Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja heatsink

Cooling
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IN A REAL SYSTEM

The Scythe Ninja has been used extensively in testing of the Antec P180 case. Consider the juxtaposition of the heatsink relative to the two exhaust 120mm fans on the P180:


On this motherboard, the Ninja is about 1" away from both top and back 120mm exhaust fans in an Antec P180 case.
If desired or needed, a 120mm fan can be mounted on the Ninja to blow upwards or to blow backwards.
Either would result in a dual-fan push-pull airflow configuration.

Much of the testing for the P180 was conducted with an Intel 670 processor (P4-3.8, Prescott), arguably one of the hottest desktop CPU ever made, with a Thermal Design Power rating of 115W and a potential Maximum Power of 158W. With ambient room temperature varying 22~25°C, the Ninja was operated without a fan directly on the unit (as shown above) with both the P180 case fans running at minimum speed. Stress testing with CPUBurn resulted in temps no higher than ~60°C. When only one of the case fans was used, the CPU temp rose to ~67°C, with thermal throttling occurring about 5% of the time. Increasing the speed of the Antec P180 case fan (Tri-Cool 120x25mm) to the mid-setting brought the temp down to ~60°C again.

The push-pull configuration mentioned above was not tried prior to this review, but it seemed unnecessary given the stellar performance of the Ninja even with just the P180's case fans.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

The cooling performance of the Ninja Scythe is the best we've reviewed. At the relatively modest airflow of the Nexus 120 fan at 12V or at the low airflow of the same fan at 7V, the Ninja is right in step with the XP-120, which was tested with a slightly higher airflow fan.

The Ninja also has two other advantages that make it a better product:

  • It is far easier to mount than the XP-120, on any of the three major processor sockets currently in use: 478, 775 or K8. We've always maintained that ease of correct installation is an integral, important part of the success of any aftermarket heatsink. The tension on the clips is not low, but it does not require the bite-on-a-bullet-and-sweat pressure of the XP-120's clips to be engaged. It also clears taller components mounted around the CPU socket more easily than the XP-120. These traits mean better user-friendliness and higher usability with a wider range of motherboards.
  • It is set up for across-the-board airflow, which is the preferred airflow direction for the best case airflow management. A 120mm fan on the Ninja can work perfectly in push-pull conjunction with a 120mm exhaust fan mounted on many mid-tower cases.

My final assessment should be obvious: The Scythe Ninja is an excellent HS that can be confidently recommended for the most demanding CPU cooling challenges at truly whisper quiet noise levels when mated with the correct 120mm fan. Overclockers will be delighted with the Ninja as well; with even moderate airflow it should be able to tackle all manner of hot processors. In the right case, like an Antec P180, the Scythe Ninja is just about perfect.

Pros

* Great cooling performance with a wide range of airflow
* Universal mounting system ensures very good compatibility
* Highly efficient design
* Across-the-board fan airflow
* Unidirectional airflow design
* Potential to use without direct fan cooling
* Low turbulence design (for minimum noise)
* Modest mass and good weight distribution
Cons

* Not ideal for fanless cooling in horizontal case
* Too big for some cases
* Tight fit on some motherboards
* Fan mounting slightly tricky

Much thanks to Scythe USA for the Ninja sample.

* * *

POSTSCRIPT, Dec 16, 2007: Scythe Ninja, version 3 (overleaf, on page 6)

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