Scythe has been around for what seems like forever in the PC cooling game. They have been trying along the way to come up with innovations and new designs that mesh with the current hardware and in my opinion, have been really successful with some of their designs. Names like the Mugen, Ninja, Katana, Big Shuriken, these are all coolers that have done really well for Scythe over the years. So when Scythe asks me to review a newly designed cooler, I am eager to see what they came up with this time.
The idea behind this latest addition to their CPU cooler lineup was to offer more room for the memory. With that in mind, they didn't want to shrink the tower any, or have to rely on a super thin fan to make the room, so they were left with the idea to simply offset the cooler slightly. Essentially once the pipes leave the base, they make a roughly ten degree bend to the left. This alone will allow this full sized tower cooler to now offer room for all the DIMM slots to be populated. Take into account that this new cooler looks very appealing, and should match any system with the black anodized aluminum top plate of the cooler that you will be looking at when this cooler is in use, and the fact that they claim they did not sacrifice performance in doing any of this, there is potential for this design yet.
Today we will be looking at the Ashura from Scythe. As I said, it is offset, it ships with a strong 140mm fan for cooling, and with the new hardware, it should give a secure and high pressure mount to the CPU, and with all the minor features added into the design, it should give the Ashura a leg up on the competition.
I plan to test exactly that with the Ashura, as we work through the next few pages keep an eye out for all the finer details along with the obvious ones as we see just how well the Scythe Ashura keeps up with the competition in single fan tower cooling.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Ashura, or the SCASR-1000 as it is known by model number, will fit on anything Intel has released since LGA772, and AMD boards since AM2. The Ashura is made with a stack of 50 unusually designed fins that surround six 6mm diameter heat pipes, while utilizing a nickel plated copper base to start the cooling process. This design leaves you with a cooler that stands 161mm tall, 65mm thick and 145mm wide. All told, with the fan excluded, the cooler weighs in at 750 grams. A few of things I didn't touch on are the thick black anodized top plate over the 50 fins, the offset that the heat pipes offer to allow you to access all of your memory slots, and the fact that the cooler is designed to allow for a push/pull configuration.
Speaking of the fan, as there is only one included in the box, you are shipped a 140mm Glide Stream PWM fan to cool the tower. The SY1425HB12M-P fan included in the kit offers 97 CFM at near 1300 RPM. This 25mm thick fan is also rated to 30.7dBA of noise level and it can produce 1.02mmH2O of static pressure. Along with the cooler and this fan, you also get a completely new hardware kit, similar to what we saw on the Mugen 4, but not exactly the same. The hardware is now black, and some of the hardware that goes along with the brackets to mount them to the board has also changed for the Ashura. The Ashura comes with a two year warranty.
While I was not able to find any information on what the MSRP was set at from Scythe, after digging through Google and coming up empty in my searches, I decided to go another route. As I was running through the list of e-tailers that I have in my favorites, I was starting to think that this cooler wasn't yet for sale. Wouldn't you figure it though, as I was working from the bottom of my list to the top alphabetically, when I got all the way to the top, I finally hit pay dirt.
Amazon is the only place that I was able to locate the Scythe Ashura, and they are currently asking $61.63 prior to shipping charges at the time of writing. While it does break past that $50 mark that people like to stay under, this isn't the average 120mm tower cooler either.
Scythe always tends to have very busy packaging for their products, and with the Ashura, we get more of the same. The front of the box holds the company logo and socket support at the top, the name and image of the cooler in the middle, mentions of the new socket hardware and previous awards on the left, and on the right they cover four key features found in the Ashura.
Even the top of the box has something worth looking at. Here they show the Ashura again, this time with the dual fan configuration and shows the wire fan clips. On the right of this they also give you a list of included parts that accompany the Ashura.
Scythe covers the 160mm height and how it will fit in more cases than the typical tower cooler next to a pair of dimensional drawings. They then discuss the six 6mm heat pipes, the 140mm Glide Stream PWM fan, and lastly that this cooler is both for silent stock operation and still has room to overclock.
The back starts off with the company information including the support address. It then moves into the warranty information to cover what they will guarantee. At the bottom Scythe covers things like making sure you read before you install this, potential issues, and the fact that there is only a cooler in the box.[img]06[/img]
The last panel on the box shows the Ashura name again next to an image of the cooler mounted on LGA775 so you can see how it has to mount. The other three AMD and Intel images are wrong as they show the old hardware being used, and then things end with a multi-lingual specifications chart.
When you open the box, you can see the top of the fan in the back, separated from the cooler with a layer of cardboard as well as the hardware box. The hardware box and the cooler body are in the same section together, and there are layers of foam on the sides, but the cardboard is all you have to keep the cooler from being damaged.
Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler
Looking at the Ashura dead in the grill, you can see the three places the pipes enter the tower at the bottom of the cooler. They are spaced out to deliver heat fully across each fin in the 50 stack, which you see above. On top of the top most aluminum fin, there is a cover plate that covers the tips of the pipes and adds a very attractive look to the cooler.
From the side, you can see there are two grooves for a pair of fans to be attached to the tower, but more obviously, you can see that the cooler is shifted to the right of the center of the base.
With the basics out of the way, let's cover the more advanced. You can see from this angle that there is an inset to all the fins as the fan rides on the higher ledges on both sides of the fins. You can also see that the fins each have six V shaped notches in each fin to sort of drive the air at the pipes running through them and down the gut of the cooler.
It is a little hard to tell, but the grooves are cut very thin, and have a section where it will move toward the edges to lock the wire fan clips in place. This does take a little work to install the fans as this groove is just larger than the diameter of wire used.
The thick aluminum plate is attached in the four corners, offers the Scythe name and logo in the middle, and has six places on each side that are cut away, so that the bends in the fin will have clearance. The contrast of the anodized black and the natural aluminum looks really good as well.
At the other end of the Ashura you can see the top of the base is aluminum. The top of it has small tabs that will act as a pre-cooler, but it allows you the large groove to set the cross-bar into, and that bar has tabs that lock around the tallest fins in the middle.
Some of the pipes have to make pretty intense bends to make it to their alignment in the fins, while the others make much more gentle curves to get to their spot. After the base and pipes are setup correctly, the fins are them pressed on the pipes.
As the six copper 6mm diameter heat pipes leave the base of the Ashura, you can see that there is some solder coming out of the gap between the pipes and the base. This will insure a much better heat transfer from the base into the pipes.
The second component of the base is this copper plate that has been milled in a spiral pattern and then gets nickel plated. This base is slightly higher in the middle giving this plate a convex shape that needs good pressure from the mounting kit to make good contact to the IHS.
Accessories and Documentation
Here we have all of the motherboard brackets for the top of the motherboard. On the outsides you have the black AMD top brackets, then the pair of Intel brackets inside of those. Right in the middle you have the cross bar to mount the cooler to the side brackets we just covered.
The majority of the hardware for mounting to go with the brackets is what we have here. There are the LGA2011 screws and the cross bar screws on the left. A wrench in the middle to help secure the cross bar bolts, and on the right you have the universal screws and the four small screws to secure the brackets to the top of the knurled screws at the top.
You are also shipped a small bag of thermal paste, four washers to isolated the knurled screws from the motherboard, and a foam pad with 3M adhesive on it for LGA775 spacing of the back plate.
Instead of the clear plastic spacers we saw with the last back plate, this new black back plate has black rubber on the ends to isolate it from the motherboard.
You are also shipped this 4-pin powered Glide Stream PWM fan to cool the tower. With the specifications we discussed about this fan, I have no doubt it should have what it takes for reasonable results in our testing.
Along with a folded up instruction manual, Scythe also ships he Ashura with four wire fan mounts. This way if you do want the second fan, you don't have to ask for more or rig something up, it's all there when you get the cooler.
On the front of the instruction guide you are given a full list with images of the parts that should have been included in the box. At the bottom of the page they show that you need to remove the film from the base before use, and shows how the fan flows so that you don't put it on backwards.
They break down the installations into the various sockets so you don't get confused. Here we are shown the LGA2011 mounting that does not use the back plate, and you need to use the shorter set of knurled screws.
All of the other Intel sockets are now being shown. The knurled screws are now the longer set, you do need the back plate, and be sure to use the spacer if you are mounting this to an LGA775 motherboard.
For AMD you use the stock back plate, the long knurled screws, and of course you are now switching the top brackets as well.
Installation and Finished Product
Getting the back plate secured is easy enough. All you need to do is make sure the holes in middle of the plate are set right for the socket retention screws, then line up the legs and send home those knurled screws with the washers under them to solidify the socket and motherboard.
Up top, you have the washers, knurled screws, the Intel top brackets, and the four screws to keep the top brackets secured to the motherboard essentially.
The last thing to do is add some paste and install the cross bar through the base of the cooler. You can also see how well that offset plays into the alignment of the cooler on the motherboard to allow room on the right side of it.
The 140mm fan clear my naked memory sticks, but in reality it matters very little if the fan is taller, simply because it isn't in the way in the first place.
As you can see, not only does it clear the nearest DIMM slot to the CPU, it also gives a few millimeters of room to allow for a thick heat spreader to get in there too.
This cooler may cause issues if you have a sound card or something in the top slot of the motherboard, it is pretty wide there. As for access, you will have no issues getting to the memory, the motherboard screws or the 8-pin power plug, even if there was a second fan added.
I want to end with the glamour shot, and here we have the Ashura strapped into the D-frame waiting for testing.
The Test System and Thermal Results
Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows. All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of 24.5-25°C and humidity is maintained to 35% sometimes less.
For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. Speed Step is active and the processor idles at 1600 MHz and loads at 3500 MHz for the stock settings. I also set the memory to run at 1600 MHz for stock. As for the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5 GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans. This allows me to gauge the lowest and highest fan ratings for my charts.
You will also see that the charts have been slightly adjusted. From now on I will mention the idle temperatures if there is something worth noting other than an average of twenty-five to twenty-seven degrees as the PWM controls and SpeedStep allow for almost ambient results in most instances. What you are now getting is a stock speed loaded temperature chart and an overclocked loaded temperature chart. To clean up the audio results, I also removed all of the fans that aren't on the thermal charts. If you want to compare those results to new coolers, the old chart is still available in the older reviews.
Five degrees behind a dual tower, twin fan cooler is what I would say is pretty good performance out of a cooler half its size. With a 52 degree reading for the stock run, I couldn't be happier with the Ashura so far.
When we applied the overclock, the Ashura does start to fall down the charts a bit, but is still respectable. It is 12 degrees behind the leader in air cooling at 77 degrees.
With all things considered, including the audio charts you are about to see, you can tell why I feel the Ashura is doing the best it can.
Noise Level Results
Starting up the PC, the fan on the Ashura will spin right around 700 RPM, but for our testing and with 7.5V applied to the fan, I got a reading of 31dB as the fan was spinning at 875 RPM at that point. I have to give Scythe this one; this cooler sure is silent if you want it that way.
The fan is specified to spin at 1300 RPM, and is most likely where most retail samples will spin. The sample I received spun at 1477 RPM when it takes on 12V of power. This fan is 40 RPM over spec which is no big deal for the testing, but in the audio results, where I got 47dB of noise from mine, it is potentially possible for yours to be even quieter.
The Ashura cooler from Scythe hits most, if not, all of the main things people look for when purchasing a tower cooler for the CPU. Today they want something quiet for everyday use, and the Ashura offers that. They also want something that can take a pretty mean overclock and not peter out into any sort of a throttling issue, and the Ashura stayed 23 degrees away from that mark, allowing me to push even further if I wanted to. Most people also want something stylish to look at through the window in their cases, and the Ashura with the saw tooth pattern of the black anodized plat against the natural aluminum bumps sticking out on the edges; it certainly covered the aesthetic appeals department. Then of course, since massive memory kits are now becoming more typical, and since IMCs have improved to allow users to run all four DIMM slots populated, the simple shift of the cooler is all that is needed, and Scythe and the Ashura have left all sorts of room for other components.
Is this the best cooler on the market? Well no, but that isn't to say it doesn't deserve some respect. It may have fallen behind the leaders, but most of those offerings are taller than 160mm tall, offer twice the cooler that will definitely block access to other components, and is going to set you back roughly $40 more than the Ashura. Also with most of those options, like the Thermaltake NiC C5 as something more equal to it in pricing, or the highly priced Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme, they are both louder.
I do like the changes in the hardware, and it was easier to get installed than when we worked on the Mugen 4, mainly due to the thickness of the cooler. Where the Mugen was too wide and blocked the use of a screwdriver, with the Ashura, you can at least get the screws in most of the way with a screwdriver. You still have to spend quite a bit of time making 15 to 20 degree turns to seat the cooler properly, but this system does leave the Ashura mounted very solidly to the motherboard. I actually cheated this time around and found that my 1/4" drive socket wrench actually fit next to the Ashura so I didn't have to play around with that wrench this time.
All things considered, there is no really reason not to recommend the Scythe Ashura. It does better than average in thermal testing and will keep even a good overclock under control. It offers users the ability to have a cooler that is virtually silent in PWM mode with stock CPU speeds running, and even when you pump the fan all the way to maximum levels, the sound levels are still very tolerable and would be just a muffled hum once in a chassis with the panels in place. It gives you plenty of room, it looks good, most important to a lot of buyers, and it comes at the price of $61.63 which is a really good price point for what you receive.
I think Scythe is on the right track with the Ashura, and I can see ways to improve on them, like simply adding that second fan and still costing less than a lot of the competition.
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