The Japan-headquartered Scythe keeps on turning out new CPU coolers. Recently we had a look at the Scythe Yasya and now it’s time for us to test the newest Ninja 3 and Rasetsu as well as the revised Mugen 2. We guess the most exciting product among them is the new model in the legendary Ninja series. The first Ninja (SCNJ-1000) provoked a sensation among overclockers and earned high popularity due to excellent performance in every operation mode. Then there were the Ninja Plus (SCNJ-1000P), Ninja Plus rev. B (SCNJ-1100P), and the mini version of the Ninja. The limited-edition Ninja Copper (SCNJ-CU1000) was but slightly superior to its aluminum counterparts and was mostly purchased by collectors. The second version (SCNJ-2000) followed three years after the original Ninja but met a much tougher market competition. What can we expect from the third version? Let’s find out right now.
Ninja 3 (SCNJ-3000)
The Scythe Ninja 3 (SCNJ-3000) comes in a medium-sized box typical of Scythe products. It is all covered with pictures of the cooler and information about it.
Inside the box the heatsink and the fan are separated by a partition. A smaller box at the bottom contains the cooler’s accessories.
There is a back-plate and a couple of wire clips for attaching one fan among the accessories. Scythe has also abandoned SilMORE and now equips its coolers with new, gray-colored thermal grease. Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn’t reveal the specs of that thermal interface. The Scythe Ninja is manufactured on Taiwan and comes at a recommended price of $60.
The Ninja 3 heatsink is a massive 4-section tower measuring 120x120x160 millimeters at 890 grams of weight (1040 grams with the fan).
The heatsink sections rest on eight copper heat pipes, 6 millimeters in diameter, placed in two tiers. There are 36 press-fitted aluminum fins in each section plus two small fins at the bottom of each section. The fins are 0.40 to 0.45 millimeters thick and about 2.5 millimeters apart.
The total heatsink area is somewhat larger than 8500 sq. centimeters, which is much smaller than that of the Mugen 2 (10,600 sq. cm) and somewhat smaller than that of the ThermoLab Baram 2010 (8900 sq. cm). Adjacent sections of the heatsink are connected with thin aluminum bars that add rigidity to the whole arrangement.
The distance between the sections is 8 millimeters. Like with the Mugen 2, this design is referred to as M.A.P.S. (Multiple Airflow Pass-through Structure) although is implemented differently. People at Scythe seem to refer to any splitting of any heatsink into equal parts as M.A.P.S, whatever the reason for that segmentation may be. When it comes to the Mugen 2, its five separate heatsink sections with dense fins make the cooler most effective at medium and top speeds of the fans. In the Ninja 3, on its part, the distance between the fins and sections is increased, obviously to achieve high performance with low-speed fans or even in fan-less mode.
The Ninja 3 is also the first cooler from Scythe to have grooves for the four bottom-tier heat pipes:
Until the Ninja 3, Scythe used to simply flatten the pipes and solder them to the flat surface of the base. Now, after some years, Scythe has come to the more effective method of ensuring thermal contact. Hopefully, not only in this model. The minimum thickness of the base below the pipes in the bottom tier is 1.8 millimeters. The pipes are soldered to the base. In the top tier of heat pipes there are grooves, too. They are made in the bottom part of the small auxiliary heatsink (48x38 mm), so the top-tier pipes just lie on the bottom-tier ones (the contact seems to be ensured through soldering, too).
The 38x38mm nickel-plated copper base is perfectly flat and ideally finished even though there are barely visible traces of the milling machine on its surface.
It was difficult to tear the cooler off the CPU’s heat-spreader, so tight was the contact between them:
The distance from the cooler’s sole to the bottom fin of its heatsink is a mere 35 millimeters.
The Scythe Ninja is equipped with one fan. It is a Slip Stream 120 Adjustable PWM (SY1225SL12HPVC).
We explored this model and its performance in our article called "Six Coolers for Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Processor", so we won’t repeat ourselves here.
The new Ninja is universal and supports every modern platform. It is fastened by means of the included Flip Mount Super Back-Plate 2. The Ninja 3 installs on the CPU in the same way as the new-revision Mugen 2 does. And since this is the key innovation in the Mugen 2, we will discuss it in more detail below, in the Mugen 2 section of our review.
We don’t like that the Ninja 3 kit contains but one pair of wire clips for a fan. This is not the first time that Scythe shows such paltry economy. As a result, you have to use special rubber straps or purchase a couple of such clips to install a second fan.
The user manual does not indicate the best way to orient the cooler on the CPU, so we checked out both possible variants. Despite the symmetric design of the heatsink sections, the way the heat pipes lie on the CPU’s cap and the position of the bottom heatsink relative to the fans’ airflow might affect the cooler’s performance. However, we could not see any difference in performance depending on this cooler’s orientation. The two positions of the fans on the heatsink (see the photos below) proved to be equivalent, too.
The “corner” positioning of the fans was just 1°C better than the “pass-through” variant at high speeds but there was no difference at low and medium speeds. We will discuss the performance of the Scythe Ninja 3 later on. Right now let’s move on to the next new cooler.