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
Our competitors: from top left to right- TS Heatronics
NCU-1000, Thermalright SLK-800U, Scythe Kamakaze, Swiftech MCX4000.
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.
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.
a closer look at the speed variable fan:
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