In today’s review, I am taking a look at a cooler from a somewhat less ubiquitous brand in the UK: Scythe. Scythe is a heatsink and fan manufacturer based in Japan. They’ve made a wide series of coolers including the rather well known, if hard to find Scythe Ninja, the Scythe Mugen and the rather infamous Orochi. Sadly very few places (especially in the UK) actually stock their products which is a shame given their good tack record. Regardless, today on the test bench next to me, I will be testing of their new heatsinks which is dubbed as the Ashura. The Ashura a single tower, heatpipe based cooling solution with a 140mm fan. From the looks of it, this cooler is designed not only to be silent in operation, but thermally efficient too.
Does the Scythe Ashura have what it takes to be one of the more thermally efficient and competitive coolers that I will test? It looks promising on paper but as we all know, the tests speak for themselves. So without any further ado, let’s quickly check the specifications of the cooler before getting up close and personal with the Ashura. However, before we continue, let’s take a quick look at what Scythe is all about.
Scythe began its operation and business since November, 2002, as a distributor and the manufacturer of passive and low-noise PC parts. Since then, the company has established the R&D facility in Taiwan & China for production and quality control, and the USA office (in Los Angeles, California) & European office (in Hamburg, Germany) for customer care and sales support.
At Scythe, we believe that the best ideas for product come simply from knowing customers’ needs and their expectations. Based on this philosophy, the PC enthusiasts working at Scythe know what to develop because that is exactly what we would like to have for ourselves too! We offer products with 100% quality assurance and total pride, and if the product has the Scythe name on it, you can rest assure that its quality will be up to the “Zero Tolerance” standards!
|Compatibility:||Intel®: Socket LGA2011 Socket T / LGA775 Socket LGA1155 Socket LGA1156 Socket LGA1366 AMD®: Socket AM2 Socket AM2+ Socket AM3 Socket AM3+ Socket FM1 Socket FM2|
|Dimensions:||145 x 65 x 161 mm / 5.71 x 2.56 x 6.34 inch|
|Weight:||750 g / 26.46 oz (excl. fan)|
|Accessory:||Mounting plate x2 (Intel), mounting plate x2 (AMD), mounting bar x1, screws for clips x4, mainboard screws x8, mounting screws x2, back plate spacer (Socket 775) x1, washers x4, wrench x1, fan clips x4, thermal grease, backplate, installation manual|
|Base Plate Material:||Nickel plated copper|
|Fan Model Name:||GlideStream 140 PWM (adapted Model)|
|Fan Model NO:||SY1425HB12M-P|
|Fan Dimensions:||140 x 140 x 25 mm / 5.51 x 5.51 x 0.98 inch|
|Noise Level:||13 – 30.7 dBA|
|Air Flow:||63 – 165 m³/h / 37.37 bis 97.18 CFM|
|Fan Speed:||500 ± 300 rpm to 1300 rpm ± 10% (PWM-regulated)|
|Static Pressure:||1.47 ～ 10.0 Pa / 0.15 ～ 1.02 mmH²O|
The Ashura certainly comes in an interesting box. It’s a rather flashy box with a rather interesting depiction of the heatsink, its name and its compatibility. It also seems to be in both English and Japanese. At a first look, we can see that the box means business and is rather eye catching. Although it’s a tad flashy and cluttered, it isn’t necessarily a bad look.
On the front of the box we have the name of the cooler itself along with some of the key features of it. Along the top there is information regarding the platforms that it supports. On the side of the box that we can see from this angle, it tells us a lot regarding the cooler such as the cooler’s dimensions as well as the physical and operational specifications of the included fan.
The back of the box contains warranty information in a plethora of different languages. It also gives you various warnings, including the most important one: “Please make sure to read the installation guide before installing this product.” This is something I’d definitely recommend and it’ll be rather apparent why I recommend this when we get to the installation section of the review. Additionally the side of the box from this advertises their the newly developed retention brackets which if I remember correctly is also used in the Mugen 4.
Opening up the box shows us the top of the cooler a white box containing all the accessories and the included 1300RPM 140mm GlideStream PWM fan. Given that the cooler is surrounded by firm foam it shows that at the very least the box can take some punishment and that Scythe cares about the product’s protection in transit. From this angle you will also notice that the cooler has a black finish on the top of the heatsink with a silver Scythe logo. It’s a simple and sleek addition to the heatsink and very aesthetically effective. Personally I really like it.
The first thing that you will notice about the Scythe Ashura is that it exudes an air of quality craftsmanship. The cooler itself looks to be very, very well constructed and considering that it only costs around £38 to purchase (during the time of the review). As the cooler is pushed up directly against the outer packaging, I was a little sceptical that the cooler was going to arrive without any dings or scuffs as that rather tight packing could have easily moved or damaged some of the fins. However, I am pleasantly surprised and I am pleased to report that it did indeed make it to my doorstep without a single mark on the cooler. Phew! It is also worth noting here that the box is constructed from some high quality cardboard which could be one reason for the packaging being the way it is. Either way, here it is… the Scythe Ashura.
Unlike other coolers on the market, the fan does not come pre-installed. It’s no issue however given that you would have to remove it in order to mount the cooler anyway. So with that in mind it makes perfect sense that it have the fan packaged separately. On the plus side though it gives us a perfect excuse to look more closely at its construction, doesn’t it? Also for those who are concerned about the fins, I’m also very glad to report that there are no sharp edges so you need not worry about cutting your fingers whilst installing this cooler.
There are a total of six 6mm heat pipes on this cooler and it looks mighty impressive despite the cooler’s relatively small size. The base plate is made of stainless steel with a nickel finish and it is milled to a perfectly smooth and flat surface which comes into contact with your CPU. The grooves which you see on the top are there to make sure that the pressure plate that bolts the cooler down does not move as it will slot into the grooves above which will make much more sense in the installation section of this review.
The fan which ships with the Ashura is 140mm in diameter and 25mm thick. It’s an adapted Scythe GlideStream and seems to be the 1300RPM variant. From what I know, it’s a sleeve bearing fan but it’s low speed should mean it’s a rather quiet fan. The blades are at a very sharp angle which should mean it can push a vast amount of air with relatively low fan speeds giving it a rather generous static pressure rating. My first impressions of the fan are that it is built well, it should be quiet at lower speeds. I don’t know if it is just me, but that’s the vibe I get from this fan.
Now that you’ve seen the cooler and the fan which ships with it, let us install the Ashura and find out how well it performs under pressure.
The installation of the Scythe Ashura is rather different affair compared to coolers which I have reviewed in the past. I mean, it’s all installations are the same in essence but the implementation for this cooler is markedly different. The difference lies in how you install the back plate. Rather than pushing a screw through the back plate and then securing it on the other side of the motherboard with a screw nut, you actually screw the back plate into place with the stud nuts. It is important to note that you MUST install the washers in between the stud nuts and your motherboard or you not only risk damaging your motherboard and/or processor, but you also may have quite the struggle fitting the cooler correctly onto your motherboard, running the risk of causing severe damage to your components in the process.
I’ll also mention that this mounting system is rather similar to the recent tower based coolers by Prolimatech, Phanteks, Zalman, Noctua and others. To be honest, I do find the retention plate mounting system rather efficient and sturdy so I have no complaints in this area.
Either way, with the threat of destroying your components freshly in our minds, we still need to finish installing this cooler. Once you’ve mounted the back plate and secure everything into place, it’s time to install the two brackets which are used to screw the pressure plate into place. These are easily installed with two screws, one on each side of the to be exact.
There you have it. That’s the majority of the work done. Now it’s time to put your thermal paste on, be it the one which ships with the cooler or your own personal preference and finally install the cooler itself. The cooler is finally mounted with two more screws through the pressure bracket. You have a choice when you install the final two screws. You can use a screw driver and screw the pressure plate down or you can use the included spanner to secure it that way if you prefer. Again, here’s another important note – make sure you do not over tighten the cooler as you can cause damage to your components. This is noted in the instructions but it’s just a fierce reminder that it is a risky cooler to install.
The finished installation should look a little something like this…
After doing some rather rigorous tests involving both the thermal and acoustic elements it’s time to conclude this rather fun review. So the final question is: should this cooler be more widely stocked? And more importantly does it deserve a place in your shopping list?
As I mentioned previously, there aren’t many retailers in the UK who stock Scythe products and from a quick Google search it seems that only Scan and SpecialTech stock this heatsink as of right now.
Whilst the Scythe may not be the best performing cooler on the block, it was most certainly not aimed at the extreme performance sector either. It does however hold its own with some of the more popular and more expensive coolers that I’ve had the pleasure of testing thus far which was certainly rather impressive. In non-overclocked situations, it not only kept the chip cool but it also did so whilst remaining quieter than my PSU. A rather impressive feat if I do say so myself.
The quality of the construction is just as I would have expected from Scythe. There are no compromises when it comes to building a Scythe cooler and that is clear for all to see in the Ashura. The finish of the base plate is impeccable and the fins are made and finished with good quality control The fan itself is very quiet as mentioned before which in of itself shows a high degree of quality. Furthermore, the retention bracket mounting system is definitely preferred and a plus given that some coolers still insist on the individual screw method.
Considering that this cooler is on the market for around £40, I’ll confidently say that this is an excellent buy. I’d highly recommend this cooler to anyone wanting a quiet cooler as well a cooler that performs well. You’d also be one of the few in the country who use Scythe so it would add some uniqueness to your build. To be honest, I’d like to see them brought into the country more and for more models to be sold at more retailers. Maybe it will happen in the future but for now, they’re quite hard to come by and it’s rather unfortunate that they are.
Overall, Scythe have done a great job with this cooler and I feel that even though it may not score top marks in all categories, I’d happily buy one of these and use it in my system if I was not fueled by making my PC run as fast as it possibly can. Scythe have done a great job with this cooler and I really hope to see more of them in the UK soon! If you’re looking for a cooler that is not considered the norm in the UK, I’d recommend the Scythe Ashura. The Ashura is something different, it does the job very well and it is so close to silent at low load levels, that it definitely impressed me. If it was more available in the UK, I’d heartily recommend a purchase.
Many thanks to Scythe for providing us with a sample for today’s review.
Scythe are a rare breed in the UK but hopefully they will start to make more of an appearance. If you are after a cooler that is extremely quiet at low load levels, and manages to hold an i7-4770K at stock speeds without becoming more noisy than the fan on your PSU, then the Ashura is most definitely a cooler for you.