Scythe Big Shuriken 2 & Reeven Vanxie CPU Coolers

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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.


Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B

At first glance, the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B seems like only a minor update, having only slight design changes aside from the extra heatpipe, a faster fan, and a new mounting system. We were pleasantly surprised to find a substantial performance difference, particularly at very low fan speeds. When generating a noise level just above our anechoic chamber's noise floor, it spanked the original Big Shuriken by double digits, while at more reasonable fan speeds it generated a 3~4°C reduction. We suspect the new, more secure mounting system is responsible for much of the improvement but it would've been our favorite change regardless. We're not fond of having to flip the motherboard upside-down, but it's still still vastly superior to what preceded it; the pushpins of the original Shuriken are terribly difficult to engage and we're glad to be rid of them.

The Noctua NH-L12 remains the undisputed champion but the Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B is a close second when using the same reference fan. With their respective 120 mm stock fans, the Big Shuriken isn't nearly as good, but it still delivers better bang-for-your-buck. Priced at around US$35, the improved performance comes at no extra cost compared to the original and it's US$20 cheaper than the NH-L12. Though they have similar footprints, the Big Shuriken 2 is also 58 mm tall, 8 mm shorter. We also think the Shuriken's fan has a more pleasant sound with less bearing noise than the NH-L12's 120 mm model.

Our only real complaint about the product is endemic for all top-down heatsinks with 120 mm fans — they are too big to use in SFF gaming systems with mini-ITX LGA1155/1156 boards, hanging over the PCI-E slot, preventing the use of discrete graphics cards. This is unfortunate as this type of PC is most in need of a compact high performance CPU cooler.

Reeven Vanxie

The Reeven Vanxie is seriously outclassed by every aftermarket cooler we've tested thus far. With its 34 mm height and basic design, it's really only a match for a stock cooling unit, though it does sound significantly better than a typical OEM heatsink. The Vanxie performed well enough to keep our overclocked quad core Sandy Bridge chip from throttling, at least until the fan speed was lowered below ~1200 RPM and its noise output approached inaudible levels. We suppose that's an accomplishment for this waif of a heatsink, but it's better suited for dissipating the heat generated by a cooler processor; the good thing is that there are many 65W and 35W TDP processor options today, and these are often used on SFF systems.

We can only recommend the Vanxie under one condition, when the enclosure is so small that a Scythe Kozuti cannot be accommodated. The Kozuti is 6 mm taller but its cooling proficiency is superior by a huge margin and it can be purchased today from stores across the globe. A brief internet search reveals the Vanxie currently being sold only in Japan with the lowest price being ~¥2700 (US$34) while the Kozuti can be found various Japanese retailers for ~¥2400 (US$30). This seems to indicate that if/when the Vanxie reaches other markets, it will also be slightly more expensive, putting it at a further disadvantage.

Our thanks to Scythe and Reeven for the Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B and Vanxie CPU cooler samples.

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Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B wins the SPCR Editor's Choice

SPCR Articles of Related Interest:

Fans from Noctua & Corsair at Computex 2012
SPCR's Updated 2012 Small CPU Heatsink Test Platform
Fan Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright
Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Cooler
Antec Kühler H20 620 & 920 CPU Water Cooling Units
Scythe Kozuti Low Profile CPU Heatsink

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