Scythe Ninja 4: A Legend Reborn

Cooling
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COMPARISON TABLES

CPU Thermal Rise Comparison (°C): Coolers w/Single Fan
SPL ([email protected])
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Scythe Ninja 4
     
36
 
37
 
40
   
Scythe Kotetsu
35
         
38
 
41
 
42
 
Thermalright Archon SB-E
   
39
         
40
   
43
Thermalright Silver Arrow
(one stock fan removed)
       
38
       
42
46
 
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
38
   
39
     
40
41
 
43
 
Scythe Mugen Max
   
38
     
39
   
43
   
Scythe Mugen 4
           
40
   
42
 
45
Noctua NH-U14S
     
38
 
40
   
43
   
Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
     
40
   
41
 
42
   
Noctua NH-D15
(one stock fan removed)
     
39
 
41
   
44
   
NZXT Kraken X41
   
38
                 
Thermalright HR-22*
(reference Noctua 140 mm fan)
39
   
40
     
42
 
44
 
Noctua NH-C14
(one stock fan removed)
     
40
 
41
   
44
49
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
   
40
       
42
 
47
 
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
       
41
       
44
54
 
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
 
40
     
41
   
44
 
49
Cryorig R1 Ultimate/Universal
(one stock fan removed)
   
40
   
43
       
49
 
Scythe Ashura
     
42
     
44
     
SPL ([email protected])
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Cryorig H5 Universal
 
41
   
42
45
 
46
   
Silverstone Argon AR03
41
     
43
         
48
SilverStone Argon AR01
42
     
44
         
50
Scythe Ninja 3
       
44
       
46
   
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
(one stock fan removed)
       
44
     
47
     
Antec Kühler H20 620
42
   
44
     
47
     
Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer V2
41
 
43
   
45
   
49
   
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
(one stock fan removed)
   
42
   
45
   
48
     
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
   
45
     
47
 
49
     
LEPA LV12
         
45
48
52
 
NZXT Kraken X31
 
43
 
44
 
47
         
SilverStone Heligon HE02*
(reference Noctua 140 mm fan)
45
   
46
   
48
 
50
 
Enermax Liqtech 120X
(one stock fan removed)
45
 
47
 
48
         
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
     
48
 
49
   
50
     
Be Quiet! Dark Rock 2
     
48
     
52
 
55
61
 
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
49
       
51
     
56
   
Core i7-980X Stock Cooler
             
53
   
62
 
Enermax ETS-T40
   
49
         
55
 
64
Core i7-920 Stock Cooler
64
FAIL
SPL ([email protected])
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Single/dual fan air-cooled heatsinks in light/dark green.
Single/dual fan liquid coolers in light/dark blue.
*Heatsink ships without fans.

Compared to other single fan coolers, the Ninja 4 takes the top spot, usurping the Kotetsu. It's another success for Scythe, which currently accounts for four of the heatsinks in the top 10.

CPU Thermal Rise Comparison (°C): Coolers w/Dual Fans
SPL ([email protected])
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
NZXT Kraken X61
 
33
34
35
 
37
           
Prolimatech Genesis*
(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
35
   
36
   
37
   
39
   
Thermalright Silver Arrow
   
35
       
38
40
 
Noctua NH-C14
 
36
   
37
   
39
 
41
 
Thermalright HR-22*
(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
37
   
38
 
39
       
Scythe Ninja 4
(reference Scythe 140 mm fans)
 
36
 
37
   
40
       
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
36
     
37
   
40
       
Swiftech H240-X
33
35
36
 
39
             
Noctua NH-D15
 
38
   
39
   
40
   
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
 
38
   
39
   
41
     
Scythe Mugen Max
(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
 
39
     
41
         
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
 
39
     
40
   
44
49
 
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
 
37
   
41
 
42
     
Scythe Mugen 4
(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
39
     
40
     
42
   
Deepcool Maelstrom 240
   
40
     
41
45
 
46
   
Cryorig R1 Universal
   
39
   
41
           
SilverStone Tundra TD03
   
40
                 
Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer V2 (reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
40
       
41
           
Cooler Master Seidon 240M
     
40
 
43
   
53
     
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
 
41
       
44
         
SilverStone Heligon HE02*
(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
     
44
     
46
       
Enermax Liqtech 120X
 
44
 
45
               
Zalman CNPS9900DF
   
48
   
50
   
53
     
SPL ([email protected])
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Single/dual fan air-cooled heatsinks in light/dark green.
Single/dual fan liquid coolers in light/dark blue.
*Heatsink ships without fans.

The Ninja 4 isn't as outstanding with dual fans, but still excellent, within a stone throw's away from being one of the very best.

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 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 Ninja 4 stock fan at 1m
    — at 30% PWM, 710 RPM (13 dBA)
    — at 40% PWM, 850 RPM (15~16 dBA)
    — at 50% PWM, 920 RPM (18~19 dBA)
    — at 60% PWM, 1090 RPM (21~22 dBA)
    — at 80% PWM, 1300 RPM (26~27 dBA)
    — at 100% PWM, 1480 RPM (30 dBA)

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Scythe Ninja went through numerous redesigns and revisions that mostly underperformed, failing to live up to the landmark debut. A full decade later, iteration number four finally deserves as much acclaim as the original. By a hair, the Ninja 4 is the best single fan tower CPU cooler we've tested to date, and the latest success story for the resurgent Japanese manufacturer. The Ninja 4 beats out its predecessor by a substantial 6°C~10°C depending on the noise level, even though the two are not that different physically. The newer model has similar fin spacing, a slightly lighter and larger body, and nickel-plated heatpipes but these changes are probably too small to be responsible for such a dramatic performance improvement.

In the Ninja 3 review, I made note of the slightly concave base and the poorly designed mounting system. Scythe addressed both of these issues by making the base slightly convex, and using a new modern assembly scheme that exerts greater force directly over the base, creating superior contact with the CPU surface. This mounting formula has been applied to all of Scythe's latest coolers, and not coincidentally, most of them now occupy high positions on our cooling performance charts.

The Ninja 4 is currently selling for ~US$50, a very modest sum for such a high performance cooler. The only possible drawback is compatibility, as it does hang over memory slots which will cause interference issues with oversized memory heatspreaders. Personally, I always select memory of modest size, but if you're stuck with tall ones, consider the offset design of the Mugen Max or the slender Kotetsu as alternatives. Along with the Ninja 4, they offer premier performance at a reasonable price.

Our thanks to Scythe for the Ninja 4 CPU cooler sample.

* * *


Scythe Ninja 4 wins the SPCR's Editor's Choice Award

* * *

SPCR Articles of Related Interest
Scythe Mugen Max & Deepcool Lucifer V2 Heatsinks
Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240 AIO Liquid Cooler
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 & Cryorig H5 Universal Coolers
NoFan CR-80EH & CS-60 Fanless Cooler & Case
Phanteks PH-TC14S & Cryorig C1 CPU Coolers
Cryorig R1 Ultimate & Universal CPU Coolers

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR forums



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