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NZXT Kraken X, 3rd generation

The Kraken X42, X52, X62 and X72 compose the third generation of liquid coolers by NZXT. These devices are manufactured by Asetek and house fifth generation Asetek pumps and PCBs, plus secondary PCBs specially designed by NZXT for enhanced control and lighting.

They incorporate customizable fan and pump speed control with PWM, a liquid temperature probe in the block and addressable RGB lighting. The coolers are powered directly by the power supply unit.

All configuration is done through USB, and persists as long as the device still gets power, even if the system has gone to Soft Off (S5) state. The cooler also reports fan and pump speed and liquid temperature via USB; pump speed can also be sent to the motherboard (or other device) via the sense pin of a standard fan connector.

All capabilities available at the hardware level are supported, but other features offered by CAM, like presets based on CPU or GPU temperatures, have not been implemented. Pump and fan control based on liquid temperature might be supported depending on the firmware version.

Experimental support for the Kraken M22

This driver also has experimental support for the NZXT Kraken M22. Note that the M22 has no pump or fan control, nor reports liquid temperatures.

Monitoring

The device can report the fan and pump speed, as well as the liquid temperature.

# liquidctl status
Device 0, NZXT Kraken X (X42, X52, X62 or X72)
Liquid temperature          26.3  °C 
Fan speed                    844  rpm
Pump speed                  1992  rpm
Firmware version           4.0.2     

Fan and pump speeds

First, some important notes...

You must carefully consider what pump and fan speeds to run. Heat output, case airflow, radiator size, installed fans and ambient temperature are some of the factors to take into account. Test your settings under different scenarios, and make sure that they are appropriate, correctly applied and persistent.

Additionally, the liquid temperature should never reach 60°C, as at that point the pump and tubes might fail or quickly degrade. You must monitor this during your tests and make any necessary adjustments. As a safety measure, fan and pump speeds will forcibly be programmed to 100% for liquid temperatures of 60°C and above.

You should also consider monitoring your hardware temperatures and setting alerts for overheating components or pump failures.

With those out of the way, each channel can be independently configured to a fixed duty value or with a profile dependent on the liquid temperature. Fixed speeds can be set by specifying the desired channel – fan or pump – and duty.

# liquidctl set pump speed 90
Channel Minimum duty Maximum duty
fan 25% 100%
pump 50% 100%

Another important note: pump speeds between 50% and 60% are not currently exposed in CAM. Presumably, there might be some scenarios when these lower speeds are not suitable.

For profiles, one or more temperature–duty pairs must be supplied. Liquidctl will normalize and optimize this profile before pushing it to the Kraken. Adding --verbose will trace the final profile that is being applied.

# liquidctl set fan speed  20 30  30 50  34 80  40 90  50 100

RGB lighting

For lighting, the user can control a total of nine LEDs: one behind the NZXT logo and eight forming the ring that surrounds it. These are separated into two channels, independently accessed through logo and ring, or synchronized with sync.

# liquidctl set sync color fixed af5a2f
# liquidctl set ring color fading 350017 ff2608
# liquidctl set logo color pulse ffffff
# liquidctl set ring color backwards-marquee-5 2f6017 --speed slower

Colors are set in hexadecimal RGB, and each animation mode supports different number of colors. The animation speed can be customized with the --speed <value>, and five relative values are accepted by the device: slowest, slower, normal, faster and fastest.

ring logo sync Mode Colors Notes
off None
fixed One
super-fixed Up to 9 (logo + each ring LED)
fading Between 2 and 8, one for each step
spectrum-wave None
backwards-spectrum-wave None
super-wave Up to 8
backwards-super-wave Up to 8
marquee-<length> One 3 ≤ length ≤ 6
backwards-marquee-<length> One 3 ≤ length ≤ 6
covering-marquee Up to 8, one for each step
covering-backwards-marquee Up to 8, one for each step
alternating Two
moving-alternating Two
backwards-moving-alternating Two
breathing Up to 8, one for each step
super-breathing Up to 9 (logo + each ring LED) Only one step
pulse Up to 8, one for each pulse
tai-chi Two
water-cooler None
loading One
wings One
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