OK, I built a new PC last year, and it’s been generally awesome. Except for one little thing. I put a NZXT Kraken Z53 in it. The Z53 is a nifty dual-fan all-in-one water cooler, complete with a little screen that shows the temperature of my cooling loop (or a GIF of my choice, whatever). It comes in a variety of sizes and is available in both white and black, which I appreciated. I quite liked the way it looked and it does a good job of keeping my CPU cool, even under high loads.
Except, sometimes I’d return to the PC and it was disconnected. Fan Control would throw an error about a missing device, the NZXT Cam software acted like there were no NZXT products in the computer, and there was an unrecognized USB device.
Given that speeds of about 2/3rds of the fans in my case are tied directly to the temperature of the water in the Kraken Z53’s loop it was inconvenient. Every time this happened, things would start to get hot in the case. After trying alternate drivers, different USB ports, unplugging and replugging the cables on the pump; I searched a bunch of forums and subreddits and tried everything people suggested or I could think of, I finally gave up and contacted NZXT’s support. After a few weeks of back and forth, they sent me an identical replacement unit to try. I installed the new AIO, fired up the machine and…
It had the exact same problem. Back to square one.
Long story short, I believe I’ve finally found the solution. Putting an internal USB hub between the motherboard port and the Kraken’s USB connector seems to have solved the issue. I’m not sure whether the problem is with NZXT’s firmware on the AIO, the USB headers on my ASUS motherboard, or something stupid like the cheap cable NZXT shipped with the Kraken.
The tipoff that helped me figure out the issue was this Reddit thread, which I stumbled upon while looking for something completely unrelated. The hub is working, so I’m happy, but I did order an internal USB header to micro-USB cable and I’ll update this post when I have a chance to give it a test.