Scythe Samurai SCSM-1000 CPU Cooler

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The Samurai is designed to fit all of the newer types of processors, including Intel P4, AMD Athlon XP and AMD 64. The Samurai uses a mounting system they call Rigid Core Clamping Mechanism. It's very similar to the clamping arrangement of the Kamakaze. The kit contains the heatsink plus a rheostat speed controlled 80mm fan, mounting brackets and bolts for the different platforms, and a small tube of thermal compound.

The underside of the Samurai.
Thin copper fins soldered onto a fairly thick, but not too smooth, copper base.

The heatsink has a solid copper base, 5mm thick, with 42 thin copper fins soldered onto it. The top of the fins have a saw-toothed pattern that Scythe calls "Wave Stacked Fins". I couldn't find any technical documentation regarding these unique fins on Scythe's web site, nor could their tech support tell me if there is anything special about them, but they do look cool! The finish on the base of the heatsink isn't particularly smooth and is probably a good candidate for lapping. Unfortunately, lapping the base won't be easy because the permanently attached shroud actually protrudes a touch beyond the base.

Saw-toothed"Wave Stacked Fins" surrounded by the aluminum shroud/fan mount.

The permanently attached aluminum shroud is polished to chrome-plated shine. Not only does the shroud act as a guide to channel the air through the heatsink, it also raises the fan about 1" above the top of the heatsink fins. This helps reduce proximity turbulence noise and probably also helps reduce the "dead spot" from the fan's center hub.

Included 80mm fan and slot mounted fan speed controller.

The 80mm x 25mm fan is adjusted with the included speed controller that's mounted to a PCI slot plate. The control knob has a wonderfully sexy feeling, like those on expensive audio gear, and this experience alone may almost be worth the price of the Samurai. [Editor's Note: Ah, how easily Ralf is seduced!]

There are five wires leads attached to the fan. Two white leads connect to the potentiometer, the red & black leads go to a 4-pin Molex connector from power directly from the PSU outputs, and a yellow rpm output wire with a standard 3-pin socket connects to one of the motherboard fan headers. The fan is factory-installed to suck air off the heatsink instead of blowing down on it. The speed range of the fan is listed as 1300 to 3400 rpm, with a airflow of 13.6 to 34 cfm, and noise levels from 16 to 37 dBA/1m. The actual RPM on the review sample ran from a minimum of 1500 rpm to a max of 3450.

The AMD mounting clip snaps onto the existing lugs on the socket.

The Samurai uses a sheetmetal type of bracket to attach the heatsink assembly to the motherboard. There is one clip for Socket A/Socket 462/Socket 370 boards and another for Socket 478 boards. The Samurai heatsink assembly is screwed directly onto these brackets The heatsink is attached to the Socket 754/Socket 940 boards by using the supplied spring-loaded screws and the backplate already included with A64 motherboards.

The P4 clip snaps onto the existing Intel retention bracket.


The Samurai heatsink in this review was mounted on my standard P4 motherboard. Assembly was fairly straightforward.

First I applied Arctic Silver Ceramique to the CPU. Next I snapped the sheetmetal mounting clip onto the plastic Intel retention bracket. Then I placed the fan and mounting assembly on top of the heatsink. I then started to tighten the heatsink down onto the mounting clip using the two screws that were supplied by Scythe.

The problem is that there is no easy way to determine when the heatsink is "tight enough". The directions only mention to "turn the screws gently and evenly, and avoid over tightening". How tight is too tight? I've installed hundreds of P4 heatsinks and have a pretty good idea of the pressure that is normal so at least I have a reference point to go by. For someone who's not familiar with mounting heatsinks, I'm not exactly sure how they would figure out how tight to make this.

When I installed the review sample, I came nowhere close to bottoming out the heatsink assembly onto the clip itself. I stopped about 3/16" short of tightening it down fully because I felt that it was tight enough. I figured I could test my results by tightening and loosening the heatsink after I had established some baseline temperatures. If it wasn't tight enough, the CPU temperature would drop if I tightened down some more, or not change at all if it was already tight enough. I left the fan in the recommended blowing up orientation to start the temperature testing.

The installed HSF is tall but most of the weight is concentrated down low in the copper heatsink itself.

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