Nzxt m22 review

Nzxt m22 review DEFAULT

NZXT Kraken M22 Review - Final Words & Conclusion

Final Words & Conclusion

you know, I adore all Kraken X products we have tested to date. Top-notch performance, silent, great looks. Unfortunately, it's different for the Kraken M The unit offers really nice looks, terrific even. The cooling performance is comparable to a good heat pipe cooler, it will, however, let you down once you start to overclock with the added voltage on your processor. It still performs reasonably well, it's just that the M22 will get loud, fairly fast and remember, this is a 99 Euro/USD costing product. 


So, while the cooling is really reasonable, it remains to be just that. Our 95W Core i7 K is simply put a nasty processor to cool. In a default setup (clocks) the performance is fine. However you are at and we know you will tweak your PC 5 minutes after you assembled it - so we added Volts the temps remained to hover at 77 Degrees C. At Volts reach 80 degrees C (!). And once we fire off Volts at this processor we reach 85 Degrees C. For short bursts of stress, I could be fine with Volts. So from the cooling perspective, it's all very reasonable. The problem, however, when tweaked is that the acoustics rise real fast. 



Noise is something we have discussed, as there hardly is any, at defaults. On previous older model NZXT LCS reviews, we often complained about the fairly high noise levels, this has changed with the Kraken X series. With one mm fan, NZXT is able to make this product silent when the CPU is not tweaked. The fans don't resonate either as they are housed in rubberized inserts, even mounting the screws is done in a rubber socket. The pump we could hear a tiny bit, however that likely can be tweaked out with the right BIOS DC profile. So at the processor at defaults is silent. However, once we added Volts to the CPU, here we already reached 38 DBa (under CPU load wPrime M). That you can hear slightly. After that, the cooling capacity cannot cope with the load. At Volts on the CPU we reached 40 DBa and at Volts a gnarly 45 DBa. 




Overall the looks are very tasteful as far as I am concerned, an all-black design with the subtle shades of grey make it an appealing product to the eyes. Even the fans have been logo marked (dark) tastefully. It is an easy to install and mounting system, and factory filled with coolant in a closed loop. The black design will make this kit look great in any PC. It simply is a good alternative to heat-pipe coolers with the added benefits of being fairly quiet whilst offering very nice looks. No skills are required other than the need for ten minutes to install the kit. The bling is all about the RGB LED system embedded on top of the water-block. Then the wide combination of RGB functionality, animations or color-coded LEDs based on coolant temperature or even your audio is what makes this thing shine. It looks great, and if you dislike it, you can separately disable the NZXT LED logo from the LED rings as well. 


I am battling the M22 a bit. This is supposed to be a mainstream product, so in that essence and thought the cooling performance is right where it should be. The looks are great as well. Where I find the M22 lacking is overclocking cooling capacity and moreover, acoustics. Ther wasn't a lot of room left for a proper tweak at normal acoustic levels. Then again, if you do not plan to tweak or overclock, hey this is a lovely kit you can add-into any chassis. I wasn't a fan of the new mounting kit, the backplate is unconventional to install with the multiple screws, mounting the cooling block took a lot of force and pressure to accomplish. All trivial remarks perhaps for a mainstream segmented product. The thing is, however, this is still a 99 Euro/USD product. And for that amount of money, I expected a tiny bit more cooling capacity and lower noise levels when overclocked. I think the position of that pump smack-down in the middle of the radiator does cost cooling capacity, and thus effects acoustics. So the bottom line, if you need something with decent enough cooling performance and do not plan to tweak and overclock, then you are good to go with the M It has terrific looks and offers the RGB LED suite combined with the CAM integration, that all is nice. For those that require a bit more cooling capacity and acoustics that remains silent, have a peek at the Kraken X series, as that in the end would be better suited for you.

Handy related downloads:


NZXT Kraken M22 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

NZXT and the Kraken series of liquid cooled CPU coolers need no introduction, as they have been in this game nearly as long as it has been played. Over the years we have seen eight variations, today's review being the ninth, in a long run of coolers for NZXT. In that time we have seen the coolers start from infancy, develop into chart-topping performers at one point, and has now moved into coolers that sort the infinity lighting head units, which dress up any rig in a way nobody else is doing. However, with all of the previous coolers in the Kraken series, much of what was going on is the same throughout the line, but not today, as NZXT is trying out something new which is interesting, to say the least.

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Using a smaller AIO, being mm based, it is an excellent launch platform to introduce a new tactic in design. Where most of the AIO on this planet are built with the pump riding atop the cold plate, as of late, is a resurgence to try to move the pump to different locations. We have seen them built into the end of a radiator, we have seen them strapped to the fans, and we have just seen them in-line, but until now we have never seen it placed right smack in the center of the radiators fin array. NZXT locates the pump in the "dead-zone" of these radiators, which is typically covered with the fan hub. The principle is sound as it removed the head from the head unit that the pump creates, and is not somewhat actively cooled. Also using an area that the fan cannot efficiently cool in the radiator seems legit, but we will soon see how it all plays out.

The cooler we have been alluding to is the Kraken M22 from NZXT. It is a departure from other Kraken coolers in different ways too, but we will be saving that to cover in this review. If you are tired of trying what everyone is sending out to the market when it comes to closed-loop liquid CPU coolers and likes to try new things, the Kraken M22 might be the way to go. At this time, we will hold our tongue and allow you to take it all in, see the testing results, and then discuss how we feel. For now, even if this mm AIO might not be up to your cooling requirements, we strongly urge you to have a look at this new direction in AIO design, it is well worth the time.

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The list of specifications offered on the Kraken M22 product page is compact, but it still provides much of what needs to be known. Dimensions are first, where we are shown that the radiator is mm tall, it is mm wide, and is 32mm thick with the side panels, but the fin array is only 27mm in thickness. Aluminum is used for the radiator, copper is used for the transfer plate in the head unit, while plastic is used to encase it. The tubing is mm long, made of rubber and designed for ultra-low evaporation. Beyond that, the tubes are covered with nylon sleeving. The weight is set at less than a kilo, and we see Intel support starts with LGAX and starts with AM2 for AMD.

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There is no mention of where the pump is in the designs, but we can tell you that it is in the radiator. That being said, what we do see about the pump, is that it will spin at RPM, and is powered with a 3-pin fan connection. To cool both the pump and the liquid inside of the radiator, we are sent a single Aer P fan. It can be louder, topping out at 36 dB(A) as it potentially ramps up to the range of to RPM. There is finite control available, but it has to do with the lighting of the head unit. This can be accomplished with the use of CAM software, but you do not have all of the control ability of other Kraken coolers we have tested.

When it comes time to ponder the decision to buy the Kraken M22, we had no issues finding them out in the wild. You can grab it from NZXT where they have it listed for a $ MSRP. However, if you look at Amazon to attempt a better deal, you will find it listed there at $ with free shipping. However, the best deal we saw from a reputable dealer is at Newegg. It is there that the current price of the M22 is set at just $, and again is noted to offer free shipping too. Saving $15 is enough to also grab a case fan or your favorite tube of thermal paste, and if it were us buying the Kraken M22 right now, the choice of where to go is blatantly obvious. In the range of a top of the line air cooler, NZXT has a touch patch to plow going up against the likes of the D and D coolers.


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On the front of the box, NZXT does not do anything fancy to try to overhype this product. On a plain white backdrop, the full Kraken M22 mm Liquid Cooler name is offered up, along with an image of the cooler with the head unit backlit as the only bit of bling.

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The right side of the box is purple, and in eleven languages, NZXT delivers a list of features. They include the addressable RGB lighting, CAM software compatibility, advanced lighting modes, inclusion of the Aer P fan, the reinforced tubing, and that a three-year warranty covers it. At the bottom, we can see the RL-KRM part number, on a sticker, along with EAN and UPC codes with the serial number also present.

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At the back, the left side of it offers a look at the head unit installed on a motherboard while powered. Below it, NZXT explains the lighting and that you can use software to do so. At the bottom are views of the head unit in full RGB display, a look at the fan, and they show the bends that can be made due to the type of tubing used. On the right side, we get a look at the only tab in CAM that works for the M The only thing you can do is address the lighting, not set cooling modes or any cooling related options for that matter.

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The left side of the box is purple again, and this time the specifications take up most of the panel. We also see that NZXT shows us the results they got by overclocking a K to GHz, where the Kraken M22 comes in nineteen degrees better than some version of the Intel stock cooler.

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Once the box is open, you can slide out the recycled cardboard tray. In it, we have the radiator, tubing, and the head unit wrapped in plastic, and they are resting on form-fitting sections of the inner packaging. The fan is near the back edge, and the hardware is behind the fan, under the tubes. The packaging is tried and true for shipping AIO coolers, and our Kraken M22 arrived in perfect condition like many others using this do.

NZXT Kraken M22 CPU Cooler

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The head unit comes with a thick plastic tray under it to protect the base as well as the pre-applied thermal paste, but it also surrounds the Intel brackets that are pre-installed to it as well. The sides of the head unit are made of black textured plastic, while the top has a highly polished cover which allows lighting to pass through it.

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The right side of the head unit is where the ninety-degree swivel fittings are. They are retained with what appears to be plastic clamp "thingies," and some sort of epoxy, which grabs the tubes as well as the braided sleeve. Notice though, no power lead for it.

NZXT Kraken M22 CPU Cooler Review 09 |

If you want more from the lighting that the default selection of a pale blue, verging on white, you will want to connect the USB controller cable to this port, on the top edge of the head unit.

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While we will be wiping this off and replacing it for testing, the pre-applied paste is applied cleanly, there is plenty of it, and it is free of dirt and debris.

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After removing the paste, we get another look at the cold plate. It is made of copper, and has been machined in a circular pattern. Like many other coolers, the base is convex, and with appropriate mounting pressure, will make superior contact to the CPU than if it were completely flat.

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The tubes that run from the head unit to the radiator are said to be mm, which is much closer to sixteen inches than the fifteen inches we see in our example. We won't beat them over the head for this, as the length is sufficient, and not all AIOs offer this much length.

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The sides of the radiator are dressed up slightly with the play on blacks, as the matte finish of the radiator nearly hides the somewhat smoother NZXT on the side. We can also see that the side panels are wider than the core of the radiator and allows the fan to build more speed and pressure if placed on the back.

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The radiator is standard in most aspects, including the fact that a high FPI is used. However, there is a black cover in the middle of this one. That is where the pump is located, technically on the other side, where there is a twenty-two inch long 3-pin power connector attached to it.

Accessories and Documentation

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On the left is the AMD head unit mounting bracket, and it appears that the C-clip style brackets slide on and off the head unit with no screws needed to retain them. The composite backplate is in the middle, and it is universally used for all of the AMD sockets, and all Intel sockets outside of LGA20xx. That leaves us with the USB controller cable at the right, which is the only way you can make changes to the lighting, while also using the CAM software.

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The parts in the bag to the left contain the LGA hardware, with the set of studs and washers. To the right we have the standoffs and screws for them on the left, the long fan screws, spacers, and spring loaded nuts are in the middle, and we also got eight washers and a set of short fan screws.

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The Aer P fan comes with a black frame surrounding seven widely spaced blades. The 4-pin fan connector is how it is powered, and we do like that the cable is sleeved. As for color in this area, this sticker is the only color, as the fan is not RGB capable, or illuminated in any fashion.

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The manual for the M22 is thorough and will get you through to completion of the installation. No matter the socket type, the instructions take you step-by-step, for all variations, and along with the parts list for reference, you should be able to go from opening the box to having the cooler installed in as little time as possible.

Installation and Finished Product

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The first step we took to set up the hardware was to place the keyed end of the standoffs in the correct holes for LGAx. Once they are pressed into the backplate, you then take the fine threaded screws and attach the standoffs to the backplate, which is done on the flip side of the plate. Once that is done, we could move on.

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Flipping the motherboard over allows us to drop the backplate down onto the motherboard. There is no padded or isolation material, but since it is made of a composite of plastics, there doesn't need to be any. Also, both ends of the plate have three holes, so orientation isn't an issue to deal with.

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Holding on to the backplate while turning the motherboard over keep the standoffs in the holes. It is at this time that we were instructed to install the plastic spacers. The spacers are snug, and once in place, adds grip to the standoffs, so the plate will not slide right out the back.

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We then applied our thermal paste of choice, set the head unit on the CPU, and screwed the spring loaded nuts in until we ran out of threads. An X-pattern is recommended of a few turns on each screw to get the pressure even, and when it came it installation we ran into nothing like RAM clearance or anything noteworthy.

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In the middle of mounting the radiator, we had a thought cross our mind, and is why we stopped with the installation halfway through. While there is plenty of length to get the radiator installed anywhere we wanted to, we made the realization that the pump is now the highest point in the loop, and that is not a good thing for an AIO.

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Since nothing about the radiator or the fan changes when the system is powered on, we get up close and personal with the head unit for the last image. As the default setting, this is the color and circular rotating pattern applied to the head unit. To change this in pre-set modes or address the ring of LEDs individually, you will need to install the CAM software. Otherwise, what you see is what you get.

Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results

Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications

To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article (October ) for more information.

Thermal Results

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We see that the numbers in the chart on the box were not that far off. We are nearly twenty-degrees better than the stock cooler, with our CPU at default settings. However, compared to others in this long list of submissions, there is only one other AIO this size to do worse. Handily beat by many more affordable coolers does not help matters either, but the M22 did give us what the box says we should have seen.

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At this point, the stock cooler hit the throttle point, and the Kraken M22 is still close to that twenty-degree difference. degrees is a bit much for our liking, but it can keep the CPU from throttling, which the stock cooler cannot do.

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This test is less about how much better it is than other coolers, although that is part of it, what we want to see is how much cooling is left in the tank. We were able to drop the temperature two degrees to degrees now, but we still feel its position in the chart says a lot about the Kraken M

Noise Level Results

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Thirty decibels is a fair result when it comes to what the PWM circuit delivers with the processor under load with stock settings. At this time, the fan is turning at RPM to achieve the earlier thermal results we showed, and while not the best, is still respectable.

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With the overclock applied to the CPU, the heat increases, and we move higher in the fan curve. The 37 dB result at this time is still good, and won't drown out all other noises in the room. The fan at this time is turning at RPM, but there is still quite a bit of speed left to try.

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Bring on the noise. With the fans now spinning at RPM, the noise level coming from this tiny Kraken M22 is beastly. The massive amount of noise at 60 dB for this round of testing is so not worth it, especially looking at how little efficiency is gained when dealing with it.

Final Thoughts

We may sound like a broken record here at some point, but these AIO makers are not making our job easy to do anymore. When this all started, sure, it was about the money, but it was also about delivering a product that is well worth the investment. We had to deal with noise when we pushed the CPU, but most people game with headphones these days, and won't hear the cooler much anyways. At idle or during daily tasks at the PC, all AIOs are silent, as they should be. We do not get this trend of moving to silence in all aspects of use, the companies expecting the same amount of money for doing so, with much less benefit to the end-user. What makes it even worse for the Kraken M22 is that it is only a mm fan based radiator. If it were more substantial, you could get away with less fan, but with such a small area to cool, the wall NZXT is trying to climb kept getting taller as they work their way up it.

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Granted, we did get the temperature difference between testing the Kraken M22 and our version of an Intel stock cooler. At first glance, it seems impressive, but we have no details on the test system used, so while NZXT got as low as degrees, we could only beat that number with a stock CPU. Once overclocked, we quickly passed that number. While you do get what is advertised, you need to see it in perspective to truly appreciate what you are getting, or what you aren't getting instead. We do like that they tried new things by moving the pump out of the head unit, but no defined result shows it to be better than a conventional design. Taking into account what NZXT is asking when buying the Kraken M22, we need more than RGB LEDs in the head unit; even an RGB LED fan would have us a bit more excited. That and the fact that the M22 only gets basic options in CUE, no longer supporting quiet, balanced, and performance modes for the cooler setup, we felt a bit let down.

If you are looking at this cooler online, and see the $ price, we would quickly pass. Even finding it at the lowest price we saw of $ at Newegg, while you may feel better initially, you will soon lose that feeling once you use the Kraken M Overall, against all of the coolers we tested, it does not make a bunch of sense to grab a cooler like this when $50 and even more affordable single tower mm cooler will suffice, and provide better results. We feel bad for this review and hammering on the Kraken M22 so much, but with everything there, spread out on the table for everyone to see, they leave us little choice on how to feel and what we can say to bolster the image of the Kraken M

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We might be a one-man crusade to get more from these manufacturers, but asking someone to pay nearly $ for a CPU cooler, it needs to be an excellent cooler first, and then worry about noise levels, not the other way around. We feel that the entire industry has moved to handing us poop on a plate and calling it dinner. Since NZXT has taken to this trend and is happy to continue taking your money, they can now be lumped in here as well. Fancy lighting isn't going to cut it for us.


The Bottom Line: We will give NZXT credit for offering another way to move the pump off the head unit in an AIO, and doing it cleanly. However, for what you pay, and the results we presented, there is little value to be had in the Kraken M22!

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Chad Sebring

Chad Sebring

Chad joined the TweakTown team in and has since reviewed s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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The NZXT M22 is one of the stranger liquid coolers made by a relatively large liquid cooling manufacturer. NZXT dumped Asetek for this mm closed-loop cooler, instead opting for a pump-in-radiator design that circumvents Asetek patents and permits sale in the US. The M22 is a complement to NZXT’s Asetek products at the high-end, but comes in at $ and mm. That’s a bit high for a mm liquid cooler, particularly considering that competition from EVGA’s CLC comes in at $70 and is made by the familiar Asetek, but its performance may make up for the price differential. Today, we’ll find out.

Primary competition in this price class includes NZXT’s own Kraken X42, a mm Asetek-made design, and mm units from the same price class. NZXT’s M22 ships for $ MSRP, and at that price, it’s competing (strictly in price) with the likes of the EVGA CLC , the Corsair Hi V2, and NZXT’s units. If we look strictly at size class, the EVGA CLC competes most directly at $ Despite its low price, that’s still a modern Asetek unit; it uses the same pump as any higher-end cooler, just has fewer fans. It’s not cheap garbage – it’s not something we recommend, either, but it’s not going to fall apart.

It’s a fierce market at $ Even air coolers would reach equivalence or superior performance than NZXT’s M They’re going for one demographic, and one only: Has RGB LEDs and is exactly mm. That’s it. That’s the demo. If you’re not that, it’s really not worth the time or money to grab the M

To NZXT’s credit, the LED integration is the best-in-class for a mm liquid cooler. It’s also expensive, so that makes for an odd combination of size and price.


NZXT M22 Tear-Down

Our NZXT Kraken M22 tear-down revealed the design as unique in its ability to bypass Asetek’s patent, but flawed in its execution. Placing the pump centrally in the radiator does minimize the negative impact to airflow, as that’s (mostly) a dead-zone for the fan’s hub, but still has some bleed-over into critical areas of the fan blade. No air will get through that block, obviously, and it’s taking the place of heat-spreading fins. There’s a small, shallow 5-blade impeller inside of the pump housing and no fins in the central pump area. It’s just an impeller and a small electromagnet (motor), and that’s it. The microfins are still on the opposite side of the coldplate,

A lot of block space is wasted in this design. Flow is inefficiently routed and impeller design on the radiator eats critical cooling area. The M22 is made by Apaltek, not Asetek, and NZXT didn’t have much of an alternative to circumvent their partner’s (Asetek) patents with pump-on-block design.

CPU Cooler Test Methodology

CPU cooler testing is conducted using the bench defined below. We use a bench that is more carefully crafted for noise performance, opting for a passively cooled PSU and 23% RPM Ti blower fan for very low system noise.

We strongly believe that our thermal testing methodology is among the best on this side of the tech-media industry. We've validated our testing methodology with thermal chambers and have proven near-perfect accuracy of results.

Conducting thermal tests requires careful measurement of temperatures in the surrounding environment. We control for ambient by constantly measuring temperatures with K-Type thermocouples and infrared readers. Two K-Type thermocouples are deployed around the test bench: One (T1) above the bench, out of airflow channels, and one (T2) approximately " in front of the cooler's intake fan. These two data points are averaged in a spreadsheet, creating a T3 value that is subtracted second-to-second from our AIDA64 logging of the CPU cores.

All six CPU cores are totaled and averaged second-to-second. The delta value is created by subtracting corresponding ambient readings (T3) from the average CPU core temperature. We then produce charts using a Delta T(emperature) over Ambient value. AIDA64 is used for logging thermals of silicon components, including the CPU and GPU diodes. We additionally log core utilization and frequencies to ensure all components are firing as expected. Voltage levels are measured in addition to fan speeds, frequencies, and thermals.

The cores are kept locked to GHz (x38 multiplier). VCore voltage is locked to v for the CPU. C-States are disabled, as is all other power saving. The frequency is locked without any interference from boost or throttle functions. This is to ensure that the CPU does not undergo any unexpected/uncontrollable power saving or boost states during testing, and ensures that the test platform remains identical from one device to the next.

Fan speeds are manually controlled unless otherwise defined. For liquid coolers, pumps are set to % speed unless otherwise defined.

No open bench fans are used for these CPU cooler tests. Only fans which are provided with the cooler are used.

We use an AMPROBE multi-diode thermocouple reader to log ambient actively. This ambient measurement is used to monitor fluctuations and is subtracted from absolute GPU diode readings to produce a delta value. For these tests, we configured the thermocouple reader's logging interval to 1s, matching the logging interval of GPU-Z and AIDA Data is calculated using a custom, in-house spreadsheet and software solution.

Our test starts with a s idle period to gauge non-gaming performance. A script automatically triggers the beginning of a CPU-intensive benchmark running Prime95 LFFTs. Because we use an in-house script, we are able to perfectly execute and align our tests between passes.

40dBA Noise Normalized Tests

1 nzxt m22 noise normalized

Let’s start with the noise-normalized data, then we’ll get into flat-out testing with more liquid coolers on the chart.

Normalized at 40dBA across the board, the NZXT Kraken M22 falls in dead last, attributable in part to reduced surface area for heat spreading. The M22 operated at 54 degrees Celsius over ambient when restricted to 40dBA, markedly behind the EVGA CLC – a cooler that we didn’t much like – at 49 degrees over ambient. The reason we didn’t like the CLC was mostly because alternative mm products performed better, quieter, and were not distant in price at the time. Looking to the Kraken X42, the difference in performance is tremendous – it’s about 10 degrees cooler at 40dBA than the M22, and costs about $15 more via retail channels like Amazon. That’s money well spent. The EVGA CLC is available for $90 via Amazon these days, with the Corsair HiV2 at $ Either one of these would be a significantly better choice in terms of cooling at the price – even the CLC would be, though we still advise against it, even at $

Over Time Performance

2 nzxt m22 vs evga over time all

Additionally, here’s an over-time chart that shows the EVGA CLC with the NZXT fan and the EVGA fan, allowing us to determine whether the thermal difference was a result of the fans or a result of the radiator and pump design. The NZXT fan is cooler overall across our power cycling torture test, and also deals better with soaks. This leads us to believe that it’s not the fan that’s inferior – it’s actually better – but the radiator and pump design.

Let’s move on to flat-out thermals.

Flat-Out Thermal Testing

3 nzxt m22 flat out thermals

For this chart, the NZXT M22 lands again toward the bottom at 53 degrees, around equivalence with a slowed-down RPM EVGA CLC , which operates significantly quieter than the max-speed M22’s dBA.

The X52, a cooler that we shunted in favor of the X62, is a few degrees warmer than the M22 when cut down to RPM, landing at degrees Celsius over ambient. It’s way more expensive than the M22, but the HiV2 isn’t – it’s $5 more, and at a heavily slowed-down and quieted RPM, the HiV2 performs at around 44 degrees over ambient. Unless you absolutely need both the mm form factor and the lighting effects, it’s hard to find a place for the M

Noise Testing

4 nzxt m22 noise levels

Moving to noise, at % fan speeds, the M22 operates at dBA – not too distant from the X42 at RPM, which creates a dBA total system noise. The EVGA CLC is capable of maintaining a lower noise level with equivalent performance, or significantly higher noise levels at max fan speed. That part is up to the user.

Conclusion: Is the Kraken M22 Worth It?

No. It’s not.

The M22 has specifically one worthwhile use case: A buyer who wants both a high-quality RGB LED implementation and a mm form factor. If they can go mm, we’d say buy the X42 at $ It’s far superior in just about every way, and is more endurance-tested with the Asetek design. If the buyer doesn’t care about LEDs and can fit a bigger radiator, just about anything would make more sense for performance. The Hi V2 is often cheaper (or maximally $5 more) than the M The EVGA CLC is often cheaper. The X42 is nearby in price.

The M22 is good primarily for one very specific user: Someone who needs mm – and for whom even NZXT’s own X42 won’t suffice – and also needs advanced RGB LEDs. Even an air cooler would offer better performance than the M22 – particularly at the value.

We can’t recommend the cooler in general. It’s unimpressive and expensive. We’d put it at about $$80 of value. We commend NZXT and Apaltek for the unique design approach, but find it lacking in every performance metric. The LEDs look good, though.

Editorial, Testing: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Tearing Down a Strange Liquid Cooler - NZXT M22 Pump-in-Rad

Kraken M22

Low Stock


MM Liquid Cooler

Get liquid cooling that fits almost anywhere you need it.

  • Individually addressable RGB lighting and infinity mirror design
  • User friendly controls with NZXT CAM
  • One mm Aer P radiator fan with chamfered intake and fluid dynamic bearings
  • Fine nylon mesh sleeves strengthens rubber tubing to protect from leaks
  • 3-year warranty
  • The product is not compatible with Kraken G12

CPU Compatibility

  • Intel LGA: , , , , , , ,
  • Intel Series: i5, i3, Pentium, Celeron
  • AMD Socket: AM4, FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2
  • AMD Series: Ryzen, FX, Athlon X4, Athlon X2, A-Series APU, Phenom, Phenom II, Athlon, Athlon II, Sempron

Efficient and Customizable

Reinforced Extended Tubing

Installation Accessories



M22 review nzxt

NZXT's long-running Kraken line has become synonymous with great-performing AIO cooling products. But the company is expanding its lineup, including the comparatively diminutive Kraken M22 that we're looking at here, which features a mm aluminum radiator and signature RGB accented center hub. Does the NZXT Kraken M22 have the performance and feature set to make it stand out despite its comparatively compact size? The short answer is yes. 

The NZXT Kraken M22 arrives in the box armed with interchangeable mounting plates and hardware to support most current Intel and AMD sockets, minus AMD's big, power-hungry Threadripper platform. A single mm NZXT Aer P fan rated to RPM is also included. And while sleek and handsome in design, the fan isn't RGB capable, or equipped with any lighting options at all.


Thickness" (mm) (" / mm w/fans)
Width" (mm)
Depth" (mm)
Pump Height" (mm)
Cooling Fans(1) x 25mm
Connectors(1) 3-pin, (3) 4-Pin PWM, USB to 9-pin
Weight ounces (kg)
Intel Sockets, x, , x
AMD SocketsAM2(+), AM3(+) AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Warranty6 years


A Mini-B-USB-topin cable connects the cooling block port to internal USB motherboard header to manage lighting options through NZXT's CAM software.

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The NZXT CAM software provides a pleasant user interface for controlling and monitoring your complete system, including other components like storage drives, graphics cards, and RAM, but it does not control the cooler’s pump speed. Each ‘gauge’ readout in CAM can also be toggled to a timeline graph view, as well. Lighting control and an RGB color picker is available for defining the LED lighting behind the infinity mirror cooler top, along with different presentation options, depending on how you want your M22 to look.

NZXT CAM software also communicates system reporting data back to NZXT's serviers. While this is openly communicated via a user agreement and terms of service window that you're required to tick before accessing CAM, it has still been a hotly debated internet forum topic. Those who are wary of sending their data to someone else's cloud can simply skip the software installation, since CAM isn’t required for the Kraken M22 to function. But if you do so, you will miss out on the features it provides.

Remember that part about how CAM doesn’t control the pump flow and curve on the M22?  That’s because the pump itself is not mounted in the traditional location atop the CPU bloc. Instead, the NZXT mounted the Kraken M22's pump within the center of the radiator itself. The PWM cable snaking out from the center of the mm aluminum heat exchanger provides us the evidence needed to confirm its location.

You might assume that this would interfere with airflow provided by the cooling fan. But in reality, the dead space directly behind the fan hub center aligns with the pump position, so airflow restriction should be minimal.

The top of the Kraken M22 block features the NZXT infinity mirror design, which lives up to its name by being unbelievable reflective. Depending on lighting conditions, you may not actually be able to see the customizable lighting effects atop your CPU.

The cooling plate at the bottom of the Kraken M22 is milled copper and arrives with factory-applied thermal compound. The interchangeable mounting plates also twist on and off around a fitted groove near the bottom of the cooling block chamber.

The Mini-B USB header port is tucked away on what would be considered the ‘top’ of the cooler if the infinite mirror bezel and the illuminated NZXT logo is facing outward toward you.  While this does seem to be an odd location, once the cooling unit is installed it actually makes logical sense as the cable can easily be routed with other cables either behind or beside the motherboard. Also, having the USB header directly below could interfere with graphic cards on motherboards that have a single PCI-e slot.

Since the Kraken M22 uses a single mm radiator, its installation footprint is rather compact, making it a good choice for smaller form factors and home theater builds. The I/O ports on the cooling block exit at a 90 degree angle and also swivel for ease of tubing placement, while the I/O ports on the radiator are immobile. We did not encounter any clearance issues with memory DIMMs or any other system hardware, even with the cooler’s tubing protruding from one side of the cooler block.

MORE: Best CPU Cooling

MORE: How To Choose A CPU Cooler

MORE: All Cooling Content

Current page: Features and Specifications

Next PageTesting Results & Conclusion
Дешевле у NZXT НЕТ! ➔ Kraken M22 на 120мм

out of 5 starsSocket

Reviewed in the United States on May 22,

Style: Z73 mmSize: Kraken ZColor: BlackVerified Purchase

I am editing my previous review. The X bracket does in fact support socket from Intel. I used Noctua NT-H2 thermal grease, and currently run a K CPU. Idle temps are around degrees Celsius. The highest I've seen it go, according to the display on this cooler, was around 45 degrees Celsius. The radiator is front mounted with fans pushing the air inwards.

The pump is really silent too. I had to feel the lines from the pump to reservoir just to verify it was working. The included fans are extremely silent too. With 11 fans in total, none of them (9 of which are NZXT) can be heard unless up close to the case.

And how can I forget about the display!? You can only rotate images once, 90 degrees clockwise. My memory is so close to the socket that the lines would have rubbed on one of the sticks. I rotated the cooler counter clockwise, only to find out I moved it in the wrong direction. There's a variety of options under the CAM software. CPU, GPU, CPU and GPU, liquid temps, and more. Let's not forget GIFs! Uploading was very easy. I just wish it would let you crop more of the image in. Nowadays, it's easy to make a GIF from your phone from a video. So theoretically, you can record a video, make it a GIF, transfer it to your computer, then upload it to the LCD screen. That way, you can have a video of your child, cat, dog, or whatever you want showing on your pump screen.

It's a bit pricey. Only being able to rotate images once clockwise by 90 degrees is annoying. Not being able to install it the intended way without it rubbing on the first stick of RAM is annoying too. But overall, I like it. It's silent. It shows different computer stats. It plays GIFs. It's silent. It keeps my CPU much cooler than I thought it would. And it's really sleek. I would recommend this to anyone serious about AIO coolers.

Customer image

out of 5 stars Socket
By Brandon on May 22,

I am editing my previous review. The X bracket does in fact support socket from Intel. I used Noctua NT-H2 thermal grease, and currently run a K CPU. Idle temps are around degrees Celsius. The highest I've seen it go, according to the display on this cooler, was around 45 degrees Celsius. The radiator is front mounted with fans pushing the air inwards.

The pump is really silent too. I had to feel the lines from the pump to reservoir just to verify it was working. The included fans are extremely silent too. With 11 fans in total, none of them (9 of which are NZXT) can be heard unless up close to the case.

And how can I forget about the display!? You can only rotate images once, 90 degrees clockwise. My memory is so close to the socket that the lines would have rubbed on one of the sticks. I rotated the cooler counter clockwise, only to find out I moved it in the wrong direction. There's a variety of options under the CAM software. CPU, GPU, CPU and GPU, liquid temps, and more. Let's not forget GIFs! Uploading was very easy. I just wish it would let you crop more of the image in. Nowadays, it's easy to make a GIF from your phone from a video. So theoretically, you can record a video, make it a GIF, transfer it to your computer, then upload it to the LCD screen. That way, you can have a video of your child, cat, dog, or whatever you want showing on your pump screen.

It's a bit pricey. Only being able to rotate images once clockwise by 90 degrees is annoying. Not being able to install it the intended way without it rubbing on the first stick of RAM is annoying too. But overall, I like it. It's silent. It shows different computer stats. It plays GIFs. It's silent. It keeps my CPU much cooler than I thought it would. And it's really sleek. I would recommend this to anyone serious about AIO coolers.
Images in this review
Customer imageCustomer imageCustomer image
Customer imageCustomer imageCustomer image

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