Scythe Grand Kama Cross CPU Cooler

Cooling
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Comparison Chart

°C rise Comparison
Heatsink
Nexus 120mm fan voltage /
SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
Prolimatech Megahalems
38
41
44
Noctua NH-D14
38
42
45
Noctua NH-U12P
39
42
44
Scythe Mugen-2
39
42
45
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
40
42
45
Prolimatech Armageddon
40
42
46
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
43
46
Thermalright U120 eXtreme
40
43
48
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
41
44
48
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
(Stock 140 mm fan)
17 dBA (9V)
14 dBA (8V)
11~12 dBA (7V)
41
44
49
Thermalright U120
42
45
49
Titan Fenrir
43
46
50
Noctua NH-C12P
43
47
51
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
43
47
53
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
Cooler Master V8
46
50
54
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
45
52
57
Scythe Kabuto
51
53
60

The large, efficient stock fan of the Grand Kama Cross propels it past the Noctua NH-C12P as our best top-down cooler, and challenges some of the better tower heatsinks. When paired with our reference 120 mm fan, it drops far down in the chart, but still dishes out a severe beat-down to the Scythe Kabuto.

It may not be as effective when it comes to cooling the components around the socket though, as the height of the heatsink without the fan is 112 mm, compared to 91 mm for the Noctua NH-C12P. The Noctua's fan, though smaller, is closer to the PCB by almost an inch, and the closer proximity may have an impact on cooling effectiveness of the motherboard components.

MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

The recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 second segments of room ambiance, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We were skeptical at first about how well the Scythe Grand Kama Cross would perform due to its relatively modest surface area and tightly spaced fins— this combination typically spells lower performance for quiet CPU cooling. These fears proved to be unfounded as the GKC performed very well on our testbed, even rivalling some very successful tower coolers. The included 140 mm Slip Stream fan is probably the best stock fan that ships with any heatsink, both in terms of performance and acoustics. Our only criticism is the traditional mounting methods used for this big heatsink. A metal backplate with bolts is strongly recommended for a cooler of its size and weight. We wish Scythe would retool the mounting systems for all its big coolers.

The Grand Kama Cross delivered the best CPU cooling for a down-blowing heatsink on our LGA1366 test bed to date, but the Noctua NH-C12P may be the better top-down cooler overall. Though more expensive and equipped with an inferior fan, the Noctua heatsink mounting system is immeasurably better and its shorter stature puts its fan closer to the socket and surrounding components by almost an inch. Of course, the Noctua is also most costly. If you care only about CPU temperature, the Grand Kama Cross is the better choice of the two, but budget tower coolers like the Cogage TRUE Spirit or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus are also viable alternatives.

Scythe Grand Kama Cross
PROS

* Excellent stock fan
* Good performance
* Well priced
CONS

* Traditional mounting schemes
* A bit tall for a top-down cooler

Our thanks to Scythe Co., Ltd. and for the Grand Kama Cross heatsink sample.

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Articles of Related Interest

Titan Fenrir & Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus: Direct Touch Revisited
Corsair Hydro H50 CPU Water Cooler
Prolimatech Armageddon & Coolermaster V8 CPU Coolers
Cogage TRUE Spirit & Zalman CNPS10X Quiet CPU Coolers
SPCR's 2010 CPU Heatsink Test Platform [UPDATED: 10 April 2010]
Zalman CNPS10X Flex CPU Cooler

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