Scythe Ninja Mini Review
Scythe, formed in 2002 has been well known worldwide for their excellent CPU cooling solutions. Among their range of coolers was the Ninja, known for it's performance and quiet operation. After a couple of revisions to the model, Scythe took the Ninja concept a step further, or should I say smaller with the Scythe Ninja Mini! Aimed at those with small Micro ATX and Home Theater PC's, it offers a potent alternative to other small aftermarket coolers as well as the dreaded Intel and AMD reference coolers and depending on the airflow within the chassis, can either operate with the bundled 2300rpm 80mm fan or passively.
The Scythe Ninja Mini, like it's bigger brother is a tower style heatsink featuring six “U “ shaped heatpipes and generously spaced aluminium fins for passive operation. The Ninja Mini features the same cross section size as the regular Ninja but is 35mm shorter.
Packaging and Installation
The cooler arrived in a flamboyantly designed box stating a number of facts about the cooler in no less than five languages. Proceeding to open the box from the top revealed the bundled 80mm fan. Behind a layer of cardboard was the cooler itself and below that was a small box containing Thermal Paste, fan clips for 80mm and 92mm installation, screws and socket retention kits for LGA775, Socket 939/AM2 and even Socket 478. An impressive bundle but I was left concerned by how all of the accessory contents in the smaller box were tangled together.
The quality of the heatsink itself is superb. The base of the heatsink is completely flat and of a mirror finish, saving you the hassle of having to lap the base for a better contact.
Installation is easy as pie. Fitting the retention kits for the relevant CPU socket is a simple matter of aligning the kit with the threaded holes on the base of the heatsink and using the supplied screws to secure it. All of the retention kits are exactly the same as Intel and AMD's own reference mechanisms for simplicity.
An example of a Socket AM2 mount.
The Scythe Ninja Mini shall be compared against the AMD reference cooler. For fair testing, the CPU has been cleaned after each heatsink installation and the same Scythe Thermal Paste bundled with the cooler has been used. A 30 minute idle run is being conducted followed by a 30 minute Small FFT load test with Prime95 25.9.
AMD Sempron 2100 Dual Core 1.8GHz 1.300V
MSI K9A2GM-FIH Socket AM2+
Patriot 2GB PC2-6400 C4
Radeon HD 3450 256mb Hybrid Crossfire
Seagate Barracuda 120GB SATA HDD
Antec Fusion 430 HTPC Case with 2 x 120mm Exhaust Fans
Antec 430W ATX 2.0 PSU
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
To me, the results seem rather conclusive. What we have here is a cooler that outperforms the stock cooler by a 7*c margin at lower noise levels and under the circumstances in this test was also able to run without the supplied fan at a consistent 33/38*c under full load. While it should be mentioned that in order for a cooler to operate passively, some form of airflow is required in the case to draw cool air into the case and exhaust warm air out of the case and in this particular situation there were two low speed 120mm exhaust fans sitting just inches from it, the results are indeed impressive. I would expect that this cooler does live up to it's claim as "Quad Core Ready".
At ~£30 I can whole heartedly recommend this CPU Cooler to anyone that is looking for a capable cooler for a machine with height restrictions. I do however advise to double check that your case has 115mm of clearance for a CPU cooler as this will still pose a problem for a wide range of popular HTPC, Micro ATX mini tower and “Cube” chassis.
Excellent performer and can potentially run passively
Great Socket support
Bundled fan is reasonably quiet
Heatsink is well built
Not the cheapest of heatsink.
Fan clips are flimsy and often awkward when fitting in tight spaces.
Height may still be an issue for a lot of the cases.
Many thanks for viewing