Review: Kamakaze HSF by Scythe

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July 5, 2003 by Mike Chin

Product Kamakaze CPU heatsink
Manufacturer / Supplier Scythe Co., Ltd
Price ~US$40

The Kamakaze CPU heatsink by Scythe in Japan is an unusual product in many ways. Offered as a complete package with 80mm fan and manual speed controller, the Kamakaze exudes high quality manufacturing. It seems to have been designed from the ground up for "native" compatibility as a socket-478 or socket-A/370 cooler. That is to say, it is not one of those coolers designed for one socket type, then adapted for the other as an afterthought. It is a well-designed, serious looking piece of hardware.

Kamakaze (more often spelled kamikaze) is a Japanese word that means "divine wind", coined to describe the historic typhoon that destroyed an invading Mongol fleet on route to Japan in the 13th century. The word became associated with suicide bomber plane units employed by the Japanese navy against US forces in the waning months of WWII. It's a curious name for a CPU cooler.

NOTE: July 7, 2003 -- A kanji-literate member of the SPCR Forums made the following comment concerning the name:

While the definition of "kamikaze" was right, I think "kamakaze" was more of an intended pun by the company. If you look at the two kanji's they have on the box ("kama" and "kaze") it's not the kanji for "kami" (deity), it's "kama" which is the kanji for scythe or sickle. So it's means "Scythe Wind" and not "divine wind"

kami = deity, kama = scythe, kaze = wind

This does make more sense, but the play on words would be lost on anyone not able to see / read the kanji on the retail box. Given the world crisis precipitated by suicide bombers, the potential for confusion with the word kamikaze still make the name choice a bit chancy from a marketing point of view.

The complete package is shown above. It came set up for socket-A cooling, with hardware for conversion to P4-478 use, and an English / Japanese instruction sheet (not shown above). Here is a summary of the manufacturer's specs:

  • Model Name: KAMAKAZE
  • Compatible with intel P4 socket 478 up to 3.2GHz
  • Compatible with AMD Athlon socket A up to XP 3400+
  • Dimensions:
    • 80x80x25mm - Fan
    • 70x70x57mm - Heatsink
    • 90x85x90mm - Fan and heatsink together
  • Fan speed: 1300~3400rpm, +/-10% (Speed adjustable)
  • Fan noise level: 16dBA at 1300rpm (lowest) 37dBA at 3400rpm (highest)
  • Weight: 690g (1.44lb) Handle carefully as this item is a bit heavy.


The Kamakaze is fairly large. It measures 90x85x90mm with the fan attached. Given the height and hefty 690 gram weight, a fair amount of cantilever pressure would be applied on a vertical motherboard (as is the norml in tower cases).

The base is very smooth and polished. There is no point in even thinking about lapping here. The copper inset appears to be press-fitted with extremely high precision, as shown in the magnified corner detail above, prior to final polishing. Some inconsequential discoloration is visible on the copper surface.

The photo above shows how the fan shroud is integrated with the mounting clip mechanism. The shroud is bolted with 4 long screws to the top of the HS base -- two of those screws are visible near the left and right edges of the HS. The clip mechanism is attached to the shroud.

Two screws are used to adjust the clamping tension between CPU and HS base. As the image below shows, the mounting clip is designed to engage all the lugs around socket-A / 370.

Hardware-savvy readers will already have noted a similarity between the fan shroud of the Kamakaze to that employed by Alpha on its big P4 and socket-A heatsinks.

The similarity continues: Like the Alphas, the Kamakaze fan blows away from the HS, rather than down on it. Air flows around the sides and up through the the fan. The shroud is used to force the airflow to come into the HS nearer the bottom half of the aluminum heatsink pins, which is closer to the heat source, the CPU.

Yes, pins, similar to the Alphas again: The Alphas use hexagonal profile anodized aluminum pins; the Kamakaze uses oval profile anodized aluminum pins.

Scythe does not specify just how many pins; 21 were counted across one side, and as the unit is square, 21 x 21 = 441 seems a reasonable number. The spacing between the pins is probably at least double the cross-sectional area of each pin. It thus appears well suited to low airflow operation.

You are welcome to count the pins yourself in the photo of the bare-naked HS below. A few bent pins are visible; this should not affect cooling performance in the least. It is quite tall, isn't it?

The integrated fan is a standard size 80mm x 25mm fan with a Scythe label. Its particulars:

  • Model # CF-12825BH (RC)
  • 12 VDC, 0.22 A
  • Double ball bearing

There are 5 wire leads:

  • 2 white leads that go to the ALPS brand potentiometer. Alps is a high quality brand for electronic parts, by the way. As the photos show, the speed control is mounted on a back-panel PCI slot cover. It's very easy to mount the control on the front panel, perhaps in the cover for an unused 3.5" drive slot. The leads are long enough and only one small hole has to be drilled.
  • Red & white leads that go to a 4-pin socket for direct connection to PSU outputs for 12VDC voltage.
  • A yellow RPM output wire on a standard 3-pin socket for connction to the motherboard fan header.

It's not clear why the direct connection to the PSU for voltage was chosen. The fan rating of 0.22A is low enough to be handled by any motherboard.

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