SPCR's Updated 2012 Small CPU Heatsink Test Platform

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Scythe Samurai ZZ (Street Price: US$30)


The Scythe Samurai ZZ.

The 94 mm tall, 480 gram Scythe Samurai ZZ is basically a top-down version of the Scythe Katana, bent into a "C" shaped to reduce its height. A former champion on our old test platform, the Samurai ZZ is one of our favorites because it fits mini-ITX LGA 1155/1156 motherboards without interfering with the PCI Express slot. The only downside is its relatively tall height and the use of pushpins for mounting.

Scythe Samurai ZZ
Fan Voltage
Fan Speed
SPL@1m
°C Rise above Ambient
CPU
VRM
RAM
Stock 92mm Fan
12V
2480 RPM
34~35 dBA
37
25
23
9V
1800 RPM
25 dBA
42
31
27
8V
1440 RPM
18 dBA
45
38
30
7.7V
1300 RPM
15 dBA
46
39
31
7.6V
1100 RPM
12~13 dBA
52
47
32
Reference 92mm Fan
12V
1470 RPM
14 dBA
44
36
28
9V
1150 RPM
11~12 dBA
51
43
32

The Samurai ZZ's PWM fan speed drops dramatically below 8V, so we had to test it at the unconventional 7.7V and 7.6V levels to get good data points at lower noise levels. As the heatsink is on the large side, it doesn't suffer from severe performance degradation when the fan speed is lowered to close to inaudible levels. While the CPU was cooled fairly well, VRM/DIMM cooling was a bit poor.

Scythe Kozuti (Street Price: US$35)


The Scythe Kozuti.

The Scythe Kozuti is easily outclassed by the larger coolers in this roundup, but for a petite heatsink standing only 40 mm tall and weighing 250 grams, it's an impressive little performer. Its slim 80 mm fan is placed directly over the base with three heatpipes and a stack of fins sitting on top. It's one of the few heatsinks on the market that can actually cool a mainstream desktop processor inside a truly low profile case while generating a reasonable noise level.

Scythe Kozuti
Fan Voltage
Fan Speed
SPL@1m
°C Rise above Ambient
CPU
VRM
RAM
Stock 80mm Fan
12V
3290 RPM
34 dBA
50
25
24
9V
2500 RPM
23~24 dBA
53
31
27
8V
2140 RPM
18 dBA
57
36
29
7.5V
1850 RPM
14~15 dBA
62
40
32
7V
1580 RPM
12 dBA
65
45
33

While the Scythe Kozuti is the runt of the litter, it still managed to cool the CPU well enough to prevent it from throttling. CPU temperatures were uncomfortable at quiet levels (below 2200 RPM / 20 dBA@1m) but it survived, no small feat for such a diminutive heatsink. The results were more or less linear with the CPU temperature increasing 3~5°C for every 300 RPM reduction in fan speed.



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