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Scythe Ninja 3 & Scythe Yasya CPU Heatsinks

Scythe Ninja 3 & Scythe Yasya CPU Heatsinks

August 8, 2010 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Scythe Ninja 3

CPU Cooler
Scythe Yasya

CPU Cooler
Manufacturer
Scythe
Co., Ltd.
Scythe
Co., Ltd.
Street Price
US$45~$50 US$35~$50

Revered for its part it in creating and popularizing the tower heatsink paradigm,
the Japanese manufacturer Scythe has been neglecting the form recently. Scythe's
last big tower cooler, the Mugen-2,
impressed us greatly with its high performance and low price-tag, but it's been
more than a year since its debut and nothing has since has been released to
compliment it. There seems to be a large void in Scythe's lineup since the Ninja
series fell out of fashion, having been surpassed by a multitude of ambitious
newcomers. The release of two new tower heatsinks may remedy the situation,
but with the DIY market currently saturated with high performance PC coolers,
the Ninja 3 and Yasya really need to step up to be noticed.

Scythe Ninja 3

The newest scion of the legendary Ninja family retains a distinct resemblance
to the original; it is a big, uniform, symmetrical, block of aluminum fins.
Ninja 3 features an extra heatpipe on each side and two channels slicing up
the heatsink in the shape of an 'X' though small portions have been left intact
as bridges holding the four sections together. Its predecessor the Ninja
2
relied on stock mounting systems, but the Ninja 3 utilizes a bolt-thru
system with a padded backplate.



The Ninja 3 package.

Scythe heatsink stock fans have been consistently above par acoustically, and
tend to deliver good cooling in relation to the noise . However, to satisfy
more performance-oriented and less noise-conscious users, the Ninja 3 ships
with a relatively high speed Slip Stream PWM fan rated for 1900 RPM. On the
bright side, there's a manual fan speed controller attached.

Scythe Yasya

We're not even going to wager a guess at the origins of the name "Yasya"
but with no lineage to live up to the heatsink bearing its name is free to be
equally odd. In essence it is a traditional six heatpipe cooler but uses what
Scythe refers to as a "Trident Multi Layer Fin" structure. The faces
of the heatsink are very angular, with each fin resembling a jagged blade. This
unusual design reduces resistance but at the cost of total surface area. The
result is a menacing heatsink, not just in appearance. The Yasya is the most
physically hazardous CPU cooler we've come across since the Thermaltake
SpinQ
and caution should be exercised when handling it.



Box contents: Scythe Yasya.

Compared to the Ninja 3 the Yasya is lighter and more slender. Though it's
not exactly a lightweight, Scythe deemed it appropriate for traditional Intel
pushpins and AMD spring-loaded tension clips. The stock fan is the same as the
Ninja 3's.

Specifications: Scythe Ninja 3 vs. Yasya
Model Name
Ninja 3 CPU Cooler
Yasya CPU Cooler
Model No.
SCNJ-3000
SCYS-1000
Manufacturer
Scythe Co., Ltd. Japan
Heatsink
120 x 120 x 160mm

4.72 x 4.72 x 6.30 in
130 x 108.5 x 159mm

5.12 x 4.27 x 6.26 in
Material of Base Plate
Nickel-Plated Copper
Fan
Slip Stream 120 PWM Adjustable
Dimensions
120 x 120 x 25mm

4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 in
Speed
Max. Band 740 (±25%) - 1,900rpm (±10%)

Min. Band 470 (±30%) - 1,340rpm (±10%)
Noise Level
Max. Band 9.8 - 37.0 dBA

Min. Band 7.05 - 27.3 dBA
Air Flow
Max. Band 37.15 - 110.31 CFM

Min. Band 23.0 - 76.53 CFM
Bearing Type
Sleeve Bearing
Weight Included Fan
1040g

36.38 oz
848g

29.91 oz
Compatibility
Intel®LGA1366

Intel®LGA1156

Intel®LGA775

AMD Socket AM3

AMD Socket AM2+

AMD Socket AM2

AMD Socket939

AMD Socket754

Scythe Ninja 3: Physical Details & Installation

The Ninja 3 is composed of 8 copper heatpipes (for 16 heatpipe
paths through the fins) and a stack of 38 aluminum fins. According to our measurements,
it weighs 880 grams, 1010 grams with the stock fan and clips installed, and
has a height of 159 mm. For reference, the Thermalright
Ultra-120 eXtreme
is 162 mm tall.



The basic structure of the Ninja remains the same, though the heatpipe
orientation is slightly different. The two center heatpipes run close
to the center of the fin mass, while the other two heatpipes are closer
to the exterior.



The top of the heatsink is rather fanciful with decorative artwork. The
'X' shaped incision reduces resistance to airflow.



The base has a nice polish on it though some circular machine marks are
visible.



For Intel boards standoffs are inserted into the appropriate holes on
the mounting arms and secured into place by nuts.



Bolts are inserted through the backplate on the other side and secured
to the standoffs. Aligning the holes while simultaneously holding up the
bottom of the board is difficult so we suggest propping up the board with
a box or something similar in height to the heatsink.



The clearance underneath the heatsink is 43 mm, more than enough to clear
the Northbridge and VRM heatsinks on our test motherboard.

Scythe Yasya: Physical Details & Installation

The Yasya is composed of 6 copper heatpipes (for 12 heatpipe paths
through the fins) and a stack of 54 aluminum fins. According to our measurements,
it weighs 760 grams, 890 grams with the stock fan and clips installed, and has
a height of 158 mm. For reference, the Thermalright
Ultra-120 eXtreme
is 162 mm tall.



The angle of the jagged edges vary in sets of 4 making the surface nonuniform.
As a result it is easy to cut oneself when holding it on the pointy sides.



Like many tower heatsinks, the heatpipes are staggered in groups of three.



The base is slightly duller than that of the Ninja 3, but there aren't
any noticeable markings on the surface.



The Yasya uses the same clip-on mounts found on many of Scythe's smaller
heatsinks. They're not the best for ensuring a tight bond with the processor,
but they're literally a snap to get on.



Installed on our test board. The bottom fin is 40 mm above the PCB surface.



The mounting clips attach on the wide side of the Yasya so the cooler's
fan will blow upward when installed on an AMD motherboard. This will heat
up a top-mounted power supply and may prevent the use of RAM with tall
heatspreaders in the closest two slots.

BASE FLATNESS

A flat contact area between the heatsink and CPU heatspreader
is ideal for heat transfer. The copper heatspreader that covers a modern desktop
CPU die often has a slightly concave shape; that is, the center is slightly
lower and the surface gradually curves upwards toward the edges. Heatsink manufacturers
can either make their bases flat, slightly convex to match the concave surface
of the processor.

A Czech tech website, CTTL.cz
found that their Ninja 3 sample had a rather poor base. We replicated their
observations by placing a visibly straight metal ruler against the base of the
Ninja 3 and several other heatsinks with a bright light source in the background
to see how much light leaked through.

On the Ninja 3, light was visible along the entire surface except at the far
edges. The base is concave with a shallow but noticeable crater effect. Most
coolers have bases that are almost flat or contoured slightly in the opposite
direction. When the ruler was placed on the Yasya's base, more light was visible
at the edges, and the ruler could rock up and down slightly with the center
as a pivot point.

The original Ninja, Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, and Prolimatech Mega Shadow
(Megahalems) have clearly
convex surfaces as well.

TESTING

Before thermal testing, we took some basic physical measurements.

Approximate Physical Measurements
Heatsink Scythe Ninja 3 Scythe Yasya
Weight
880 g

1010 g with stock fan and clips
760 g

890 g with stock fan and clips
Height 159 mm 158 mm
Fin count 38 54
Fin thickness
0.39 mm 0.32 mm
Fin spacing
2.64 mm 1.78 mm
Vertical Clearance*
43 mm 40 mm
Horizontal Overhang**
-23 mm -17 mm
* measured from the motherboard PCB to
the bottom fin of the heatsink.

** measured from the far edge of the heatsink to the top edge of the motherboard
PCB.


Comparison: Approximate Fin Thickness & Spacing
Heatsink
Fin Thickness
Fin Spacing
Scythe Ninja 2
0.39 mm
3.68 mm
Scythe Ninja Mini
0.42 mm
3.46 mm
Thermalright HR-01 Plus
0.45 mm
3.15 mm
Scythe Ninja 3
0.39 mm
2.64 mm
Noctua NH-U12P
0.44 mm
2.63 mm
Noctua NH-C12P
0.47 mm
2.54 mm
Noctua NH-D14
0.43 mm
2.33 mm
Prolimatech Armageddon
0.51 mm
2.08 mm
Prolimatech Megahalems
0.50 mm
2.00 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
0.40 mm
2.00 mm
Scythe Kabuto & Zipang 2
0.34 mm
1.94 mm
Scythe Mugen-2
0.31 mm
1.89 mm
Cooler Master V8
0.30 mm
~1.85 mm
Titan Fenrir
0.36 mm
1.78 mm
Scythe Yasya
0.32 mm
1.78 mm
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
0.40 mm
1.70 mm
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
0.38 mm
1.66 mm
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
0.43 mm
1.54 mm
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
0.42 mm
1.50 mm
Thermalright Ultra-120
0.45 mm
1.42 mm

Testing was done on our
new i7-1366 heatsink testing platform
. A summary of the test system
and procedure follows.

Key Components in Heatsink Test Platform:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme
    Nehalem core, LGA1366, 3.2GHz, 45nm, 130W TDP.
  • Asus
    P6X58D Premium
    ATX motherboard. X58 chipset.
  • Asus
    EAH3450 Silent
    graphics card.
  • Intel
    X25-M
    80GB 2.5" solid-state drive. Chosen for silence.
  • 3GB QiMonda
    DDR3 memory. 3 x 1GB DDR3-1066 in triple channel.
  • Seasonic X-650 SS-650KM
    650W ATX power supply. This PSU is semi-passively cooled. At the power levels
    of our test platform, its fan does not spin.
  • Arctic Silver
    Lumière
    : Special fast-curing thermal interface material, designed
    specifically for test labs.
  • Nexus 120 fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 120x25mm
    fans)
  • Nexus 92 fan (used when possible with heatsinks that fit 92x25mm
    fans)

The system is 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 Nexus 120mm fan

Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1100 RPM
9V
13 dBA
890 RPM
7V
12 dBA
720 RPM


Reference Nexus 92 mm fan

Anechoic chamber measurements
Voltage
Speed
12V
16 dBA
1470 RPM
9V
12 dBA
1150 RPM

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.
    8 instances are used to ensure that all 4 cores (with Hyper-threading) are
    stressed.
  • 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 the lab's variable DC
power supply while the rest of the system was off to ensure that system noise
did not skew the measurements.

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.

Stock Fan Measurements

Specifications: Scythe 3 & Yasya Stock Fan
Manufacturer
Power Rating
7.2W
Model Number
SY1225SL12HPVC
Airflow Rating
110.31 CFM
Bearing Type
Sleeve
Speed Rating
1900 RPM
Corners
Open
Noise Rating
37 dBA
Frame Size
120 x 120 mm
Header Type
4-pin PWM
Fan Blade Diameter
114 mm
Starting Voltage
4.1V
Hub Size
36 mm
Weight
120 g
Data in green cells provided by the manufacturer
or observed; data in the blue cells were measured.


Stock Fan Measurements
Voltage
Speed
SPL @1m
12V
1920 RPM
36 dBA
9V
1580 RPM
30 dBA
7V
1350 RPM
26 dBA
5V
1030 RPM
18 dBA
4V
800 RPM
13 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle from
the intake side of the fan.

Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.

The Ninja 3 and Yasya stock fan has a much higher speed than the fans on most
of Scythe's previous coolers but it is still a Slip Stream, so smooth, unobtrusive
sound can be obtained through undervolting. At 9V and above, the fan produces
a distressing amount of whine and turbulence. At 7V the whine lessens, but the
turbulence remains, and the fan gives off an audible hum. At 5V, the fan becomes
what we consider to be quiet — 18 [email protected], with a smooth broadband profile
with just a slight rattle audible at one meter. At 4V, its acoustics are beyond
reproach; there are few fans if any that sound as good generating 13 [email protected]

The fan has a starting voltage of 4V, which is also the bottom limit of the
included fan controller. However, when combined with PWM control on a capable
motherboard, the speed can be dropped down to about 400 RPM, though there is
little practical reason to slow it down that much.



The Ninja 3/Yasya stock fan measures 18 [email protected] when running at 5V.

COOLING RESULTS

Stock 120mm fan
Fan Voltage
°C Rise
Ninja 3
Yasya
12V
36 dBA
39
36
9V
30 dBA
40
37
7V
26 dBA
41
38
5V
18 dBA
44
40
4V
13 dBA
46
43
Reference 120mm fan
12V
16 dBA
44
41
9V
13 dBA
47
43
7V
12 dBA
49
47
2 x Reference 120mm fans
12V
19 dBA
41
39
9V
14 dBA
43
40
7V
12 dBA
46
43
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (26°C)
at load.

When paired either the stock fan and our reference fan, the Yasya consistently
held a 2~4°C lead over the larger Ninja 3. Though the Yasya has a less impressive
mounting system, we found that the thermal compound footprint (examined when
the heatsink was removed after testing) showed signs of a tighter mating, and
was more even all around, probably due to its slightly convex base. We believe
this played a significant factor in the Yasya's superior performance.

Pairing the heatsinks with dual reference fans produced similar improvements
with a 2~3°C drop in temperature at 12V and a 3~4°C dip at 9V and 7V.

Comparison Chart

°C rise Comparison
Heatsink
Nexus 120mm fan voltage /

SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
Prolimatech Megahalems
38
41
44
Noctua NH-D14
38
42
45
Noctua NH-U12P
39
42
44
Scythe Mugen-2
39
42
45
Cogage TRUE Spirit 1366
40
42
45
Prolimatech Armageddon
40
42
46
Zalman CNPS10X Quiet
40
43
46
Scythe Yasya
41
43
47
Thermalright U120 eXtreme
40
43
48
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
41
44
48
Thermalright U120
42
45
49
Titan Fenrir
43
46
50
Scythe Ninja 3
44
47
49
Noctua NH-C12P
43
47
51
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
43
47
53
Zalman CNPS10X Flex
45
50
54
Cooler Master V8
46
50
54
Scythe Grand Kama Cross
45
52
57
Scythe Kabuto
51
53
60

The Yasya, despite its smaller stature and lower weight, cracks our top ten
list, performing on par with the Thermalright
Ultra-120 eXtreme
. The Ninja 3 lands about 5 spots behind sharing company
with the likes of the Titan Fenrir
and Zalman CNPS10X Extreme,
two imposing heatsinks that also perform a bit below expectations.

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 5~10 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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Scythe Ninja 3

While the Ninja 3's base is polished to an almost mirror-smooth finish, Scythe
should focus more on its flatness rather than the visible shine. Its concave
shape is likely the main cause of its lackluster cooling. Though not a poor
heatsink, the Ninja 3 underperforms for its size/weight. It is possible that
our review sample is an anomaly; if so, perhaps Sythe will see fit to send us
another sample.

Not only is it a behemoth, it's a pain to install as well because bolting down
the heatsink requires the motherboard to be out of the case, and flipped upside
down. It's something that should've been addressed after the Mugen-2;
Scythe still has a ways to go in this regard. It is a secure mounting system,
though, and like all previous Ninjas, the latest incarnation is a symmetrical
square so there are no orientation issues on AMD motherboards.

The stock Slip Stream fan has a higher maximum speed than we would have liked,
but the included controller can bring it down to near inaudible levels and below
if connected to a PWM controllable fan header. The current street price for
the Ninja 3 is US$45, a little high considering there are a slew of better performing
alternatives.

Scythe Ninja 3
PROS



* Symmetrical (proper orientation on AMD boards)

* Secure mounting system

* Quality stock fan with controller
CONS



* Poor concave base

* Annoying installation procedure

* Big, heavy

Scythe Yasya

The Yasya, despite its smaller size, managed to outperform the Ninja 3 by
about 3°C consistently in our tests. Another 3°C and it would've challenged
for champion status. Unfortunately it uses the stock mounting mechanism which
isn't ideal because of the Yasya's weight. In addition, the fan points upward
when installed on AMD motherboards; given its performance it really deserves
something better.

The Yasya ships with the same stock fan and controller as the Ninja 3, so the
acoustic quality and overall noise level simply isn't an issue. The Yasya can
be found online for as low as US$35, a US$10 discount over the Ninja 3, making
it a very solid budget cooler.

Scythe Yasya
PROS



* Great performance

* Quality stock fan with controller

* Affordable
CONS



* Blows upward on AMD boards

* Questionable mounting system

* Sharp

Our thanks to Scythe
Co., Ltd.
for the Ninja 3 and Yasya heatsink samples.

* * *

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SPCR's 2010 CPU Heatsink
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* * *

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