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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

This time we tested a low profile CPU cooler, the Scythe Big Shuriken. Only 58 mm tall, it is made to fit even SFF cases. It has a horizontal design, with four heatpipes and a 120 mm low profile fan. But, can it perform as well as its "big brothers"?

The Scythe coolers name comes from japanese words, most of them referring to the samurai. Shuriken, as any ninja movies addicted knows, is a sort of metal star, thin and with sharp blades, so this name alludes to a thin, but powerful product. There is a smaller version called Shuriken, with a 100 mm fan, but we tested Big Shuriken, with 120 mm fan.

The Big Shuriken box is small and simple, as you can see in Figure 1.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the cooler, a small bag of gray thermal compound, user manual and the installation hardware.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 you can take a look at the Big Shuriken.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 3: Scythe Big Shuriken.

[nextpage title=”Scythe Big Shuriken”]

From a frontal view we notice how thin its upper heatsink is, as well as the fan. There are four copper heatpipes, the center section of each one contacting the base, while both the tips are connected to the heatsink.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 4: Front view.

In Figure 5 we can see a smaller heatsink installed directly over the cooler base.
Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 5: Side view. 
Looking at the cooler from above we can see the fan, with fifteen blades, more than we are used to seeing.
Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 6: Top view.

[nextpage title=”Scythe Big Shuriken (Cont’d)”]

Removing the wire clips that hold the fan in place we can see the top part of the heatsink.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 7: Without fan.

The fan, seen in Figure 8, is really slim. It has a four pin connector, so it supports PWM speed control.
Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 8: Fan.

The cooler base is made of a very smooth nickel-plated copper, as you can see in Figure 9.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 9: Base.

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

The Big Shuriken holding system is simple and complicated at the same time. Simple because the clip installation in to the cooler is extremely easy, with no tool required. You just need to insert on the cooler base one of the three clip sets seen in Figure 10. The left set fits AMD socket AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754 CPUs. The middle pair is for use with the (obsolete) socket 478. The right one supports, according to the manual and the product website, sockets 775 and 1366, but as socket LGA1156 holes are inbetween those ones, the Big Shuriken can also be used with this socket.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 10: Clips.

The complicated side is the fact the cooler is big but very low, so pressing the clips is a hard task, because there is no room for your fingers to reach the clips. It may be necessary to remove the motherboard from the case.

In Figure 11, you can see how the cooler looks installed into our case. In our motherboard, as we are using memory modules with tall heatsinks, the cooler obstructed the first memory slot, but with modules with no heatsink there will not be a problem.

Scythe Big ShurikenFigure 11: Installed into case.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We are adopting the following methodology for our CPU cooler reviews.

First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.

We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achieve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.

Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn’t interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes,
because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows XP Professional installed on FAT32 partition
  • Service Pack 3
  • Intel Inf driver version:
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 182.08

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the coolers shown on below tables. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models. ISGC-400 and iCEAGE Prima Boss were tested at minimum speed on idle test and at maximum speed on full load test.

CPU Idle

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 44 dBA 1000 rpm 31 °C 42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 34 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 41 dBA 500 rpm 26 °C 35 °
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 26 °C
TMG IA1 (max) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 22 °C 30 °C
TMG IA1 (min) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 21 °C 30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-100 18 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 35 °C 49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 20 °C 30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 20 °C 28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 23 °C 28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 31 °C 35 °C
Schythe Kabuto 22 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 29 °C 34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
ISGC-300 (min) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 26 °C 30 °C
ISGC-300 (max) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 24 °C 26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 30 °C 41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 28 °C 35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 41 dBA 700 rpm 25 °C 30 °C
ISGC-400 (min) 17 °C 44 dBA 850 rpm 24 °C 30 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 752 20 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 32 °C 44 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (min) 22 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
Evercool Buffalo 17 °C 51 dBA 1850 rpm 22 °C 29 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken 20 °C 42 dBA 900 rpm 31 °C 39 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 48 dBA 1740 rpm 42 °C 100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 43 °C 77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 35 °C 70 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 48 dBA 1500 rpm 34 °C 68 °C
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 54 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 52 °C
TMG IA1 (max) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 63 °C
TMG IA1 (min) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 25 °C 60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 51 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-100 18 °C 50 dBA 1800 rpm 58 °C 93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 28 °C 59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 25 °C 54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 37 °C 76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 48 dBA 1900 rpm 42 °C 68 °C
Scythe Kabuto 22 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 51 dBA 2300 rpm 49 °C 85 °C
ISGC-300 (min) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 36 °C 64 °C
ISGC-300 (max) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 31 °C 56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 39 °C 96 &deg
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 56 dBA 2600 rpm 34 °C 63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C 54 °C
ISGC-400 (max) 17 °C 47 dBA 1400 rpm 36 °C 69 °C
Cooler Master Vortex 752 20 °C 55 dBA 2300 rpm 48 °C 92 °C
iCEAGE Prima Boss (max) 22 °C 53 dBA 2000 rpm 35 °C 59 °C
Evercool Buffalo 17 °C 51 dBA 1850 rpm 32 °C 67 °C
Scythe Big Shuriken 20 °C 50 dBA 1500 rpm 51 °C 85 °C

On the graph below you can see the temperature difference between the cooler base and the room temperature with the CPU idle and fully loaded.  The values shown are in degrees Celsius. Remember that the lower the number the better the cooling performance.

 Scythe Big Shuriken

The next graph will give you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during the tests.

 Scythe Big Shuriken

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Scythe Big Shuriken main features are:

  • Application: Sockets 1366, 1156, 775, 478, AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754 processors.
  • Fins: Aluminum.
  • Base: Copper.
  • Heat-pipes: Four copper heat-pipes.
  • Fan: 120 mm.
  • Nominal fan speed: 650 to 2,200 rpm.
  • Fan air flow: 38.5 cfm.
  • Maximum power consumption: Not informed.
  • Nominal noise level: 28.89 dBA.
  • Weight: 0.9 lbs (405 g).
  • More information: https://www.scythe-usa.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 34.00

* Researched on www.newegg.com on the day this reviews was published.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

We were curious before we tested the Big Shuriken, as other Scythe coolers we tested before (Kabuto and Mugen-2) had shown excellent performances. But we also knew there is no way a cooler with a thin heatsink like this will achieve high performance. Unfortunately, our second opinion prevaled: its performance was below the top shelf coolers.

But we cannot deny this is a silent cooler with higher performance than the stock copper base Intel cooler (and therefore, far higher than the simpler cooler that comes with most low TDP CPUs) and it is an interesting option for the user that has a low profile or SFF case and wants to replace the stock cooler with another one, with best performance and less noise, and obviously cannot install a big, high performance cooler, into his case.

But if is not your case, there is no reason to reccomend the Big Shuriken for purchase.