Scythe Andy Samurai Master CPU heatsink/fan

Cooling
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PHYSICAL DETAILS

Let's start with some photos of this latest big heatsink/fan (HSF) from Scythe.

As the photos below show, it's a big unit, with a 120mm fan held on top by steel wire hooks. There are six heatpipes that join the fins to the copper bottom base. The main cooling fins are formed of thin aluminum pieces press fitted onto the heatpipes. The base and the fins are separated by a distance of about two inches. That gap is filled with what looks to be a fairly conventional extruded aluminum heatsink, roughly a 2" cube. The bottom ends (evaporator) of the heatpipes are sandwiched between a copper plate and this secondary heatsink.


With the fan it stands just shy of 5". It may not be a tower, but it's still pretty tall, and some clearance is still needed above the fan to allow air intake, probably at least one inch. That puts the real operational height on par with the tower giants like Ninja, Thermalright Ultra 120, Infinity, etc.


The top fins do not make direct contact with the bottom secondary fins. Note the notches for the modular mounting clips in the extruded aluminum piece.

The secondary extruded aluminum heatsink bonded to the copper base appears to have a couple of functions:

  • It provides a firm anchor to which the modular mounting clips are inserted.
  • It provides additional cooling surface area in the airflow path of the fan. (Unlike, for example, the similarly designed Thermalright SI-128, which leaves empty this space between base and main fins.)

Note that the secondary fins stay within the boundary of the bottom base to ensure that it has no chance of interfering with any motherboard components around the CPU. The heatpipes are potentially more of a problem in this regard.

Without the secondary extruded fins, the ASM resembles the Thermalright SI-128 superficially, though the latter has only four heatpipes compared to the Andy's six. Another huge difference is the effective area of each fin in the ASM, which is about double that of the SI-128. You can see in the photo below that the fins of the SI-128 are not much taller than the 1" thickness of the fan on top of it

The Fins

Removing the fan and looking straight down gives us a clear idea of what Scythe means by "interleaved fin structure". At first glance, it appears that the spacing between the fins is not all the same. But if you look closely, you find that there are two different types of fins:

  • 46 fins that run the full width of the HS and join all six heatpipes.
  • 32 that join only three of the heatpipes and measure roughly 1" square.

The latter are staggered between the full width fins so that between three closely spaced fins is a double space, at least in the middle and outer edges. The total number of double spaces is 15. The second colored picture below shows the fin layout more closely.


It's a lot of fins.


"Interleaved fin structure."

This interveaving of fins appers to be an attempt to balance large cooling surface area with low impedance for slow spinning fans. The concept was introduced in the Infinity, the last big tower HS from Scythe that we reviewed.

However, as you will see in the painted photo below, the Infinity's fin interleaving is not quite the same. The double fin density is achieved by using three different sets of fins that overlap around the heatpipes. One set spans the area between the two lines of heatsinks, while another set hangs off each edge.

The spacing between the fins near the heatpipes is the same in both heatsinks. But for the rest of the airflow path presented to the fan, the fin spacing is considerably tighter in the Andy Samurai Master than in the Infinity. The consequence should be that the cooling performance of the ASM is better with high airflow, and the Infinity's cooling is better with low airflow.

In the Infinity, we found that the impedance of the fins proved to be a hindrance for cooling at low airflow, despite interleaving, which kept that model from matching the performance of the very best low airflow optimized heatsinks. The Andy really can't do better, can it?

The Base and Mounting Clips

The photo below shows the flat, mirror-smooth copper base, and the modular clip mechanism. Basically, the retention clips for each socket type come in pairs. These insert into two slots on either side of the bottom auxilary fins structure (the violet arrows show where these lots are). Shown below are the clips for socket 775. The actual mechanism for attaching the HSF to the motherboard is the same set of four push-and-twist plastic locking cylinders used on stock Intel heatsinks.


Flat, polished copper base; modular mounting socket 775 clips.


The AM2/K8 clip is a spring-loaded mechanism that engages one lug on each side of the plastic retention frame on the motherboard. This all-metal device is better than the AM2/K8 clips delivered with our review sample of the Infinity; that clip seemed fragile as it employed just two thin plastic nubs to hold the heatsink in place.


The socket 478 clip uses a pair of familar flat spring clips.

Inserting the clip modules to the heatsink was a bit fiddly, but some pressure with the thumbs was enough to get them in. Once installed, they seem secure, but perhaps not quite as secure as fixing the clips with screws or bolts, which are easy enough for most computer DIYers to handle. The slight fiddliness probably not a bad price to pay for the tool-less adaptability, though.



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