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It's interesting to trace the changes in the Ninja. The photo below shows the original test sample from 2005 on the left, a January 2008 standard sample in the middle, and the new copper version. (Ignore the absence of the top end caps on the original; it was an experiment.)
Note the different 478 clips on each. As already mentioned, the original has "native" 478 clips; both the Plus Rev. B and CU versions come without any clip attached, and the user must attach them with four screws.
The 478 clips for the current and CU version are similar but not the same. The standard version uses clips that hook up from under; the CU clip is slightly asymmetrical in comparison.
478 clip on standard Ninja vs 478/775 clip on CU model
One other significant change in the NinjaCU is that the heatpipes are not bunched so closely together in sets of three as in the other two. The heatpipes are more evenly distributed so that the distance from each heatpipe to any edge on each fin is more or less the same. This should make for more even thermal distribution, and perhaps improved cooling efficiency.
The original base was rectangular; the current standard version has a square base; the NinjaCU also has a square but somewhat larger base. All are copper; the NinjaCU's is nickel-plated. All the bases are very smooth and flat.
We should not forget that the standard Ninja (Ninja Plus Rev B) comes with pushpins for mounting to socket 775, as shown below. (You cannot use the 478 clips with the hardware that comes with the standard Ninja to mount it on a 775 board. That requires extra parts, discussed further below.)
Finally, the current standard Ninja (Plus Rev. B) with 775 socket push-pin clip assembly.
It is attached to the base with four screws.
The push-pin clip was subject to complaints by some users. Kelly Stich wrote in a postscript to our original Ninja review,
"When mounting, the easiest and safest method is to mount the Ninja on the motherboard outside of the case. This is especially true for the LGA775 adapter where you will need to make sure that the push-pins have been fully inserted and locked. The push-pins are awkwardly placed under the fins and inserting them correctly takes a considerable amount of force and dexterity. If the notches in the corners of the earlier version Ninja had been retained, inserting and locking the push-pins would be much simpler. A visual inspection of the push-pins on the underside of the board is required to ensure that the Ninja is secured in place."
Kelly's cautions were mildy stated. Some members of the SPCR forums complained that the push-pin 775 mounting system is nasty to use, inadequate for a heatsink that weighs nearly 800 grams with a fan, and not at all confidence-inspiring.
The obvious reason for the change from the push-pins in the NinjaCU is better security for the high mass. The hardware that gets mounted to the motherboard is certainly going to be quite secure, but whether the 478-style clips are also as secure is not so clear.
NINJA CU PARTS
The NinjaCU came with many parts and accessories, as shown below. Somehow the fan was excluded from our photo; it will be discussed later.
From front left, counterclockwise: Steel support plate to go under CPU socket on 775 motherboards, two steel parts to convert socket 775 into socket 478 style retention bracket, bag of screws, thermal interface material (TIM), installation guide, socket 478 clip, socket AM2 clip, wire clips for fan, NinjaCU.
Study the above photo and caption; you'll see that there are no "normal" socket 775 clip or pushpin parts anywhere. Instead, Scythe has opted to recycle some of the parts from the original Ninja: A steel CPU support plate and two steel bars converts a socket 775 motherboard to accept a socket 478 clip heatsink. The 478 clip is employed on the NinjaCU to mount it to a "converted" socket 775 motherboard.
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