Scythe Ninja Mini CPU heatsink

Cooling
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September 6, 2007 by Lawrence Lee[with Mike Chin]

Product
Scythe Ninja Mini
Model SCMNJ-1000 CPU Heatsink
Manufacturer
Market Price
US$30~45

The Scythe Ninja is one of the most outstanding CPU heatsinks we've had the pleasure of working with. Its simple yet elegant design takes into account all the factors that optimize quiet cooling — large surface area, wide fin spacing, multiple heatpipes for even heat distribution through all the fins, and flat, smooth copper base. Of course, not all users can utilize the 150mm tall Ninja or similar tower heatsinks due to the dimensional restrictions of smaller cases.

These were the thoughts going through SPCR editor Mike Chin's mind as he was working with Antec on the design of the NSK2400/Fusion media PC case. After seeing the first prototype of the case in early 2006, Mike contacted Scythe, asking them to release a short Ninja-style heatsink that would fit within the confines of NSK2400/Fusion. It would have to be no more than ~120mm tall. Mike felt that a high performance heatsink that could be run passively, using the closely-positioned 120mm case fans on the NSK2400/Fusion would sell very well. There were also many other medica PC cases which needed a shorter high performance HS with fins designed for the horizontal (not vertical) airflow best suited for optimized cooling in such cases.

Scythe's response was lukewarm. A similar product concept had been briefly discussed by key staff, but rejected. They mentioned that the cost savings involved in making a shorter Ninja would be minor, and the smaller size would mean not only smaller fin area but also prevent the use of a 120mm fan. These factors would impact the cooling performance while price would remain pretty close to the original Ninja. Scythe was also unconvinced of the media PC's popularity among DIY builders, who are naturally the primary market for their products. Even a face-to-face meeting between Mike and Scythe's product development manager at Computex Taipei in June 2006 failed to get this project started.

Other smaller tower HS with horizonal airflow design have appeared on the market, but none have been ideal for a quiet media PC case. They've been a bit too tall, a bit too loud, and/or not quite good enough in cooling performance. So this product niche in CPU coolers remains open.

At the 2007 Computex, some 18 months after Mike first mentioned the idea to Scythe, the company released the Ninja Mini. This product conforms perfectly to Mike's original requirements: It's short enough for a 3U height case, uses horizonal airflow configution, and it's basically a short Ninja. Better late than never. How good a quiet cooler is it? Can it work well without a fan on it in an Antec NSK2400/Fusion case? These are the main questions we'll seek to answer in this review.

Scythe Ninja Mini Box
As with other Scythe products, the box tries its best to be conspicuous.

Scythe Ninja Mini Contents
The cooler has universal support for current desktop AMD and Intel sockets including 478. Included are fan clips, a Scythe 80mm fan, an illustrated installation guide, screws and a package of thermal compound. A blue plastic protector covers the heatsink base to prevent accidental scratching and scuffing.

Scythe Ninja Mini Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
Ready for 80mm or 92mm Fan Mounting
The default silent fan (80 x 80 x 25 mm) can be easily exchanged to another 92mm sized fan with 25mm of thickness for high performance user (92mm Fan Clips are included).
Due to its lower profile, a 120mm fan is inappropriate. A 80 or 92mm fan will have to suffice. Scythe's steel wire fan clips are pretty easy to use.
Improved Mounting Systems
Never stop the improvement of mounting systems, the Ninja Mini CPU Cooler has the improved mounting mechanism with easier than ever mounting for all sockets!
The Ninja Mini's AMD mounting frame is slimmer and less cumbersome than the original Ninja's. The LGA775 mounting scheme has also been streamlined from a round frame to a simpler square frame.
Universal Socket Compatibility with AM2
Ninja Mini CPU Cooler is compatible for socket 478/754/939/940/AM2 & LGA775. All in one solution for your PC system.
Three sets of easy to install mounting frames provide universal socket support.

Scythe Ninja Mini Specifications (from the product web page)
Model Number
SCMNJ-1000
Combined Dimensions
110 x 110 x 115 mm
Weight
580g
Compatibility
Intel LGA775 (SocketT) Processors
Intel Socket 478 Processors
AMD Socket AM2 Processors
AMD Socket 940 Processors
AMD Socket 939 Processors
AMD Socket 754 Processors
Fan Dimensions
80 x 80 x 25 mm
Noise Level
24.4 dBA
Air Flow
32.2 CFM
Speed
2,300 RPM (±10%)
Bearing Type Sleeve


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