Scythe Andy Samurai Master CPU heatsink/fan

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This refers to the claim made in the Andy's marketing blurb, about how the straight down fan airflow helps to cool the motherboard components (like voltage regulators and chips) better than parallel-to-the-motherboard type tower designs. Unless a test is designed specifically for it, this claim is difficult to deny or verify.

What we do know is that if the voltage regulators get too hot, their efficiency drops, and the system ends up drawing more power. We usually monitor the AC power draw of the test system as a matter of routine. We also pay attention to the DC power drawn by the AUX12V (2x12V) socket that powers the motherboard voltage regulators and the CPU. If the power draw under our CPU stress testing varies, usually that's a sign that we should pay attention to whatever is causing this.

The DC power draw with the CPU under high stress measured 78W when we examined it while setting up the test platform. That included tests runs with three tower style heatsinks, the Ninja, Zalman 9500 and Thermalright Ultra 120. The measurement remained at 78W with the Andy, too, so at least for our test setup and conditions, there was no apparent top flow advantage. This doesn't mean there will never be any advantage; overclock the CPU and put it in a case with dual 8800s... and you'd probably see an advantage over the tower heatsinks, especially with a high airflow fan.


Scythe Andy Samurai Master (DFS122512L): 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot


Arctic Cooling Alpine 64: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot

Scythe Mine w/ stock fan: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot

Nexus 120mm fan: 5V-7V-9V-12V, 5s Ambient between levels: One Meter, One Foot


These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital recording system and are intended to represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review. Two recordings of each noise level were made, one from a distance of one meter, and another from one foot away.

The one meter recording is intended to give you an idea of how the subject of this review sound in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. For best results, set your volume control so that the ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The one foot recording is designed to bring out the fine details of the noise. Use this recording with caution! Although more detailed, it may not represent how the subject sounds in actual use. It is best to listen to this recording after you have listened to the one meter recording.

More details about how we make these recordings can be found in our short article: Audio Recording Methods Revised.


The Andy Samurai Master joins the long roster of Scythe heatsinks that reached SPCR's top ranks of quiet, high performance coolers. While it sets no new records, the ASM's cooling ability is good enough for consideration by any performance-oriented computer enthusiast. It doesn't need to set any new records; for the first time since the invention of the PC, current CPUs are actually running cooler today than the ones from a year ago. The fact that this heatsink comes with a very quiet fan that's among the best we've heard is icing on the cake.

The interleaved fin design is a bit different from the tower style Infinity, resulting in tighter spacing. The Infinity clearly performed better with low airflow. The tighter spacing in the fins of the Andy is the obvious cause for this difference.

We wonder why Scythe continues its trend of tighter spacing between fins. It's possible that with a very high speed fan (say 100 CFM) and a very hot CPU, the Andy could edge just about everything else on the market for cooling performance. However, such performance is not really called for. In for forseeable future, even with quad core, the thermal characteristic of desktop CPUs are not going to exceed the worst excesses of the Intel P4 Prescott era — and Scythe's earlier coolers can already handle such monsters without super high airflow.

For most potential buyers, the question is whether the straight down airflow design of the ASM suits overall component and case cooling better than the parallel-to-motherboard airflow design of the tower heatsinks which now dominate high end coolers. Among straight down airflow designs, we can think of no other cooler that does better than the Andy Samurai Master today.


* Excellent cooling performance
* Very quiet fan
* Fairly easy, tool-free installation
* Performs well enough for very quiet, low airflow fan setting
* Straight down airflow may help cool other motherboard components better.

* Large enough to cause compatibility issues
* Heavy
* Mounting system could be more secure
* No fan controller (although so many motherboards have them built in now)

Much thanks to Scythe USA for the Andy Samurai Master sample.

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Articles of Related Interest

Recommended Heatsinks
SPCR's unique heatsink testing methodology
SPCR's standard fan testing methodology
Scythe Infinity Heatsink / Fan
Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja Heatsink
Thermalright Gets Back on Top with the Ultra-120

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