Review: old vs. new
After using Scythe reference cooler for months, we decided to do a proper test and to compare it to the new cooler from the same company. Now we have the opportunity to compare the "old man" with Scythe's latest offer called "Zipang." The Scythe Andy Samurai is designed to please the overclocker crowd, while on the other hand Zipang should offer the most silent air cooling solution possible.
The latest cooler from Scythe is huge. With measurements of 145x145mm, the height is only 112mm, and you would expect that this cooler is incompatible with many boards. Luckily, this is not true. Even with boards with huge Northbridge coolers such as DFI or MSI, the cooler fits perfectly. At the top of the cooler you will find a 139x139x25mm fan that rotates at only 1000rpm. This certainly promises a quiet operation.
The cooler consits of six copper heatpipes, each 6mm, which lack the nickel plated finish. To avoid incompatibilities Scythe's engineers decided to keep the heatpipe slope as steep as possible. This makes the cooler compatible to almost any board available. We have tested with ASUS, DFI, Foxconn and MSI and we found no problems at all. You can mount the cooler with the heatpipes facing the Northbridge or the memory slots and the results stay quite the same. The maximum difference is about 1°C.
The base is pure copper but Scythe decided to nickel-plate it, to avoid discoloration due to oxidation. Of course, it has a mirror finish.
The fan is from the 140mm category with only 1000RPM. We have no audio measurement analyzer for human ears, but believe us when we tell you it's very silent. It is rated with 21dB(A).
The box contains all mounting options for any socket currently available, such as 478, 775 and AM2; also a thermal grease is included, but it's not a high-performance one, so you might want to replace it. The box design looks very Japanese, which makes sense since Scythe is a Japanese company.
The Scythe Andy Samurai Master has been a common guest in our lab for about one year and was the first high-end top blower available. While this cooler does not reach the performance of Scythe's Mugen, we prefer top blowers because they better balance performance with mainboard temperatures.
The six 6-mm heatpipes are nickel plated, while the base is not. The base is mirror finished. Oxidation will not be such a problem if the cooler is only mounted once. Due to the construction of the slopes of the heatpipes they raise compatibility issues with some boards, so please always check the compatibility lists from Scythe here.
The fan is a 120x120x25mm fan which runs at 1200RPM +/- 10%. Our sample raun a bit faster close to 1400RPM, but Scythe promised us to increase QA to keep the fan within the specifiction. The fan is rated with 25db(A) which is 4db(A) higher compared to the Zipang fan.
Of course, you will also find any mounting options for all sockets available and some thermal grease. As usual, the grease is not high-end, so replace it with something better if needed.
ASUS Maximus Extreme (provided by ASUS)
Biostar Tforce TA770 A2+ (provided by Biostar)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (provided by Intel)
AMD Phenom 9600 black edition (provided by Mindfactory)
Scythe Andy Samurai Master (provided by Scythe-Europe)
Scythe Zipang (provided by Scythe-Europe)
Arctic Silver 5
Patriot 2GB Kit PC3-10666U PDC32G1333LLK (provided by Patriot)
CL7-7-7-20-CR2T at 1.50V
Kingston 2GB Kit PC2-9600U KHX1200D2K2/2G (provided by Kingston)
CL5-5-5-15 CR2T at 1.80V
AMD ATI Radeon X1950XTX (provided by AMD)
Silverstone Element SF50EF-Plus (provided by Silverstone)
Western Digital WD4000KD (provided by Ditech)
SilenX iXtrema Pro 14dB(A) (provided by PC-Cooling.at)
Cooler Master Stacker 831 lite (provided by Cooler Master)
First, we tested an Intel board with an old Intel E6700 dual-core CPU. It seems the heatspreader is not very good, as the delta between core and heatspreader is quite high. We used our multimedia benches x264 and lamemt to check out the maximum temperatures. They will give a proper evaluation for any application you run. While overclocked the Intel platform does not decrease VCore when idle. We replaced the silicon thermal grease with Arctic Silver 5.
We have tested all Scythe Coolers with the additional available Universal Retention Kit. This might give you up to 1°C better temperatures with high overclocks or it will help you stick a decent cooler on your Skulltrail or Xeon boards.
The Scythe Andy is the clear leader; the temperatures at 3660MHz with the boxed Intel cooler are the maximum before the CPU crashed the board due to excessively high temperatures. With an E6x0x CPU the maximum temperatures on the heatspreder should not exceed 62"C. Earlier CPUs have a specified maximum temperature of 72°C.
The AMD platform is quite different. We overclocked the CPU to 2645MHz, more was not possible, because AMD's Overdrive software did not work as expected. At least the tool does have a nice stability test, which heats the CPU more than any application we could find. The temperatures are in general much lower with AMD, and real world applications will not reach it. The delta between cores and heatspreader is much smaller. The boxed cooler itself is much better compared to Intel, because it consists of four 6-mm heatpipes. However, the fan is going up to be quite unbearable at 2900RPM for sensitve ears.
Designed for silent operation the Zipang struggles with overlclocked Intel CPUs. While it doesn't have any problems with any CPUs at nominal speed, it has a hard time with high overclocking settings. We guess the new Wolfdale CPUs will have lower temperatures, so the Zipang is a good choice. The AMD platform is no match for the Zipang. While AMD has a better heatspreader which disappates heat much faster, it's not able to bother the cooler at all. For a price of €39,- we expected better oc results with the Intel platform, but the cooler did well.
While the fan of the Andy is a bit louder compared to the Zipang, it still can be called "silent." If you think it's still too loud, you can change it with Scythe Flex or other silent fans. Of course, the AMD platform was also no match for the Andy as well; it really showed itself with our overclocked Intel platform. We have already proved the Scythe Andy can handle a QX9650 @ 4.20GHz without problems. This top-blower will stay our reference cooler for the time being, and we highly recommand it for any user. It is available for about €34,- which is not expensive for a first-class product.