Gelid Silent Spirit & Scythe Samurai ZZ CPU Coolers

Cooling
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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.

These 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

Gelid Silent Spirit

The Gelid Silent Spirit is certainly a quiet CPU cooler thanks to a smooth-sounding, frameless fluid bearing fan, the mechancally decoupled isolation from the heatsink, and the fact that it sits more than 1 cm away from the surface of the heatsink. The fan blades' distance from the fins and the relatively small fin area limits its cooling capabilities, though, particularly when the fan speed is slowed down. At the 15~16 dBA level, our reference Nexus 92 mm fan beat the stock fan by 5°C, but at 12 dBA (close to inaudible) it was absolutely destroyed to the tune of 17°C. It seems to us that all the effort invested into limiting the amount of noise generated by the stock fan would have been better spent in simply finding a good fan with a standard box housing. Still, even with the reference fan, the Silent Spirit ran about 5°C hotter than the Samurai ZZ. Both coolers can be found for as low as US$30, but the Silent Spirit appears to be inferior in every way.

Gelid Silent Spirit
PROS

* Good medium to high airflow performance
* Stock fan has good acoustics
CONS

* Poor low airflow performance with stock fan
* No LGA1156 or 1366 mounting clip included
* Poor value given the cost

Scythe Samurai ZZ

Though the design of the Scythe Samurai ZZ makes its excellent fan noisier than in free air, its performance was still superb. It cooled our Athlon II X4 CPU well when the fan was set to produce 18@1m dBA, but its resiliency as the fan speed was reduced was far more impressive. The CPU temperature increased by only 3°C when the fan was slowed to an inaudible level. When paired with our reference fan, it became even stronger, making it competitive with smaller tower coolers like the Xigmatek HDT-SD964. If you're in the market for a modestly-sized downblowing CPU cooler, the Samurai ZZ should definitely be on your short-list.

Scythe Samurai ZZ
PROS

* Good high airflow performance
* Excellent low airflow performance
* Stock fan has good acoustics
* Full socket compatibility
CONS

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Our thanks to Gelid Solutions and Scythe Co., Ltd. for the Silent Spirit and Samurai ZZ heatsink samples.

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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