Scythe FCS-50 heatsink/fan

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The fan is secured to the frame with four screws in the corners. Later, it was discovered that it is just a bit too short for the Panaflo 80L, which is a smidgen thicker than the stock Scythe fan. Like the fan integrated with the Scythe Kamakaze and the Scythe Samurai coolers, it has a hardwired fan speed controller, a knob mounted on a plate for a PCI cover. So it mounts on the back panel of the case, although many DIY types will probably remount the control on the front panel.

Nice, smooth feel on fan speed control.

As you can see in the photo of the label, the fan is rated for a whopping 0.55A at 12V, or about 7W. This is one reason the fan is powered from a 4-pin PSU connector, and only feeds an RPM monitor signal to the motherboard fan connector. The current draw is probably too high for many fan circuits on otherboards.

A very powerful fan.


You will have noticed the shark's gill-like slots, four on each side of the HS outer frame. They do serve a function: To draw in extra air by the vortex or suction created by the fan's airflow as it rushes through the tunnel of the fins. (It probably works much like the augmented fan design by Lemont Aircraft [also Millenium Thermal Solutions] which Panaflo adopted some time ago; the high speed of the blades' outer edges draw extra air in through slots in the frame, providing slightly higher airflow without any more noise.)

This is Scythe's explanatory drawing of the airflow pattern through the FCS-50.

Finally, airflow can be augmented even more dramatically with the addition of a second fan in a push-pull configuration. Two identical fans in push-pull does not increase the maximum theoretical airflow over one fan in a low impedance setup (read: open tunnel). But with higher impedance, such as tightly spaced fins in a heatsink, the greater pressure of the dual fans ensures that airflow does not drop as much as with just one fan.


The FCS-50 was installed on the Intel D845PEBT2 motherboard used before for many heatsink reviews. The instruction sheet tells you to begin by clipping the correct mounting frame or clip on to the CPU socket itself. Here's a scan of the instruction drawing:

It's a simple step. Here's how it looked after this step was taken:

Metal frame or clip mounted to plastic HS retention bracket on board.

Next, the HS is placed on the CPU (after thermal interface material is applied). It goes into place fine.

The next step is to use the two shorter screws to apply tension between the HS base and the CPU. The metal frame gets pulled up and tension applied to the four corners when it clips to the plastic retention bracket.

This step is not so simple, even with the test platform out in the open, rather than installed in a case. The screw holes are small and difficult to line up. I would recommend that if you have difficulties getting the screw in with the motherboard already mounted in place, you should at least remove the PSU to give yourself more room to see and work in.

A bit of an infernal screw, at least for me.

You are instructed to insert and turn the screws evenly and gently to avoid overtightening, but there is no indication of how you can tell when you have overtightened. I played it by feel and sight, lining the two sides up for about the same gap between screw anchor on the HS and the metal clip, and kept turning till it felt too hard to turn some more. I was secure in the knowledge that the P4's heat spreader would protect against any damage, but this is not true for AMD XP or P3 CPUs that don't have a heat spreader. So do be careful and gentle!

Here's the FCS-50, installed and ready to go on the test platform. It took only 5 minutes, even with time for photos.

Ready for action: It stands ~0.8 cm taller than the top of the PCI card.

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