Scythe FCS-50 heatsink/fan

Cooling
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PACKAGE

This is what you find in the colorful box:

  • FCS-50 HS + fan attached (w/ hardwired speed controller)
  • 2 bottom mounting clips (one missing in the photo below) with screws for them
  • 1 pair of long spring-loaded machined screws
  • small amount of thermal interface material
  • 2 instruction sheets, English and Japanese

As the specifications on the previous page details, the FCS-50 comes with hardware to allow its use with Sockets A, 370, 478, 754, 939 and 940. This is achieved by separating the mounting mechanism into two parts:

  1. Screws and anchors for them on the main HS, and
  2. A detachable platform-specific "clip".

Here are the clips:


Mounting "clips" (from left):
Socket-A/370, socket-478, and 2-spring loaded long screws for all the flavors of A64.


FCS-50 shown with A64 mounting clips: Ingeniously, the spacing of the holes in the side screw anchors or flanges is set to match the A64 mounting posts perfectly, eliminating the need for bottom clip.

DESIGN

As the photos show, there are thin fins rising up from the base in conventional vertical fashion. There are also fins that run laterally across the width of the HS above the bottom fins. A three-sided U-shaped shroud covers all the fins and provides fan mounting holes on two sides of the fins. The photo below shows the blow-through aspect clearly.

The base of the heatsink is flat and very smooth, perhaps not the very smoothest ever, but plenty smooth enough. It appears to be nickel-coated copper. The material is not specified. The fins are clearly formed of very thin aluminum strips. They all show signs of being soldered together.


1" tall EAR fan grommet sitting atop smooth and flat FCS-50 base.

You may recall from our eOtanachi EPIA-M fanless cooler/case review that the Heatlane heatpipe is flat and wide instead of tubular. Here's a photo of the flat heatpipe from that review.

So where is the Heatlane heatpipe so prominently listed among the FCS-50 features? Let's look closely.


Image highlighted with Photoshop to show the hidden heatpipes.

What they have done is to take a length of the flat Heatlane heatpipe, and folded it in a loop to run two layers between the bottom HS fins and the base, and wrapping run it up and around the fins. The fins are soldered to the heatpipe, of course. Here's a rough side profile drawing of the heatpipe/HS:


The heatpipe loop is the frame to which the fins and the base are attached.

The heatpipe wraparound design ensures very even distribution of the heat from CPU throughout all the radiating surfaces. The heatpipe efficiently spreads the heat via the working fluid within, which is HFC134a and butane (both with with zero ozone damage potential). This means that the full cooling potential of the surface area is utilized, unlike in conventional heatsinks where thermal resistance reduces the efficiency of long cooling fins close to their ends. Here, no point in the fin is more than ~3.5 cm from the heatpipe. (For those interested in the technical details, please check this page from TSHeatronics, the originator of the Heatlane heatpipe technology: http://www.tsheatronics.co.jp/english/technology/index.html)

Because the cooling air in this HS flows through it in a plane parallel to the surface of the motherboard, the possibility of evacuating the hot air via the back case exhaust fan is very real. It is a configuration that helps to minimize the heat in the PC, which is a significant factor in keeping all thermistor-controlled fans (most commonly found in power supplies) from ramping up in speed.

This does mean that the HS must install on the board with the fan pointing towards the back panel. It will not be this way with all motherboards. On all the P4 boards in the lab (an Intel 845 board, a VIA P4B400 board, and a recent AOpen 865 board), the socket / retention frame was found to be configured the "correct" way.



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