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Scythe Ninja 5 CPU Air Cooler

By Robert Baddeley on June 14, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Scythe Ninja 5 CPU Air Cooler

Fresh off the heels of the Mugen review I’ve gotten my hands on the massive Ninja 5 from Scythe, a dual fan push-pull behemoth that from the sheer size of it should deliver impressive results. Using what Scythe calls the Hyper Precision Mounting System, or H.P.M.S. the Ninja 5 comes ready to install on a range of Intel and AMD systems - if your chassis has the room for it.  But how does it stack up against some other air coolers? What about a standard AIO? In this review, we’ll dive in and find out.


Specifications

  • MSRP: $59.99 (Amazon)
  • Black anodized top-plate
  • Compatibility:
    • Intel: Socket LGA 775/1150/1151/1155/1156/1366/2011/2011-v3/2066
    • AMD: Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/AM4/FM1/FM2/FM2+
      (Original backplate required for AMD installation)
  • Overall Dimensions: 138 x 155 x 180 mm
  • Weight: 1190g w/ fans
  • Number of Heatpipes: 6 per side
  • Heat-pipe Diameter: 6mm
  • Base-plate material: nickel-plated copper
  • Fan Model: Kaze Flex 120 PWM
  • Fan Dimension: 120 x 120 x 27mm
  • Noise Level: 4 ~ 14.5 dBA
  • Air Flow: 16.6 ~ 43.03 CFM
  • Fan Speed: 300 ~ 800 rpm (+/- 10%)
  • Voltage / Amperage: DC 12V / 0.09 A
  • Static Pressure: 0.76 ~ 4.8 Pa
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Precision FDB
  • MTTF: 120,000 Hours (25c)

Testing Setup / Methodology

If you’ve read my reviews of cooler reviews before you’ll likely familiar with the methodology spiel I’m about to give and if that’s the case, feel free to skip to the next section.  If you haven’t then, welcome!  The first thing to know about the testing environment for my cooler reviews is that it’s kept at a consistent 24 Celsius (75F) thanks to the brilliant invention of central air.  There are usually two go to programs for stressing, and thus heating, a CPU that you’ll see - Aida64 and Prime 95.  I personally prefer to use Prime 95 because I get higher temperatures from the stress test and can reflect a real “worse case scenario” load temperature.  And lastly, all recorded idle temperatures are taken 30 minutes after a cold boot and launching the hardware monitors.

The case used is the Cooler Master C700M Cosmos - an extremely large case with decent air flow when fans are configured properly.  Three 140mm fans intake air from the front, the Ninja 5 is in a push pull configuration to pass that laminar air flow through the heat sink and straight back to the exhaust fan in the rear.  Spec wise I’m running:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600x OC 4.3Ghz @1.41v (all cores)
  • RAM: 32GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4 3200 (Review)
  • GPU: MSI RTX 2080 Duke
  • PSU: ThermalTake Riing 800w Modular Power Supply

Unboxing, Installation, Etc

I remember thinking how heavy the Mugen 5 was when I reviewed it a few weeks ago. Little did I know it had nothing on the Ninja 5.  Coming in at over 1kg the Ninja 5 weighs just over two pounds and is one of the more solid heat sinks I’ve ever handled.  The packaging is well done, with a flat box of utility hardware sitting over the heatsink and fans.  Everything you need, from mounting hardware and fan clips to a long magnetic screwdriver comes packaged and ready for your use.  Like the Mugen 5, if you’re an AMD user you need to be aware that the original motherboard backplate is required to mount the Ninja 5, so hopefully, you kept that baby around if you’re using a different aftermarket cooler.  If you’re using the Wraith cooler that came with whatever Ryzen you happen to be using, you should be golden and have no need to worry.

Two Kaze Flex 120mm fans are included in the box for a nice push/pull configuration on the heat sink, though one thing to note is that the max RPM on them is actually fairly low - topping out at 800RPM. As you’ll see this doesn’t seem to effect that Ninja 5’s ability to be a powerhouse of a cooler and it helps to keep noise levels to a minimum when the fans are running at max speeds.  The Kaze Flex fans are Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fans, which is actually a modification of a standard sleeve bearing first used in hard drives, to increase lubrication, extend life, reduce noise, and bring us to a mean time to failure (MTTF) of 120,000 hours.  This link from Technopedia has a good breakdown of how MTTF is calculated if you’re interested.

Aesthetically, the Ninja 5 is sure to be popular with crowds averse to the RGB craze.  Sporting a black anodized top-plate, the Ninja 5 has a wicked looking blacked-out look that even this RGB fanatic could appreciate.  The tips of the heat pipes can be seen popping out of the top of the plate in their default nickel plated copper look and I would have liked to see those blacked out as well, but it doesn’t look bad at all how it is.  While on the topic of the heat sink, the bottom has cutouts to ensure enough clearance to support virtually any motherboards RAM slots, even boards with RAM on both sides of the CPU.  If you have RGB RAM, however, you may find yourself a little bummed out as the Ninja 5 will cover all four slots completely with it’s giant, giant body.

Test Results

Moving on to our testing, Prime 95 was utilized to complete stress load testing on the CPU using small FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms), as they’re generally known to generate the most heat from the CPU (learn more about FFTs here).  All temperatures are recorded using two pieces of software taken 20 minutes after stressing the CPU with Prime 95.  The exception is the Wraith cooler, as it failed to keep my CPU in a temperature range I was comfortable with so I stopped the stress test early and recorded the last temperature.  While air coolers generally reach heat capacity very quickly and don’t need 20 minutes of stressing to reach a stable temperature, AIO (All-In-One) coolers need time to reach their heat capacity due to the liquid and I wanted to keep the testing conditions consistent across the coolers.  Lastly, I’ll note again that the ambient temperature in the room at the time of testing is 24c (approx. 75f).

To be completely honest, I only expected the Ninja 5 to do just as well as the Mugen 5 I reviewed earlier.  Both used a push/pull fan configuration and I didn’t really expect a little more heat sink to make a huge impact.  At idle, the results were generally unsurprising, with the Ninja 5 coming in two degrees cooler than the Mugen 5 and one degree warmer than Cooler Master’s ML240r AIO, which performs right on par with coolers like NZXT’s Kraken X62 and Corsair’s H100i V2 and represents the standard, popular 240mm AIOs found on the market.

At load, however, is where the differences really start to take shape.  The results were actually so surprising to me I re-seated and reapplied thermal paste and ran testing again to make sure I was getting the proper results.  The Ninja 5 came in neck and neck with the ML240r, both with temperatures at 40 degrees over ambient, or 64 degrees Celsius.  When you consider that the testing rig is running an overclocked Ryzen pumping over 1.4v into the CPU the results are extremely impressive.  The widened gap between the Mugen 5 also becomes a staggering eight degrees compared to the mere one at idle, illustrating how much of a difference the extra heat sink surface area and heat pipes really make.  My only wish is to eventually have a Noctua cooler to compare it to, but only time will tell on that front.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that if you aren’t interested in spending upwards of $100 for an AIO, or simply don’t want to risk the possible catastrophic failures that can happen when you have liquid pumping around in your chassis you aren’t going wrong by picking up the Scythe Ninja 5.  It may be extremely large and ridiculously heavy but you’re going to get temperatures that compete with the most popular AIOs on the market while only sacrificing the ability to look at your RAM, or really a quarter of your motherboard due to the size.  To top it all off I never once noticed an additional noise from the fans.  You simply can’t go wrong with a $60 cooler that’s capable of this kind of performance.

Pros

  • AIO like temperatures at fraction of the cost
  • Black-out looks are incredible
  • Easy to install
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Large and Heavy
  • Will completely cover RGB RAM

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.