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           Scythe Kamakaze & TS Heatronics NCU-1000

Product :

  Kamakaze & NCU-1000

Manufacturer :

  Scythe & TS Heatronics

Reviewed by :

  Bryan Andrews

Price :

  $34.99 & $42.20

Date :

  August 17, 2003.


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With CPU coolers coming out of our ears I find these days there are simply too many choices getting in the way of a good decision and not enough true quality products. Some heatsinks are small and lightweight but don’t really have much to show for it. Some are large and bulky and have an uncanny knack for snapping motherboards or socket retention clips. Others simply have poor designs and cost little to no money, a poor solution for a minimum $300 investment in the overclockable ‘bits’ of a computer. Today we’ll be looking at two different specialized approaches at either end of the CPU cooling spectrum, the Scythe Kamakaze and the TS Heatronics NCU-1000.

Our competitors: from top left to right- TS Heatronics NCU-1000, Thermalright SLK-800U, Scythe Kamakaze, Swiftech MCX4000.

Before we cover every shirt in the wardrobe with thermal compound I would like to thank Will from Scythe for helping 3DVelocity get this review off the ground.

Today we’ll start off by taking a look at the Scythe Kamakaze. This heatsink is Scythe’s flagship cooler, capable of applications on AMD and Intel boards. With a design for straight up high performance cooling I was not surprised to see it equipped with a housing for an 80mm fan. The heatsink also boasts a stainless steel shroud for focussing air onto the heatsink and keeping noise levels down (fewer vibrations transferred to the motherboard and case). The main idea in the heatsink design is “Lots of pins distribute lots of heat. Fast.” And boy do they use lots of pins. 22 pins squared in a grid arrangement means this heatsink holds, by my math, 484 pins, and leaves lots of room to spare for airflow. The pins are actually weak enough to be bent, and even in shipping were slightly warped inward at a contact point between the box and mounting hardware on the side of the heatsink. Hopefully they don’t break off, as mine haven’t, but with the assistance of the laws of probability I’m sure eventually one is bound to when dealing with another harder object such as a computer case. Even slight pressure from careless fingers can bend these babies so they are definitely to be avoided.

The base of the heatsink is well machined, about similar to that of perhaps a 2000-5000 grit sanding job with a little polish. Machine marks are clearly visible but a reflection is noticeable from a fair distance, as much as several inches. This is in no means anywhere near a mirror finish but it's surely better than anything you'll find on a stock cooler(if that says much). One might notice the base looks very similar to those of Alpha heatsinks, in fact the entire chunk of metal resembles Alpha with its black paint, but destiny permits both companies to design similar products in such an uncommon colour as black ;) (there is in fact no relationship between Scythe and Alpha).


With a nice, bright flash you can really notice the residue left over from the base's protective laminate

A few abrasions on the corner, probably from shipping.

Now a closer look at the speed variable fan:

Installation was more than worrisome. Provided are two separate sets of mounting the hardware (one for each CPU breed) which are both somewhat complicated. Luckily removal of the motherboard from the tray / case was not necessary, but the Intel mounting bracket sure is a PITA!! Pushing plastic rivets through small holes and securing them with even smaller white pieces of plastic is not a beneficial experience for fingertips. In fact, after installing such mounting devices, AMD’s flathead screwdriver clips seem simple(this heatsink does not require a flathead screwdriver or forceful pushing & bending for AMD installation! Hallelujah!). The fan is simple to attach, simply place inside the shiny shroud and tighten screws. Once installed on the motherboard, one may attach the fan speed controller to the expansion bay and attach the power plug molex connector. Actually it can be done in any particular order but this way means you don’t have to suspend things while plugged in. Guess which one I recommend.

The fan controller supplied is a simple capable of lowering rpm from 3300 to an almost postmortem 1300rpm. At such speeds the fan is not only inaudible in a powered system, it is practically inaudible with no system running at all! While a quiet whisper is rated at 30dB, and rustling leaves are half as quiet at 20dB, a Kamakaze fan is rated at no more than 16dB!! Fan-tastic! :D



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