Scythe Ninja 2: Tweaking a Classic

Cooling
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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds 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. 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 recording starts with 10 second segments of room ambience, then the fan at various levels. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Ninja 2 is basically the equivalent of the Ninja Copper, which it is poised to replace. The Copper version seems to have been discontinued — it is no longer available at most retailers. Ninja 2 is a very good heatsink, but isn't quite elite (e.g. top 5). Where it excels is with very limited airflow; for instance, as a passive cooler in a system with heavily undervolted fans. If you plan to actively cool it, they include a fan from the Slip Stream line. While we weren't able to test this fan personally, it likely has the same excellent acoustic properties as the other Slip Streams.

Unfortunately, Scythe has decided to stick to their guns for mounting, insisting that the stock mounting systems are adequate, even with tall and heavy heatsinks like the Ninja line. While the push-pin system is not ideal, we had gotten used to it... now the Ninja 2 comes along and makes it even worse. Previously, LGA775 installation could be done without removing the motherboard — this is impossible with the Ninja 2, unless you also happen to be able to turn water into wine and stone into bread. With convenience no longer a factor, implementing a more secure mounting system should be a no-brainer. Scythe instead offers a "CPU Cooler Stabilizer" kit with a back-plate as an accessory that we've seen advertised for nearly $20 at some web shops. In contrast, Thermalright offers a perfectly nice bolt-through kit for $7.

So is it worth your hard-earned money? For moderate to high airflow systems, it's questionable. Some smaller, cheaper heatsinks can do a better job, such as the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (and its clones), and the Zerotherm Zen FZ120. As a very low airflow or passive CPU cooler, the Thermalright HR-01 Plus and Noctua NH-U12P are excellent choices, but they are more expensive. That's where the Ninja 2, with its lower price tag and included fan, has a clear advantage. Ultimately however, the question is whether the money you save is worth the agony associated with the way it mounts.

Scythe Ninja 2
PROS

* Very good performance, especially with low airflow
* Slip Stream fan included
CONS

* Enormous
* Poor mounting system

Our thanks to Scythe for the Scythe Ninja 2 heatsink sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Zalman 9300AT: Not me too, but me again
Noctua NH-U12P Tower Cooler
Zerotherm Zen FZ120 CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-C12P: A Top-Down Cooler Rises Up
Thermalright HR-01 Plus: 2nd Gen Killer Tower Cooler
Ninja Copper: Scythe's 5th Year Celebration

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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