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Scythe Ninja 4: A Legend Reborn

Scythe Ninja 4: A Legend Reborn

July 6, 2015 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Scythe Ninja 4

CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
Scythe
Street Price
US$45~$50

A decade ago, the third party CPU cooler market was very different, dominated
by down-blowing models of various shapes and sizes. Heatpipes were in use, but
again, they were mostly employed in traditional top-down heatsinks. The now
ubiquitous tower heatsink may have been started by Scythe with the Heatlane
NCU-1000
, a niche product using flat heatpipes to achieve fanless operation
in 2003. The Coolermaster Hyper
6
of mid-2004 may have been the first tower HS adopted specifically for
high performance forced air CPU cooling. By the time the original Scythe
Ninja
appeared in mid 2005, tower heatsinks had become commonplace. Uncommon
was the Ninja's combination of huge size (at the time), quite widely spaced
fins, and excellent performance with or without fans. SPCR's review of its superb
performance with minimal airflow bolstered the Ninja to a new level of popularity
even with DIYers unsettled by its size.

Subsequent versions of the Ninja failed to achieve the same level of performance
as the original. Throughout the product's history, the mounting system was considered
by many to be subpar. Initially, Scythe kept using a socket 478 style retention
mechanism, adapting later sockets to use this standard. Considering the substantial
weight and height of the heatsink, aside from the slightly more massive all-copper
variant, not including a backplate was a mistake. Scythe finally provided a
backplate in the mounting system of the Ninja 3 but it had a troublesome installation
procedure that required flipping the motherboard upside down. The Ninja 3's
base had a slightly concave profile which made it difficult to achieve proper
mating with the processor.



The Scythe Ninja 4.

By today's standards, the Ninja 4 is just another big tower, but the name itself
may be enough to be competitive. This Ninja is one of a new breed from Scythe
that have breathed new life into the brand. Key is a modern mounting scheme
similar to those adopted by all the top tier heatsink manufacturers like Noctua,
Prolimatech, and Thermalright.

The heatsink itself is not that different from previous iterations, featuring
a six heatpipe design (U-shaped for 12 heat paths), a broad stack of loosely
arranged aluminum fins, and a square symmetrical shape that allows users to
fit 120 mm fans on any side. Older Ninjas had slits at the corners of the fin-stack
in part to access the pushpins to mount the heatsink but this is no longer necessary.
The new design with slits at the center of each side is more attractive and
the top fin has semi-reflective gleam. The copper heatpipes have also been plated
over with nickel, giving the new Ninja an altogether shinier look. The latest
model is slightly shorter, but also wider on every side, giving the illusion
of added bulk, when in fact it's 130 grams lighter than its predecessor.



Unboxed.



Accessories.

If you've used one of Scythe's latest coolers or read reviews of them, the
mounting hardware should look familiar. Although AMD support is listed, the
necessary clips were strangely absent in our sample — this appears to have
been an oversight. A screwdriver is provided as is a small wrench to tighten
the screws/bolts further. Also included are installation instructions, a small
tube of thermal compound, and two sets of wire fan clips.

Scythe Ninja 4: Specifications

(from the product
web page
)
Model Name Ninja 4 CPU Cooler
Model Number SCNJ-4000
Socket compatibility Intel®: Socket LGA775, LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA2011/2011-v3 (Square ILM)
AMD®: Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+



Please note that for mounting on motherboards with the AMD-Socket, the original back plate of the motherboard will be necessary. Please confirm if it is on hand prior to your purchase.
Overall Dimensions 130 x 153 x 155 (including fan - more dimensions)
Weight 780 g / 900 g including fan
Heatpipes / Diameter 6 / 6 mm
Accessory Installation material for Intel® and AMD® Socket, thermal grease, second pair of fan clips, installation manual.
Baseplate Material Nickel-plated Copper
Fan Specifications
Model Name GlideStream 120 PWM
Model No. SY1225HB1212H-PS (3 operations modes H/M/L)
Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 25 mm / 4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 mm
Noise Level L: 4.0 ~ 12.5 dBA

M: 4.0 ~ 23.5 dBA

H: 4.0 ~ 29.5 dBA
Air Flow L: 21.97 ~ 73.90 m³/h | 12.93 ~ 43.50 CFM

M: 21.97 ~ 73.90 m³/h | 12.93 ~ 63.73 CFM

H: 21.97 ~ 73.90 m³/h | 12.93 ~ 84.64 C
Fan Speed L: 300 rpm (±300) ~ 800 rpm (±10%)

M: 300 rpm (±300) ~ 1150 rpm (±10%)

H: 300 rpm (±300) ~ 1500 rpm (±10%)
Voltage / Amperage DC 12V / 0.22A
Static Pressure L: 0.69 ~ 4.90 Pa / 0.07 ~ 0.50 mmH²O

M: 0.69 ~ 10.40 Pa / 0.07 ~ 1.06 mmH²O

H: 0.69 ~ 17.55 Pa / 0.07 ~ 1.79 mmH²O
Bearing Type Sleeve Bearing

PHYSICAL DETAILS

The Scythe Ninja 4 is composed of 36 aluminum fins friction-fit to 6 x 6 mm
thick nickel-plated copper heatpipes which in turn are soldered to a nickel-plated
copper base. By my measurements, the heatsink's dimensions are 13.0 x 13.0 x
15.5 cm (W x D x H) and its weight is 790 grams. The stock fan adds an additional
120 grams to that total, but it doesn't increase the cooler's stature.



On average, the heatsink's fins are 0.43 mm thick and spaced 2.57 mm apart. This loose configuration is typically employed to reduce impedance to airflow which helps thermal performance with low speed fans. Standing 15.5 cm tall, it's slightly shorter than most tower coolers.



The fin stack is cut up into four identical sections in order to allow screwdriver access to finish the installation procedure. At the top, a ninja star is imprinted at the center with each tip bordered by the tops of the heatpipes. Compared to the Ninja 3, the heatpipes are arranged further away from the center.



The footprint is 13.0 x 13.0 cm so the heatsink isn't overly wide but it does extend slightly past the included 120 mm fan on each side.



The base has a glossy surface with both straight and circular machine marks visible to the naked eye. Like most of the Scythe's recent heatsinks, the surface is convex with a pinprick sized apex at the center.



The stock fan is a 120 mm GlideStream, easily identifiable by its scalloped blade design. This is a 1500 RPM model but there is a control switch built-in that can reduce the maximum speed to 1150 or 800 RPM.

INSTALLATION

The most critical aspect of installation is firm, maximum contact
between the base and the CPU heatspreader for efficient heat conduction. Ideally
it should also be a simple procedure with the user having to handle as few pieces
of hardware as possible.

The Ninja 4 utilizes the same updated system used previously by Scythe with their most recent crop of coolers like the Mugen Max, Mugen 4, and Kotetsu. It's a similar method to other big name manufacturers and involves assembling a metal mounting rig around the CPU socket and pinning the heatsink to it using a thick crossbeam over the base of the heatsink to apply downward pressure in order to ensure good contact



Installation kit assembled without the heatsink.



Mounting platform installed.



Fully mounted. The fan clips attach fairly snugly to the outer mounting holes which makes it very difficult to attach 140 mm fans due to their larger frame size.



With the fan centered, there is 8 mm of clearance above our bare DIMMs.



The fan hangs over three of our LGA1366 motherboard's six memory slots so RAM with tall heatspreaders may be a source of interference. 46 mm separates the bottom fin of the heatsink and the surface of the motherboard which is enough to comfortably accommodate most VRM heatsinks.



The imprint left behind by the heatsink is not even but it is very faint at the center indicating good contact. A good mating along with solid tension pushes most of the thermal compound out to the sides.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements of the product(s) for comparison.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Weight
790 g (heatsink only)

910 g (with stock fan)
Height 155 mm
Fin count 36
Fin thickness
0.43 mm
Fin spacing
2.57 mm
Vertical Clearance*
40 mm
* measured from motherboard PCB to bottom
fin of heatsink


Large Heatsink Comparison:

Average Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
SilverStone Heligon HE02
0.52 mm
3.30 mm
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
0.34 mm
3.12 mm
Thermalright HR-22
0.53 mm
2.74 mm
Scythe Ninja 3
0.39 mm
2.64 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Scythe Ninja 4

0.43 mm

2.57 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Cryorig H5 Universal
0.40 mm
2.47 mm
Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer V2
0.39 mm
2.44 mm
LEPA LV12
0.51 mm
2.38 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Thermalright Archon SB-E
0.49 mm
2.33 mm
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
0.39 mm
2.30 mm
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
0.40 mm
2.30 mm
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
0.31 mm
2.25 mm
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
0.40 mm
2.24 mm
Be Quiet! Dark Rock 2
0.38 mm
2.22 mm
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
0.40 mm
2.21 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Cryorig R1 Ultimate/Universal
0.42 mm
1.78 / 2.37 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Ashura
0.43 mm
1.97 mm
SilverStone Tundra TD03 (radiator)
0.43 mm
1.86 mm
SilverStone Argon AR01
0.30 mm
1.85 mm
Scythe Mugen 4
0.30 mm
1.82 mm
Noctua NH-C14
0.38 mm
1.79 mm
Enermax ETS-T40
0.40 mm
1.79 mm
Noctua NH-D15
0.46 mm
1.79 mm
Scythe Mugen Max
0.40 mm
1.77 mm
Enermax Liqtech 120X (radiator)
0.46 mm
1.76 mm
Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
0.42 mm
1.73 mm
SilverStone Argon AR03
0.42 mm
1.72 mm
Noctua NH-U14S
0.42 mm
1.72 mm
Scythe Kotetsu
0.35 mm
1.66 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
0.16 mm
1.59 mm
Thermalright Silver Arrow
0.32 mm
1.57 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev.C
0.56 mm
1.52 mm
Swiftech H240-X (radiator)
0.13 mm
1.80 mm
Deepcool Gamer Storm

Maelstrom 240 (radiator)
0.26 mm
1.14 mm
NZXT Kraken X31/X41 (radiator)
0.15 mm
1.07 mm
NZXT Kraken X61 (radiator)
0.13 mm
1.02 mm

Larger heatsinks are tested on our
LGA1366 heatsink testing platform
, while smaller coolers tackle our
LGA1155
heatsink testing platform
. A summary of the test system and procedure follows.

Key Components in LGA1366 Heatsink Test Platform:

Key Components in LGA1155 Heatsink Test Platform:

The systems are silent under the test conditions, except for the CPU cooling
fan(s).

Normally, our reference fans are used whenever possible, the measured details
of which are shown below.

Reference Noctua 140mm fan

Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
12V
1250 RPM
28~29 dBA
9V
990 RPM
21 dBA
8V
880 RPM
18 dBA
7V
770 RPM
15~16 dBA
6V
660 RPM
13 dBA


Reference Scythe 140mm fan

Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
N/A
850 RPM
21 dBA
N/A
750 RPM
18~19 dBA
N/A
650 RPM
16 dBA
N/A
550 RPM
14 dBA


Reference Nexus 120 mm fan

Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
12V
1080 RPM
16 dBA
9V
880 RPM
13 dBA
7V
720 RPM
12 dBA


Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system
    power.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate
    the fan speed during the test.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer:
    SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital
    audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber
    with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower
  • Various other tools for testing fans, as documented in our
    standard fan testing methodology
    .
  • SpeedFan,
    used to monitor the on-chip thermal sensors. The sensors are not calibrated,
    so results are not universally applicable. The hottest core reading is used.
  • Prime95,
    used to stress the CPU heavily, generating more heat than most real applications.
    All instances are used to ensure full stress.
  • CPU-Z,

    used to monitor the CPU speed to determine when overheating occurs.

  • Thermometers to measure the air temperature around the test platform
    and near the intake of the heatsink fan.

Noise measurements are made with the fans powered from a separate, fanless system. Load testing was accomplished using Prime95 to stress the processor, and the
graph function in SpeedFan was used to ensure that the load temperature is stable
for at least ten minutes. The temperature recorded is the highest single core
reading. The stock fans were tested at various voltages to represent a good
cross-section of airflow and noise performance.

The ambient conditions during testing were 10~11 dBA and 21~23°C.

NOISE MEASUREMENTS

Specifications: Scythe Ninja 4 Stock Fan
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 2.64 W
Model Number SY1225HB12H-PS Airflow Rating 84.64 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve Speed Rating 1500 RPM (±10%)
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating 29.5 dBA
Hub Size 36 mm Header Type 4-pin PWM
Blade Diameter 114 mm Starting Voltage 4.0 ~ 4.5 V
Cable Length 30 cm Weight 120 g
Corner Type Open Retail Availability No
Data in blue cells provided by the manufacturer
or observed; data in the green cells were measured.

Aside from the three speed switch and slightly higher 1500 RPM top speed, the stock fan is similar to the GlideStream model that ships with the Scythe Kotetsu and Mugen 4. This line of fans is characterized by a small hub, struts curved against the curvature of the fan blades, and the flat tips of the blades' leading edges.

Stock Fan Measurements
PWM Setting
Speed
100%
1480 RPM
30 dBA
80%
1300 RPM
26~27 dBA
60%
1090 RPM
21~22 BA
50%
920 RPM
18~19 dBA
40%
850 RPM
15~16 dBA
30%
710 RPM
13 dBA
0%
340 RPM
<11 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.

Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

On PWM control, our sample is able to go down all the way to 340 RPM, slow enough that it effectively gets below our chamber's noise floor. At the opposite end of the spectrum, it produces a very loud 30 [email protected] at full speed, so there's a wide variety of speeds to choose from depending on how much noise you're willing to tolerate.

The three speed switch only limits the maximum speed, to 1500, 1150 or 800
RPM. It is probably most useful if the fan header lacks PWM control, or if you
know your system will never require the cooling power of the fan beyond the
set speeds.

The GlideStream lacks the silky smooth acoustics of its Slip Stream predecessor
but it's a decent 120 mm fan. This particular sample is not as pleasing to the
ear as previous, slower speed samples. It's fairly smooth but buzzy at high
speeds which is typical for a sleeve bearing model. As the fan slows, it develops
a moderate hum, high pitched at first, then lowering as speed decreases. At
very low speeds, there is less turbulence, making an underlying clickiness more
noticeable. These noises probably aren't audible when the heatsink/fan is mounted
inside a case, though, so they're trivial.

TEST RESULTS

NOTE: Our Noctua NF-P14 140 mm reference fan has been retired as
it is no longer being sold, and we're down to two irreplaceable samples. So
before they break, we're making the premptive move of replacing them with the
Scythe GlideStream 140-M (1200 RPM 3-pin model) which isn't quieter or
better acoustically, but performs very similarly on most heatsinks.

Test Results: Scythe Ninja 4
Fan Setting
Single Fan
Dual Fan
Thermal Rise
100% - 1480 RPM
30 dBA
34°C
N/A
80% - 1300 RPM
26~27 dBA
35°C
60% - 1090 RPM
21~22 dBA
36°C
50% - 920 RPM
18~19 dBA
36°C
40% - 850 RPM
15~16 dBA
37°C
30% - 710 RPM
13 dBA
40°C
Reference 140 mm Fan (Scythe GlideStream 140-M)
850 RPM
21 dBA
37°C
36°C
24 dBA
750 RPM
18~19 dBA
38°C
36°C
20~21 dBA
650 RPM
16 dBA
40°C
37°C
18 dBA
550 RPM
14 dBA
43°C
40°C
15 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the center of the heatsink.

Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA.

The Ninja 4 performs incredibly well on our test platform, keeping the thermal rise at 40°C or lower at every tested fan speed. Furthermore, the performance changes very little as the fan speed decreases, with a total spread of just 6°C between 100% and 30% on PWM control. With the stock fan, the cooler appears to hit its sweet spot at about 50% speed, which is just under the 20 dBA threshold that I consider quiet. Performance is even decent at 30%, with the noise level approaching inaudible.

Temperatures actually go up when our larger reference fan is used, with the GlideStream 140-M causing a ~3°C penalty at equivalent noise levels, but this is unimportant as we just need this data to compare with past/future heatsinks using the same fan(s). Doubling up on fans is marginally more effective at moderate speeds, but a 3°C improvement can be enjoyed at very low speeds.

COMPARISON TABLES

CPU Thermal Rise Comparison (°C): Coolers w/Single Fan
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Scythe Ninja 4
     
36
 
37
 
40
   
Scythe Kotetsu
35
         
38
 
41
 
42
 
Thermalright Archon SB-E
   
39
         
40
   
43
Thermalright Silver Arrow

(one stock fan removed)
       
38
       
42
46
 
Thermalright HR-02 Macho
38
   
39
     
40
41
 
43
 
Scythe Mugen Max
   
38
     
39
   
43
   
Scythe Mugen 4
           
40
   
42
 
45
Noctua NH-U14S
     
38
 
40
   
43
   
Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
     
40
   
41
 
42
   
Noctua NH-D15

(one stock fan removed)
     
39
 
41
   
44
   
NZXT Kraken X41
   
38
                 
Thermalright HR-22*

(reference Noctua 140 mm fan)
39
   
40
     
42
 
44
 
Noctua NH-C14

(one stock fan removed)
     
40
 
41
   
44
49
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
   
40
       
42
 
47
 
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
       
41
       
44
54
 
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
 
40
     
41
   
44
 
49
Cryorig R1 Ultimate/Universal

(one stock fan removed)
   
40
   
43
       
49
 
Scythe Ashura
     
42
     
44
     
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Cryorig H5 Universal
 
41
   
42
45
 
46
   
Silverstone Argon AR03
41
     
43
         
48
SilverStone Argon AR01
42
     
44
         
50
Scythe Ninja 3
       
44
       
46
   
Phanteks PH-TC12DX

(one stock fan removed)
       
44
     
47
     
Antec Kühler H20 620
42
   
44
     
47
     
Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer V2
41
 
43
   
45
   
49
   
Phanteks PH-TC14PE

(one stock fan removed)
   
42
   
45
   
48
     
Zalman CNPS9900 MAX
   
45
     
47
 
49
     
LEPA LV12
         
45
48
52
 
NZXT Kraken X31
 
43
 
44
 
47
         
SilverStone Heligon HE02*

(reference Noctua 140 mm fan)
45
   
46
   
48
 
50
 
Enermax Liqtech 120X

(one stock fan removed)
45
 
47
 
48
         
GELID Tranquillo Rev.2
     
48
 
49
   
50
     
Be Quiet! Dark Rock 2
     
48
     
52
 
55
61
 
GELID GX-7 Rev.2
49
       
51
     
56
   
Core i7-980X Stock Cooler
             
53
   
62
 
Enermax ETS-T40
   
49
         
55
 
64
Core i7-920 Stock Cooler
64
FAIL
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Single/dual fan air-cooled heatsinks in light/dark green.

Single/dual fan liquid coolers in light/dark blue.

*Heatsink ships without fans.

Compared to other single fan coolers, the Ninja 4 takes the top spot, usurping
the Kotetsu. It's another success for Scythe, which currently accounts for four
of the heatsinks in the top 10.

CPU Thermal Rise Comparison (°C): Coolers w/Dual Fans
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
NZXT Kraken X61
 
33
34
35
 
37
           
Prolimatech Genesis*

(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
35
   
36
   
37
   
39
   
Thermalright Silver Arrow
   
35
       
38
40
 
Noctua NH-C14
 
36
   
37
   
39
 
41
 
Thermalright HR-22*

(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
37
   
38
 
39
       
Scythe Ninja 4

(reference Scythe 140 mm fans)
 
36
 
37
   
40
       
Thermalright HR-02 Macho

(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
36
     
37
   
40
       
Swiftech H240-X
33
35
36
 
39
             
Noctua NH-D15
 
38
   
39
   
40
   
Phanteks PH-TC14PE
 
38
   
39
   
41
     
Scythe Mugen Max

(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
 
39
     
41
         
Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
 
39
     
40
   
44
49
 
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
 
37
   
41
 
42
     
Scythe Mugen 4

(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
39
     
40
     
42
   
Deepcool Maelstrom 240
   
40
     
41
45
 
46
   
Cryorig R1 Universal
   
39
   
41
           
SilverStone Tundra TD03
   
40
                 
Deepcool Gamer Storm Lucifer V2 (reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
40
       
41
           
Cooler Master Seidon 240M
     
40
 
43
   
53
     
Phanteks PH-TC12DX
 
41
       
44
         
SilverStone Heligon HE02*

(reference Noctua 140 mm fans)
     
44
     
46
       
Enermax Liqtech 120X
 
44
 
45
               
Zalman CNPS9900DF
   
48
   
50
   
53
     
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
Single/dual fan air-cooled heatsinks in light/dark green.

Single/dual fan liquid coolers in light/dark blue.

*Heatsink ships without fans.

The Ninja 4 isn't as outstanding with dual fans, but still excellent, within
a stone throw's away from being one of the very best.

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 5 second segments of room ambiance, 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.

  • Scythe Ninja 4 stock fan at 1m
    — at 30% PWM, 710 RPM (13 dBA)
    — at 40% PWM, 850 RPM (15~16 dBA)
    — at 50% PWM, 920 RPM (18~19 dBA)
    — at 60% PWM, 1090 RPM (21~22 dBA)
    — at 80% PWM, 1300 RPM (26~27 dBA)
    — at 100% PWM, 1480 RPM (30 dBA)

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Scythe Ninja went through numerous redesigns and revisions that mostly
underperformed, failing to live up to the landmark debut. A full decade later,
iteration number four finally deserves as much acclaim as the original. By a
hair, the Ninja 4 is the best single fan tower CPU cooler we've tested to date,
and the latest success story for the resurgent Japanese manufacturer. The Ninja
4 beats out its predecessor by a substantial 6°C~10°C depending on the
noise level, even though the two are not that different physically. The newer
model has similar fin spacing, a slightly lighter and larger body, and nickel-plated
heatpipes but these changes are probably too small to be responsible for such
a dramatic performance improvement.

In the Ninja 3 review, I made note of the slightly concave base and the poorly
designed mounting system. Scythe addressed both of these issues by making the
base slightly convex, and using a new modern assembly scheme that exerts greater
force directly over the base, creating superior contact with the CPU surface.
This mounting formula has been applied to all of Scythe's latest coolers, and
not coincidentally, most of them now occupy high positions on our cooling performance
charts.

The Ninja 4 is currently selling for ~US$50, a very modest sum for such
a high performance cooler. The only possible drawback is compatibility, as it
does hang over memory slots which will cause interference issues with oversized
memory heatspreaders. Personally, I always select memory of modest size, but
if you're stuck with tall ones, consider the offset design of the Mugen Max
or the slender Kotetsu as alternatives. Along with the Ninja 4, they offer premier
performance at a reasonable price.

Our thanks to Scythe
for the Ninja 4 CPU cooler sample.

* * *



Scythe Ninja 4 wins the SPCR's Editor's Choice Award

* * *

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Cryorig R1 Ultimate & Universal CPU
Coolers

* * *

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