cooling or power? Splurge that extra $50-75 on a quality case and buy a quality PSU - no exceptions - spend extra $$$ and replace the stock case fans.

If you're not going to OC, then realistically you shouldn't need anything better than stock unless you live in a very hot climate or your trying to make your build look pretty.

You don't drop a Hemi in your car and expect performance by running a stock air intake, carburettor and exhaust system - a PC is the same.
Despite the Noctua being my choice, the NZXT Kraken X61 makes an impressive appearance, now if the price was a scant 15-20$ less, then I would be thinking twice about stressing my mobo with the Noctua.


May 30, 2008
I've spent about 4 years now on a Corsair H50 closed-loop liquid cooler. It's a single 120mm design and it uses the standard MoBo fan connections. The pump always runs at full speed (1366 rpm, If I recall correctly) but it's almost silent. I've messed about with different fans and was using push/pull for a couple of years. Push/Pull is generally a waste unless you're using weak fans (Noctuas are historically weak) and trying to get air through thick finnage. Generally the rads on these all-in-one systems are only 1 inch to 1-3/8 inch, so it's not a problem for a middling to strong fans to get air through the finnage. The Push/Pull fad took root back in the early days of single block, super thick air heatsink and Noctua fan combos when this setup actually helped performance. Noctua blathers about high-tech but the main factor in reducing noise is reducing fan-speed. Put some cheap 2300 rpm Coolermaster fans on that same air-sink and the temps would probably get down even if not cooler than the Kraken X61. I really like the liquid CPU coolers for the neat and tidy look (provided you have a good place to mount the rad in the case), also you can drop any mem modules you want into the mem slots without having to worry about obstructions. I use SpeedFan to automatically vary all my case and rad fans and my system is plenty quiet when it isn't working hard. I like that it gets louder when the cpu or gpus are getting a tough workload.
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