Scythe Katana

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October 2, 2005 by Devon Cooke and Mike Chin


Scythe Katana CPU Heatsink with Heatpipes


Scythe USA


Scythe is one of the most prolific heatsink makers on the market. At present, their web site lists no less than ten different coolers from the Scythe brand. These products cover almost every conceivable market niche for heatsinks, from cheap $20 heatsinks to the massive (and expensive) Ninja, which has the potential to cool almost any CPU passively. You have to wonder whether Scythe gives any thought at all to the target market for their products, but you certainly can't argue with the choices they offer. The only downside is knowing which one to pick!

The Scythe Katana won't be competing with the Ninja for the performance crown, but it's much more reasonable in size and price. Its light weight and universal compatibility make it useful in situations where a larger heatsink cannot be used.

A full color box to keep the retailers happy, but it's no larger than it needs to be.

Included in the box: The heatsink with the fan pre-mounted, installation hardware, and installation instructions.

Scythe Katana: Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief
Our Comment
Super Light Weight & Compact Heatpipe CPU Cooler
With 92mm fan attached on the Katana CPU Cooler, it overall weight is ONLY 300g! This cooler is ideal for both users seeking for an upgrade for their current CPU or for systems builder to integrate into their PC systems to build a silent PC systems.
300 grams is probably the lightest aftermarket heatsink we've ever seen. Ideal for systems that are frequently moved, such as a LAN Party system.
Universal Socket Compatibility
Katana CPU Cooler is compatible for socket 370/462/478/754/939/940 & the new LGA775. All in one solution for your PC system!
Compatible with all modern processors, and can even be used with old Celerons, P-IIIs and AMD's Socket A processors.
Low-Noise 92mm Fan
Supplied 92mm fan rotates at only 2000rpm providing only 25dBA of noise, this cooler is an ideal solution for low-noise PC systems.
Low noise sounds good to us, but we've learned to be sceptical about these claims. We'll have to test it to find out...
Cooling the Mainboard Components
With the unique angle (70 degree) construction of the Katana CPU Cooler, the cooler can also cool the components on the mainboard to prolong its life and keep your PC system stable (subject to fan mounting & airflow direction).
Both AMD and Intel thermal guidelines state that the CPU fan should also cool the VRMs around the CPU socket. Most tower-style heatsinks do not follow this guideline, but Scythe has made an effort to do so. Whether the effort is successful is harder to say.
4-Way Mountable Design to Optimize the Cooling
With the special mounting clips provided with Katana CPU Cooler, users are able to mount this cooler in the best position based on the airflow and set-ups inside the PC case. (For socket 370/462, limited to 2-way mountable design)
This means the heatsink can always be mounted with the fan blowing in the right direction — something that is not always possible with tower heatsinks.

Based on the feature set alone, the Katana has a number of desirable qualities.

Its low 300 grams mass is incredible, only two thirds of Intel's recommended 450 gram limit for heatsinks. Many other heatsinks exceed this limit by 200 grams or more, and some all-copper designs weigh over a kilogram! The low weight means it does not suffer from the two major risks associated with heavy heatsinks: Stressing and warping the motherboard, and coming loose during transportation.

Some of the problems common to tower-style heatsink with the fan blowing across the CPU have been addressed:

It can be mounted in any orientation, meaning that there are no situations where the airflow cannot be directed towards the rear system fan. Note that Socket 370 and Socket A (462) do not have this advantage (of being rotated to any position), so if you have an older system you will still need to be careful.

Some airflow over the motherboard voltage regulators is achieved by tilting the heatsink slightly. This is an improvement over most tower heatsinks, which typically do not provide any airflow for the motherboard. It is still inferior to the traditional downward-blowing heatsinks, most of which can provide cooling on at least two sides of the CPU.

Scythe Katana Specifications (from the product web page)
Model Name Katana CPU Cooler
Manufacturer Scythe Co. Ltd., Japan
Compatibility Intel
Celeron (socket 370) all speeds
Celeron (socket 478) all speeds
Pentium III (socket 370) all speeds
Pentium 4 (Socket 478) all speeds
LGA775 (Socket 775) all speedsAMD
Duron (socket 462) all speeds
Sempron (socket 462) all speeds
Athlon (socket 462) all speeds
Sempron (socket 754) all speeds
Athlon 64 (socket 754) all speeds
Athlon 64FX (socket 754) all speeds
Opteron (socket 939) all speeds
Opteron (socket 940) all speeds
Fan Dimensions 92 x 92 x 25 mm
Combined Dimensions 98 x 96 x 130 mm
Fan Speed 2000 RPM (±10%)
Fan Noise Level 25.0 dBA (no distance specified)
Airflow 35.12 CFM
Weight (with Fan) 300 g

Scythe really has gone for universal compatibility; even socket A and 370 are supported. Note that 300 grams is AMD's maximum recommended mass for socket A. (The only current processor not listed is the Pentium M, which does not have a standard mounting form factor for desktop use. Many Pentium M boards utilize mountings similar to other sockets, so compatibility will depend on the motherboard more than the heatsink.)

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