Scythe NCU-2000 Fanless CPU Cooler

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Sept 19, 2004 by Mike Chin

NCU-2000 CPU Cooler
Scythe USA

The Scythe NCU-2000 CPU Cooler is an update of the NCU-1000 reviewed here almost a year ago. That fanless heatsink was (and still is) one of the most unusual we've seen; the NCU-2000 carries on the tradition. As with the review of the original, it's worthwhile starting with a picture.

NCU-2000 on left next to recent Scythe FCS-50 in use on a motherboard.

Yes, it's very large, and especially tall. Its dimensions are very similar to the original NCU-1000 pictured below.

The original NCU-1000.

The NCU-2000 is actually very slightly smaller than the older version: W108 x D83 x H140 mm compared to W108 x D86 x H143 mm. That's about 4 x 3.5 x 6 inches. It weighs considerably less: 505 grams compared to 615 grams for the NCU-1000. And it is designed for both socket 478 CPUs (P4) as well as A64 (754, 949, 940) without a fan. The NCU-1000 is for socket 478 only. Finally, despite its large size, the bottom portion of the HS is well within the permitted HS zone for both socket 478 and A64 motherboards, which should allow it to clear any nearby tall components on the PCB.

As with the NCU-1000 the new model is a heatpipe device. In the original, the heatpipe consisted of a circulating capillary tube which is visible at the top.

NCU-1000 circulating capillary tube.

In the NCU-2000, a flat heatpipe is employed. This was first seen in the e-Otonashi fanless EPIA-M cooling case and more recently in the FCS-50 heatsink. As in the FCS-50, a length of flat heatpipe is shaped into a rectangular loop with the ends overlapped and joined together. The fins are soldered to this heatpipe frame, and the copper base is clamped to the bottom. This drawing used to show the flat heatpipe design in the FCS-50 is worth reproducing here. Compare the FCS-50 drawing to the photo of the NCU-2000. The basic design concept is the same. One of the big differences is the spacing between the fins, with is fairly small with the FCS-50, but much greater with both the NCU-2000 and the older NCU-1000. This open spacing is necessary for convection-only cooling; there's no fan to force the air through tight spaces.

In both coolers, the flat heatpipe loop is the frame to which the fins and the base are attached.

Aside from the use of the flat heatpipe, the NCU-2000 differs from its predecessor in that for both the P4 and the A64, the stock mounting bracket is used. Given the relatively modest 505 gram weight of the HS, the standard HS retention bracket on P4 or A64 boards should have no problems. The earlier NCU-1000, in contrast, replaces the P4 retention bracket and backplate with a bolt-through-board solution. The change makes installation easier.

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