iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Cooler Master V4, Scythe Shuriken, Zalman CNPS8700 NT CPU Coolers

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Scythe Shuriken (SCSK-1000)

Even though it's very short (just 64 mm), Shuriken comes up with an imposing technical complex formed by a copper base (50 x 36 x 2 mm), additional aluminum heat sink (72 x 56 x 26 mm), three copper heat pipes (6 mm in diameter), wide aluminum finning, and a special low-profile fan (100 x 100 x 12 mm, 2200 rpm, PWM control).

Just as in case of V4 from Cooler Master, the large additional heat sink offloads the base of the cooler and reduces thermal resistance between the base and pipes. The structure of heat pipes is intensified by six heat release elements (both halves of U-bent pipes take part in heat transfer, almost like in tower heat sinks). The heat is dissipated from large finning (54 fins, 105 x 15 mm, 0.2-mm thick, placed at 2-mm steps). As a result, the combination of these three aspects forms a "working body" with developed surface area of heat exchange (about 2000 cm2).

However, a detailed inspection of Shuriken reveals questionable technical solutions, which are disappointing rather than inspiring. First of all it concerns the way heat pipes are connected with fins -- pipes are just partially embedded into fins (with apparent deficit of heat exchange) instead of traditional embedding (when fins are spindled over pipes and interact with them through the entire area of contact). In addition to halved interaction between pipes and fins, the situation is aggravated by incomplete contact with the fin-stack as such (about a quarter of each of the six elements is "poised in the air" right where the fan generates the most intense air flow). These nuances are hardly innovative -- limited thermal contact between pipes and fins cannot contribute to minimization of thermal resistance and can have a negative effect on Shuriken's efficiency.

The fan (YLTC SY1012SL12H) does not look very convincing either. We have no gripes with its technical quality (good plain bearing and normalized electric fitting), but its aerodynamic configuration is too much of a compromise. Frankly speaking, it leaves much to be desired (low-profile impellers cannot provide a good combination of performance and noise ergonomics due to their design, so even some optimizations in the SY1012SL12H fail to improve its performance portrait). We approve of Scythe engineers, who tried to make Shuriken as short as possible, but a fan with a bigger impeller would have been more appropriate here.

What concerns usability, Shuriken has no serious problems -- it comes with a user-friendly multi-platform retention module (supporting Intel LGA775, Socket 478, and AMD Socket 754/939/AM2) with a fast and convenient installation procedure. Besides, this cooler comes with bundled thermal grease (highly efficient composition of aluminum oxide and nitride) and PWM control.

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