Ninja Copper: Scythe's 5th Year Celebration

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Feb 28, 2008 by Mike Chin

Scythe Ninja Copper
Model SCNJ-CU1000 CPU Heatsink

To say that the Scythe Ninja has had a significant impact in the performance CPU cooler market is something of an understatement. Since our original review of the product in the summer of 2005, this Japanese aftermarket heatsink has probably sold in the tens of thousands, to PC enthusiasts from every walk, both silencers and performance fanatics. A simple search in the SPCR forums on Feb 25/08 turned up an astounding 3,896 discussion threads in which the word Ninja is mentioned.

Why all the fuss over a heatsink? It appears to have had the precisely the right combination of appealing factors at the right time for PC geeks everywhere.

In summary, the Ninja is a simple, brute-force, tower design that's well optimized for quiet cooling — large surface area, wide fin spacing, six U-shaped heatpipes that act like 12 for even heat distribution through all the fins, and a flat, smooth copper base. It remans one of the two or three very best performing heatsinks in extremely low airflow conditions (a 120x25mm fan spinning at 600 rpm or lower). It's also an excellent high performance cooler when mated with a high speed fan. All this at a typical selling price of under $40.

The original design had native socket 478 clips. A first revision in 2006 kept the Ninja up with changing sockets: The user had a choice of different clips to screw onto the base for Intel socket 775, AMD, and socket 478. Pushpins were first introduced here for socket 775. There have been some minor changes since; the current model is called the Ninja Plus Rev. B.

The latest model under review here is not a replacement, but an addition to the line sold alongside the standard Ninja. Its primary differentiator is all-copper construction. The fins are not aluminum as in the standard Ninja, but copper. Copper is nearly three times denser than aluminum, which is one of the reasons for its superior heat conductivity. Naturally, the weight of the new NinjaCU is much higher: 1015 grams, compared to 640 grams for the Ninja Plus Rev. B. There are some other changes, the big ones being the location of the heatpipes in the fins, and the socket 775 mounting clip.

The usual colorful box.

Looks nice, doesn't it?

The Recurring Cu vs. Al Myth

The ability of a metal to transfer heat is described by the term thermal conductivity. Copper's much higher density is its main advantage over aluminum. The thermal conductivity of pure copper can be expressed as 386 W/m-C, compared to pure aluminum's 220 W/m-C. Higher thermal conductivity means faster heat transfer.

The puzzling, persistent myth among computer heatsink geeks is that, somehow, copper absorbs heat faster than aluminum, yet releases it more slowly. This is simply wrong. The metal cannot care or know whether the heat is coming or going, its thermal conductivity remains constant. Copper's thermal conductivity is always higher than that of aluminum.

This does not mean that a copper heatsink will always be superior to one made of aluminum. Material selection is just one of many factors in heatsink performance, and the overall design is often more important than any single aspect.

Scythe Ninja Copper Feature Highlights (from the product web page)
Feature & Brief Our Comment
5th Anniversary Edition!!
Year 2008 is the 5th anniversary for Scythe brand since its establishment!
Is it a feature highlight?
All Copper Material
This is the luxurious model of Ninja CPU Cooler as all material is in copper!
We know it's used for higher performance, but perhaps the marketing dept believes otherwise. Or perhaps perceived value is really all that's important.
Silent Fan Included
In order to take the full advantage of higher absorb ratio of the copper material, the Scythe Slip Stream 120mm fan at 800rpm is included in this model!
Very nice.

Scythe Ninja Copper Specifications (from the product web page)
Model Number
Combined Dimensions
110 x 110 x 150mm
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
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Noise Level
10.7 dBA
Air Flow
40.17 CFM
800 RPM (±10%)
Bearing Type Sleeve

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