Today Scythe has gone back in time a bit and had another look at the Grand Kama Cross they released back in 2010 and the revision B that seems to have made its way out earlier this year. There was one major flaw as far as I could see with both previous versions, and that was with the mounting system, but I did not have any hands-on experience with either design. Not too long ago Scythe revised their standards for mounting coolers and have come up with their own version of a High Pressure Mounting System that gives their cooling solutions a much better chance at success than shipping them with the previous push-pins for Intel, and the latch for AMD. Now this newest cooler we are looking at offers something along the lines of what Noctua or Prolimatech would be using.
Of course there is a new fan at the helm of cooling the latest submission from Scythe, but the bulk of the cooler remains the same. It still has the staggered and bent fins that the predecessors offered, it still uses four copper heat pipes, and still uses a copper base plate for the initial thermal transfer into the cooler. From what I can tell from looking around, the main change aesthetically outside the fan change is that the fan mounting brackets are now black. I really hope that this new H.P.M.S. and the fan accompanying this new cooler is enough to get the job done, and do it well. Although without a baseline from the previous coolers, since I never tested them, all I can do is compare against the mix of other coolers I have seen. That list is tough to get to the top of though, and if Scythe can stay near the top, then there is no denying they have a great product on their hands.
Join me as we discuss the plusses and the minuses of this revisit to an older design. Scythe has delivered the Grand Kama Cross 2 for us to test. From what I have already seen in performance, noise levels, and of course the cost of this new cooler that is less of a revision C, I fully appreciate why it is released as the Grand Kama Cross 2.
Have a look as I discuss the specifications, take a tour around this cooler, and show you why I believe you don't want to miss out on a cooler like this, it is just that good.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Looking at the chart above you can see that Scythe uses the SCKC-3000 naming for the GKC2 cooler. In this cooler you have two separated fin arrays with 36 aluminum fins on each stack. These stacks are angled outward, and have the fins bent into a V-shape to take better advantage of the air flow from the fan on top. The fin stacks have a set of four 6mm diameter heat pipes. These pipes come out of a two piece copper base, and are bent to cross over the base as they feed heat to the fin stack opposite the side the pipes began from. This cooler is fairly tall measuring in at 171.21mm in height, but the rest of the cooler is 140mm squared. The nice thing about the GKC2 cooler is that even though it is large compared to the standard offerings, it only weighs a mere 760 grams, with the fan included.
The one 140mm fan that ships with the GKC2 is labeled as a SY1425HB12M-P. This 25mm thick fan is capable of speeds up to 1300 RPM delivering as much as 97.18 CFM of air flow to the fin array. It is also rated to deliver 30.7 dBA of noise into the environment, while producing the lower 1.02mmH2O of static pressure as it spins on its sleeve bearing. The nice thing about the way this fan delivers air into the SKC2 is that it is oriented to blow down at the motherboard. So, while the fins may pre-heat that air flow a bit, at least this massive cooler is delivering some sort of air flow to the vital components around the CPU as well.
As far as I know, I am not even sure that the Grand Kama Cross 2 cooler is going to be sold on this side of the pond. What I am seeing was that this was an April release of this cooler, and since then, we still have no listings locally. I did see that the cooler released overseas and was priced then at 4,980 Yen. For those without an abacus or a conversion right at hand, that is near $50 US dollars to obtain the Grand Kama Cross 2.
From what I have seen already, I do have to give it to Scythe with this design. It seems to be delivering in the cost category, and we saw from the chart above that they do well on the audio end of things as well. What is left now is to look at the packaging and the cooler, and see in a few pages just how well the Grand Kama Cross 2 from Scythe performs.
If ever a box was going to grab your attention on the shelf, Scythe has it here. Even with the plain white background, the image of the cooler along with the bright blue, pink and green of the naming will grab your eyes fast. It also states that this is a CPU cooler and that it is LGA1150 ready.
Spinning he package to the left we are now looking at the right side panel. Here Scythe delivers information on the H.P.M.S. mounting system, X-Structure design, 140mm PWM top mounted fan and wide range of compatibility.
Around the back of the box, the top offers you the support address if you do run into any issues. As you move down the panel, you can see the warranty information that gets repeated in various languages.
The last panel to divulge information is what we have pictured above. On this side Scythe shows dimensional renderings of the cooler from three angles as well as delivering a specifications chart to fully inform their potential buyers.
The inner packaging is pretty poor in my opinion. The cooler is just set into the box upside down as the fan rests on the hardware box at the very bottom of the outer packaging. The only thing holding this cooler in the box is a pair of tabs on the sides that fold in, and gravity. I will say this for Scythe though, even with the limited packing around this cooler, it made it across the ocean in transit and still arrived in good shape.
Scythe Grand Kama Cross 2 CPU Cooler
I know it was likely just cover art, but I do notice that the pipes coming from the base are not nickel plated as the box shows, but there is a full stack of fins on either side to take the heat even if the pipes do tarnish over time.
From this angle, you can see the way the pipes bend and shift at the bottom to make it through the fin stack after crossing the other pipes in the middle. After they have all the fins pressed on to the pipes, they add a black fan support piece and then cap off all four pipes for a cleaner look.
The back of the cooler is identical to the front image. The 36 fins on either side are perpendicular to the fan to take on the air flow, but in these three sections of the array, the fins are bent and it redirects the air outward and down at the motherboard for added cooling benefits.
Just like with the other side, the fins are pressed on, but all of the pipes are offset to the left. This allows room for the X-Structure. Also it is noticeable that the fan uses screws to secure the fan rather than clips, making cleaning the cooler inside of a case just a little bit easier.
From the top of the SKC2, you can see that the fan makes the 140mm measurement for the north and south orientation, and the pipe caps make the 171.21mm of width left to right. With the black steel brackets and this fan, the entire top of this cooler is covered by the fan, and it should offer good results.
I removed the four screws and flipped over the fan so that the model number and power requirements were visible. This 4-pin PWM powered fan with its sickle shaped blades will push quite a bit of air through those fins.
Since the fan was out of the way, I thought I should show the six sections of the fins from the top as well. This allows for more fin surface area in some sections, while in others it offers more room for the fans air flow to gather a head of steam before it enters the fins.
I am a bit surprised to see that even thought there are some tight bends made, even as the pipes exit the base, these pipes are still rounded and don't have the tell tale kinks of other pipes we normally see in designs like this. That means that the vapor inside can travel much easier, hence upping efficiency.
The base is comprised of two pieces. There is the bottom plate which is nickel plated copper, but the top half appears to be extruded aluminum. At the top of the base you will see four tabs standing to give the cross bar of the H.P.M.S. system a place to grab onto the cooler and solidify it.
As the pipes enter the base there are some large gaps to fill. I think I see the slightest remains of some solder on the third pipe from the left as the means of contacting the base components with the pipes. This is yet another step to try to increase the efficiency of the thermal transfer.
The base is milled in a spiral pattern, but the base is left flat against the razors edge. Of course the surface has slight deviations in it from the milling, but nothing that would do any issues to the thermal results or the spreading of thermal paste.
Accessories and Documentation
Part of the H.P.M.S. is shown here. These are the mounting legs for the top half of the motherboard that are equipped to work for both AMD and Intel. In the center is the cross bar that will attach to both of these legs to secure the cooler to the motherboard.
Scythe also sends a packet of TIM, a black rubber pad for the back plate to use with LGA775 boards, and four white nylon washers to isolate some of the hardware from the motherboard. You also have the Intel back plate with its various holes for the many socket types. AMD users need the stock back plate for mounting.
The rest of the kit contains four taller risers for AMD and Intel's various sockets, and the shorter ones to the right are for LGA2011 only. The four screws at the bottom left are to mount the universal legs on the top of the motherboard to the risers. The wrench is to be used with the pair of screws on the right that secure the cross bar to the mounting legs under it.
Unfolding the paperwork shows that the front of this manual gets right to the point. Here you will find a list of all of the components along with an image of removing the plastic from the base, and another depicting the direction of air flow and the blade rotation of the 140mm fan.
Scythe then breaks down each installation with its own page of instructions. For instance, this page pictured above is strictly for LGA2011 installations.
The two pages inside the manual show the rest of the Intel sockets since LGA775 and up installation on the left side. On the right it then covers the installation of the GKC2 on an AMD motherboard from AM2 onwards.
Installation and Finished Product
I installed the nylon washers and the risers on the reverse to hold the back plate into position. With my test setup, the holes align for the socket retention screws, and the large rubber pads at the end of each tab isolate the plate from the motherboard very well.
Flipping the motherboard back over, I went ahead and installed the mounting brackets to the top of the risers, and secured them with the appropriate screws. This is one of the better and more solid systems I have tested; it is on par with the likes of something from Noctua.
After fiddling around with the wrench, I traded it in for a screwdriver and got the GKC2 mounted and ready for testing. As we look over the memory, you can see there is plenty of memory clearances made even for the tallest of memory heat spreaders to still fit under this cooler.
I didn't even have to get right on top of the motherboard from this angle to see that both sides of the CPU are completely clear with the cooler now in place. You can also see how the bends in the fins will be directing the air flow that comes out of the fins onto the heat sinks around the CPU socket.
Looking at the Grand Kama Cross 2 from the top, you can see it does cover the memory that it helps to cool, but you can work around it to still remove the memory if needed. As for the 8-pin connection, I would advise connecting that early as even the screws will be tough to get into the motherboard in some smaller cases.
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 Speed Step 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.
The 51 degree result may look mediocre, but in reality, the best air cooler I have tested was only four degrees in front. Considering the PWM was still in control and the fan was spinning really slowly, these results are actually pretty good.
The Grand Kama Cross 2 doesn't waver one bit when it came to the overclocked testing. Even here with the fan turning at full speed, the cooler is still only four degrees behind the best solution of air cooling listed on the chart. 72 degrees may look a bit warm, but with a range of near 60 at the low-end of water cooling, and near throttling levels at the top end, the GKC2 is an admirable contender for your money.
Noise Level Results
At idle with 7.5V applied to the fan, the speed was recorded at 420 RPM. At this point I took a sound measurement and found that you can barely hear the fan spinning, until you climb right up on it, and it resulted in this measly 26dB rating.
With 12V now running to the blades of the 140mm fan, I recorded a speed of 1300 RPM as this fan's maximum speed, and it was at this time that I got the reading of 45dB of noise level.
I have to give it to Scythe; they really do hit all three of my requirements and have delivered a cooler that is well worth your attention.
I know I have been on the kick of using my rule of three to these last few coolers I have tested, but I feel maybe I have been lenient with some who deliver close enough to the mark, but they don't hit all the criteria like Scythe has. I firmly believe you also have to enjoy the aesthetics of the cooler, and with the Grand Kama Cross 2, you definitely get a cooler that is outside the box as far as a typical air cooler is concerned. On top of that, you have zero issue with memory clearance, but do keep in mind that the GKC2 cooler spreads out 171mm across the motherboard. This means that access to things like the motherboard screws and the 8-pin wire need to be tended to before you install this cooler. Even with these slight complications to get to the final results, I strongly believe that the results you get from this cooler is worth all the hassle of using that tiny wrench or anything you go through to get to that point.
Scythe also shows us that when done right, you can have a very quiet cooling solution that can run just behind the big dogs. With just the one 140mm fan, not only were the thermals good, but the noise levels were on point as well, and even at 45dB if you run the fan full blast, a case door is going to limit that even further making for a very enjoyable and near silent environment to work in. The added bonus is that with over 90CFM of air flow going into this cooler, you can easily feel the flood of air coming out of the bottom of the cooler and delivering much needed air flow to the heat sinks surrounding the CPU as well as the memory. For those of you looking to push to the bleeding edge, this cooler has you covered in all facets of cooling near the socket.
What really takes the cake for me is that the Scythe Kama Cross 2, with its top end performance and near silence, it isn't going to break the bank. I envy those on the other side of the globe who already have access to this cooler, because as I write this, I see no stock inside of the US. With the lowly pricing of $50 US dollars (converted from Yen), I think Scythe needs to get a boat full of these coolers across the pond, because at this price, with the results I just got, the Scythe Grand Kama Cross 2 would fly off the shelves in no time at all.
As long as you plan things out correctly, there really is no reason at all to pass on this new cooler from Scythe because the Grand Kama Cross 2 is a top contender and well worth every dime you invest.
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