Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
It has been quite some time since we last saw a cooler from Scythe. In the Mugen Max that we last saw, it comes from a long line of previously released coolers, but at the same time, we saw loads of changes to the design to bring it up to snuff in what is expected in coolers as of late. The cooler we received now also comes from a long line of previous versions. Unlike the Mugen Max, this cooler sticks to its guns in design and does not accommodate those looking for a slim cooler, those with tons of clearance, or any concessions that a lot of the newer coolers being made tend to offer.
Scythe sent us a large single tower cooler this time. There have been a few versions of this design in the past, and sticking to the theme, only minor changes have been made to liven it up a bit for its new release. The last version of this cooler we reviewed, the tower was broken into wedge sections in the large single tower design and had been capped off with painted flames on top of it. This time, however, things have changed into a squared fin design, sporting a shuriken embossed on the top fin. Other changes have been made to the construction of this latest design as well.
It is at this point that we bring forth the Scythe Ninja 4, one of the larger single-tower coolers we have tested. You are about to see a cooler that has to be carefully selected depending on the parts used in your build, but at the same time, it features an attractive design and performs admirably. This design does call back to designs of the past, and we know there are a few users out there who enjoyed using the previous three versions of this design. So now, with the fourth iterations of the Scythe Ninja in our hands, we will see just what Scythe is up to lately and if it is worth the cost to grab one and install it on your motherboard and CPU of choice.
The Scythe Ninja 4 can also be found looking it up by the SCNJ-4000 part number. The Ninja 4 is capable of sitting atop Intel sockets single LGA775 and anything newer, including Skylake and Haswell-E motherboards. On the AMD side, the Ninja is capable of being used as far back as AM2 and runs right through the rest of the AM sockets, and into the FM series as well.
With the fan included in the measurements, this cooler is 130mm wide, it is 155mm deep, stands 153mm tall, weighing in a 900 grams. Without the fan in play, the cooler is 130mm square and allows fans to be used on all four sides as its predecessors did. Also, 120 grams of that overall weight is due to the 120mm fan sent with the cooler. In this design, we found six 6mm heat pipes that are soldered to a copper base and are both then plated with Nickel. At the other end of the heat pipes, we found them to be running through 36 thicker aluminum fins.
Sent along with the tower, we were given the SY1225HB1212H-PS version of their Glide Stream 120mm PWM fans. Built into the side of the fan is a micro-switch with three positions to adjust the fan power. When switched to the "L" or low setting, we read the fan is capable of up to 43.5 CFM, they should spin up to 800 RPM, and only deliver 12.5dBA. When the switch is set to "M" or medium, the maximums all increase. Here you will find the potential of 63.73 CFM, 1150 RPM, and the noise level more than doubles to 29.5dBA. Then on the last, the "H" or high setting, the fan can deliver 84.64 CFM at 1500 RPM, and at this time, the fans are rated to be 43.5 dBA. Static pressure on the low setting is low at 0.05 mmH2O, on medium we get 1.06, and at high we are offered 1.79 mmH2O of pressure to push the air flow through this tower.
We were easily able to locate this cooler for sale with little effort involved. We found the Ninja 4 to be listed at Newegg at the asking price of $60.99, but is sold by a third party at OutletPC, and still comes with a free shipping option. We also located the Ninja 4 on Amazon, also sold and shipped from a third party, this time being Coolerguys. Listed here we see a $52.95 price for the cooler, with an additional $6.49 needed for shipping. Even if just slightly, the better deal is still to be had with the Amazon listing, and for around $60, we feel that on paper and upon first glance, you are getting a lot of cooler for the investment.
On the front panel of the packaging, we find a large moon with the shadowy ninja standing in front of it. Nearer to the bottom of the panel, we find a small image of the sides of the Ninja 4 cooler with its name to the right. Compatibility is also displayed in the bottom right corner.
On this side, we are given descriptions and images of the High Precision Mounting System, the Three-dimensional Multiple Airflow Pass-through Structure, a look at the Glide Stream 120PWM fan, and that this design offers a Dual Fan Mountable Structure.
On the back, we are given the addresses to the Scythe site and support page. Below that we are shown the warranty terms, where we find that this comes with two years of support. In the lowest section, we are offered up warnings about the product, and to the right of those are warnings.
The last panel offers us four renderings of the Ninja 4 at the top, all of which provide dimensions to ensure this cooler will work for your needs before making it to the checkout. The lower half offers a little specifications chart covering many languages, and the fine print addresses fans speeds may change due to PWM controls.
Inside of the black box, we found the cooler sits under a box of hardware with the fan flanking one side. There is a cardboard support at the bottom to keep the cooler off of the bottom of the box, as well as to offer a plastic sticker on the base of the cooler.
Scythe Ninja 4 CPU Cooler
The Ninja 4 starts with a copper base and aluminum top plate that hold the pipes. These pipes make their curves and then travel through 36 aluminum fins. There is a groove removed from the center of the fins for aesthetics, but also aids in mounting this cooler as well.
On this side of the cooler, we get a better idea of the angles that the heat pipes have to take to spread evenly through the tower of fins. Unlike the Ninja 3, which had pipes on all four sides, the Ninja 4 keeps things tidy and keeps everything to two sides of the base.
Since this cooler is designed to be universal on all sides, rather than to show the same images twice, we chose to see this from another angle. From here we find that the fins are mostly flat across the edge. Near the ends, we found a stepped section that allows the fan to sit off of the fin edges and comes to a point past where the fan rests on the cooler. Also, note that all sides are grooved to fit the wire fan clips.
Getting around to the last of the four identical sides of the fins, we again see the same fin shape we saw in the last image. We also twisted the cooler this time so you can see the two pipes that were hidden before actually come from the outer edges of the base, but are ran between the two other pipes on either side of the base.
The fin design does play well into the overall design. Not only do the fins look like a throwing star, the embossed one in the center of the cooler drives that point home clearly. This view also brings the pipe arrangement into a better perspective.
The top of the base is made of aluminum and grooved to work both as a pre-cooler as well as a solid way to hold the cooler to the cross bar. The thinner and smaller lower section of the base is copper that has been plated to fight corrosion.
From this view, we can find two points to cover. There are visible signs of the pipes being soldered to the base of the cooler. The other is that as the pipes pass through the fins, we can see that they are held in place by pressing fins onto the heat pipes.
The mating surface of the Ninja 4 is convex and shows minute machining marks left behind. Even so, the result is a near mirror surface that reflects the protective sticker well.
Accessories and Documentation
The major components of the mounting hardware are made of steel and then painted black. The universal Intel backplate uses plastic pads on each end tab to isolate it from the motherboard. To the left are the top mounting brackets that are drilled for Intel on the ends and AMD holes nearer the center. That leaves us with the cross bar at the top that mounts the cooler to the rest of the mounting hardware.
The remainder of mounting hardware is what we have here. Scythe includes a long stubby screwdriver to mount the cooler as well. Below that we found the standoffs, top bracket screws, a wrench and 2011 screws, and the cross bar mounting screws on the right.
Scythe also sends along a tube of thermal paste, enough wire fan clips to hang two fans, an LGA775 preload spacer, and a set of plastic washers to keep the standoffs isolated from the top of the motherboard.
The front of the instruction sheet offers a parts list and then shows how to use the wire fan clips. Not only does it show how to attach them to the fans, but it also points out where the fan should sit in the fins, and how the tab locks into the groove on the side.
The fan sent with the Ninja 4 is this SY1225HB12H-PS Glide Stream PWM fan. The connection is 4-pin, and the wire lead is sleeved to clean things up. The fan offers a black frame around a set of nine thin gray blades.
Where the fan power lead attaches to the frame of the Glide Stream fan, we find the micro-switch. The fan is shipped in low mode, and the sticker to the right of it denotes that we have two other options of settings to use this fan in.
Installation and Finished Product
At this point, we installed the standoffs, placed the top brackets on, and screwed them securely into place. We also made sure to install the plastic washers under the standoffs, and after applying some thermal paste, we are about ready to install the cooler.
The back plate is drilled to allow the socket screws to fit through it only on one side, so orientation is very important. When it comes to the standoffs screwing into the plate, you need to twist the plate a bit to allow the correct set of holes to be aligned.
After dropping the screws into the cross bar, we ran it through the base of the cooler. At this point, we can send the screwdriver through the fins to set the screws. If you wish, you can also use the supplied wrench to do this, but using the screwdriver is much easier.
When it came time to installing the fan to the Ninja 4, we realized our memory was going to be an issue. As you can see, with the taller RAM installed, the fan is pushed much higher than the top of the tower behind it.
Removing the fins did help out slightly with lowering the fan. While it still is not at the proper ride height, there is a lot more of the fan to cool the tower at this point.
As we mentioned, memory clearance was not a concern when designing this cooler. Not only does the cooler block access to the slot nearest the CPU, but with the fan in play, it covers all four slots.
Even with just one fan, the Ninja 4 is huge. There is still room to add another fan, but doing so in a case could get tricky. We would suggest adding it now, and plugging in the 8-pin before screwing the motherboard into place.
Once everything is installed, we see a shiny top fin and get a good view of the throwing star. Access to motherboard screws is there, but the cooler could cause issues with video cards in the top slot that come with a top plate installed on them.
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z87 - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i7 4770K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: G.Skill F3-2666C11D-8GTXD - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Patriot Torch 120GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: IN WIN D-Frame - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: SilverStone ST85F-G - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: RealTemp 3.70, AIDA64 Engineer 5.20.3400 and CPU-z 1.72.1 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article for more information.
All things were considered, when it comes to the stock setting, the Ninja 4 does a good job. It falls in the lower-end of the spectrum with AIO results and falls only 0.25 degrees behind the NH-D15S with the Ninja 4 coming in at 49.75 degrees at this time.
Even as we raised the clocks and TDP of the processor, we still find the Ninja 4 performing admirably. There are a few AIOs it outperforms, and the gap between it and the NH-D15S only slightly increases as the Ninja 4 comes in at 70.66 degrees here.
Noise Level Results
To level the playing field in the way we test the fans, we set the switch to the "H" or high position. Then we used a fan controller to limit the voltage at this point to 7.5V. With a reported fan speed of 1055 RPM, we pulled out the sound meter and took a reading of 29 dB at this time.
With 12V supplied to the fan, again in the high setting on the switch, we saw our fan spinning at 1505 RPM. At this time, things got noticeably louder, but the 47 dB result obtained here is still an acceptable noise level for most users.
Starting off with the good things we found in the Ninja 4 design, we find there is a lot to talk about. The hardware is strong and easy to get the cooler mounted to the motherboard, especially when using the screwdriver versus the tiny little wrench.
The tower is clean looking, universal in how it can be mounted, allows for fans to be fitted to any side of the tower, and plating the base and pipes give the Ninja 4 a unified aesthetic appeal. Noise levels are not out of control and offering a switch to limit this is handy. There is no need for adapters or anything that will add wiring and hassle to the build. As to its performance, it does quite well in the grand scheme of things, and once you reconsider with its price involved, it does raise the bang for the buck factor quite a bit.
Issues in the design are more limited, but against other coolers being offered recently, the Ninja 4 loses a couple of battles here. First is the size, and here it just overtakes the motherboard and memory without excuses. While most users do not change memory like they do their underwear, we don't mind so much that the cooler and fan cover access. What bothers us here is that there is a very limited space under it all, which leaves many RAM offerings off the table to fit under this cooler. Lastly, while it does not block access to the top PCI-e slot on a motherboard, it is close. Considering that the wire fan mounts stick out even further, this design could become an issue populating that slot. Outside of this, we find no issues with the Ninja 4, it is solidly built and does quite well despite its bull in a China shop presence.
Since we tested the Ninja 4 and found the minor issues that need to be considered when purchasing this cooler, you as the reader can now go into this purchase fully aware of the situation. As long as you don't want fancy tall RAM in your system, or to be able to see them, and your motherboard is designed with an optional PCI-e slot to run your video card, it has a lot going for it. Performance is up there with some of the better coolers we have tested, but the kicker here is that the Ninja 4 does this with much less cost involved. The fact that you can grab the Ninja 4 for less than sixty dollars puts a favorable spin on this design.
In the end, we do like what we found in the Scythe Ninja 4. We just wish it was a bit more universal with other components that can be used with it.
|Quality including Design and Build||88%|
|Bundle and Packaging||97%|
|Value for Money||96%|
The Bottom Line: A very capable cooler for a fair bit less than most of its competition! The Scythe Ninja 4 is easy to install, and offers a nice aesthetic appeal, but some may be very concerned with the intrusion this design offers to other components in the build.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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