Scythe Ninja 4 – Test and Review

It was a great moment for me to receive one of Scythes’ CPU coolers and it happens to be their latest one – Ninja 4. It brings with it some new features and technologies like -T-M.A.P.S and H.P.M.S, but more on that later through the article. Of course, all of that is done to gain the best improvement in cooling performance.

Unlike its predecessor, Ninja 4 comes with quite an improvement in the weight department, so I am keen on seeing how that would reflect on the performance part.

And with the introduction out of the way, let me present to you – Scythe Ninja 4.

At first sight I can say that the package is not large by any means and is more on the compact side, like you would expect on a smaller type of a cooler.

The left side of the box The right side of the box
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Scythe kept the packaging relatively simple looking and very informative, actually. The main color of the carton is black with red and white used for the inscriptions. Some grey is present as well, mainly for the front picture, which I appreciate a lot. A deadly ninja silhouette is put on display, almost in a stand by state and behind his back a large moon.

Underneath the actual cooler is displayed, or to be exact the heat sink itself with no fan attached.

On the left side you can observe a sketch of the cooler and the fan, accompanied by extensive information about both. The right side is packed with the included technologies and features in the engineering of this cooler.

First look inside the box All parts unboxed
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After I opened the box I was presented with the internal packaging used to keep the components from harm. In this case I have to admit that it is not enough, although the cooler arrived to me in supreme condition. The box with additional accessories was placed on the top and underneath it the heat sink and fan separated with a very thick soft styrofoam.

Between the heat sink and outside carton box there is no protection whatsoever, which in case of accidental drop by the delivery company may result in bent fins and ruined heat sink at least. Not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind and I would like to see a bit more protective packaging from Scythe in the future.

To mention again, there was no damage done to my sample, for which I am thankful.

As always, let’s start checking what is inside the accessories pack.

 

Scythe Ninja 4 ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES

In terms of accessible information about the installation of the cooler there is a single leaflet for all sockets installation procedures and I personally find it good enough. It has reasonable amount of information about the included parts and is nicely finished with pictures and steps.

I took all of the parts out of their box and arranged them for a photo.

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The standard Scythe Ninja 4 package offers:

  • Ninja 4 heat sink
  • Glide Stream PWM 120mm Scythe fan
  • 4 x metal fan clips
  • 1 x mounting bar
  • 2 x large screws
  • 4 x small screws
  • 2 x mounting plate
  • 1 x back plate
  • 4 x stud nuts A
  • 4 x stud nuts B
  • 4 x washers
  • 1 x rubber spacer for Intel s.775
  • 1 x thermal grease
  • 1 x wrench
  • 1 x screwdriver

I have to admit that while arranging the parts for photos I examined them and realistically they’re quite solid, built well and will do the job of holding this heavy piece of hardware on the motherboard socket. The only not metal part is the rubber spacer for Intel s.775, which is completely normal.

This is also the first time that I stumble upon Scythes’ mounting kit, so I am keen on checking how it would perform and if it’s easy to be installed.

Now that I’ve covered the additional accessories, let’s proceed further with the actual cooler examination, starting with the heat sink.

 

Scythe Ninja 4 HEAT SINK STRUCTURE

Usually the heat sink is the part that does most of the job and here it is an upgraded version with added features and improved engineering to achieve better results than the previous model.

Ninja 4 uses a very interestingly designed heat sink, cooled by a single 120mm fan out of the box with the nice option of installing a second one for even more cooling capacity. Design of the heat sink is a standard tower one, however the heat sink is split into 4 smaller radiators, with two main ones. They are not fully separated but are connected in the middle with a shuriken shaped form.

Let me have a closer look at the heat sink and its structure, beginning with the copper contact plate, whose role is of the essence for proper cooling.

Contact plate Bottom view
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Contact copper plate in Ninja 4’s heat sink is almost perfectly milled and close to mirror-like finish, which ensures superb contact with the CPU. Of course, it is fully covered with nickel finish and has dimensions of 38 x 40 mm. It serves as a worthy holder of all 6 x Ø6 mm heat pipes, which are also nicely nickel-plated for longevity and improved premium look. The copper nickel plated heat pipes are close to each other, however they begin to separate just a bit the further they go from the copper contact plate and are distributed to the heat sinks equally by 3.

All the heat pipes follow asymmetrical design as you can see from the photo. Heat pipes look like spider legs crawling from the copper plate into the fins.

Side view Front/Fan view
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Let’s have a look at the fin stack itself.

An upgraded version of M.A.P.S (Multiple Airflow Pass-through Structure) is used for the fin alignment, called T-M.A.P.S, which stands for (Three-dimensional Multiple Airflow Pass-through Structure). This allows for better fin distribution and an additional pair of fins, without gaining too much weight, compared to previous technologies used by Scythe.

We have two main heat sink towers, comprised of aluminum fins, each of which towers is pierced by 3 x Ø6 mm heat pipes. Total count of the fins is 36, including the top one. This results in physical dimension for the heat sink of 130 mm x 155 mm x 153 mm (with the fan) and 780 grams of weight without the fan.

All of the aluminum fins are nickel plated and have the same design, except the top one, containing the shuriken. It adds to the overall look of the cooler and is a nice touch and helps with the cooling in the lower speed range of the fan used in the package.

Speaking of the fan in the package, let’s examine the sample included.

Fan brackets Scythe Glide Stream 120 PWM
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Scythe Ninja 4 is equipped with a single 120mm fan, Glide Stream 120 PWM, and is fully capable of cooling with only 1 fan installed. The option of installing a second one is present, as well as additional fan brackets in the package.

The included fan is with physical dimensions of 120 x 120 x 25 mm (square frame design), colored in grey for the propeller and black for the fan frame. Scythe logo is glued on the motor.

There are several aspects of the fan that are worth mentioning here. The propeller has 9 slightly curved blades with a non-aggressive angle and each blade has tiny canals for additional acceleration and direction of air flow.

Another interesting feature is a very small switch, located at the side of the fan frame, which says (H/M/L). Those are the 3 operation modes – High, Medium and Low.

Specifications for each mode:

  • L: 12.93 ~ 43.50 CFM (300 (±300) ~ 800 (±10%) revolutions per minute)
  • M: 12.93 ~ 63.73 CFM (300 (±300) ~ 1150 (±10%) revolutions per minute)
  • H: 12.93 ~ 84.64 CFM (300 (±300) ~ 1500 (±10%) revolutions per minute)

And the noise levels generated at maximum are 12.5 for the Low, 23.5 for the medium and 29.5 dbA for the High revolutions per minute operation.

Static pressure is 0.50 mmH²O, 1.06 mmH²O and 1.79 mmH²O for the L/M/H respectively. Sleeve bearing is used for the motor which allows for 30,000 hours MTBF. Connector used is a 4-pin PWM one with a nicely sleeved long enough cable.

To install the fan onto the heat sink you’ll need the two included metal clips, however I would have liked to see some rubber isolation material used to reduce vibrations passing from the fan to the heat sink.

And this is what the cooler looks like with the fan installed.

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39.50mm is the space from the copper contact plate to the first fin or fan frame, so if you use higher RAM modules it may result in compatibility issues.

With the fan ready to be installed, let’s check the mounting kit and proceed with the tests.

For the installation kit Scythe have provided their HPMS (Hyper Precision Mounting System) and according to the official technical details, the cooler is compatible with:

  • Intel®: Socket LGA775, LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA2011 / 2011-v3 (Square ILM)
  • AMD®: AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, FM2+

And an important piece of information from Scythe is provided:

Please note that an original backplate with screw mounting is needed for installation on mainboards with AMD sockets. Please check before buying if the backplate is fixed by screws (example)! If the backplate uses plastic-pins, mounting of this cooler is not possible.

Scythe

To do the tests I will use the standard for Scythe Intel brackets and these are the parts needed so the cooler can be installed on my motherboard:

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As always, first thing to do is to check the Intel installation manual, read the instructions carefully and pick up the right accessories for the actual socket, especially with the fact that this is the first cooler of Scythe I’ve ever tested.

In the case of Intel kit I will need the parts on the photo, beginning with the black, metal back plate which has holes for some of Intel’s sockets. Aligning the holes is not tricky you just need two hands.

Next step is to tighten the back plate with the Stud nuts A and washers.

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Afterwards the two mounting plates need to be aligned as on the photo and in the manual, followed and tightened into place by the small screws.

Before going with the next step you’ll need to apply some thermal grease on the CPU and then place the heat sink on top.

Last step is to put the mounting bar between the contact plate and heat sink, then using the two large screws to tighten the whole package together. These screws don’t stop when fully tightened so be careful not to overdo the job and damage the socket or motherboard.

And this is what the heatsink looks like installed on the motherboard:

Heat sink seen from the side Heat sink seen from the front/side
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The complete cooler installed on the motherboard…

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And another shot from the side with attached fan…

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With the fan attached all of the RAM slots are blocked and the fan is a bit higher than the last top fin. I am using low profile RAM, so keep it in mind. 39.50mm is the maximum space you get. It’s a large cooler and compatibility may be an issue for some systems, especially RAM modules with higher heat spreaders.

And this is what the cooler looks like installed on the motherboard and inside the case ready for testing.

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Ninja 4 is a thing of beauty once installed and a beast as well as it covers most of the view to the motherboard. The heat sink creates a nice mirror effect and the design is also outstanding. There is no interference between the first PCIX x 16 slot and the cooler itself.

Since the cooler is installed and ready to face the tests I believe it is time to check my testing rig and continue the article.

 

Scythe Ninja 4 TESTS

With the Ninja 4 cooler installed, the time to check my testing rig has arrived.

  • CPU: Intel i5-4670K
  1. At standard frequency 3.400 MHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing)
  2. At low overclock frequency of 3.900 MHz  (at 1.20V)
  3. At medium overclock frequency of 4.300 MHz (at 1.23V)
  • Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII HERO Z97
  • Video card: MSI AMD R9 280X GAMING 3G
  • Memory: Kingston Hyper-X SAVAGE 8 GB, Dual channel, 1866 MHz
  • Solid State Drive: Intel 530 Series, 120 GB
  • Hard drive: Western Digital 640 GB Black Series
  • Case: Silverstone Kublai KL05
  • Power supply:  Corsair RM750 W
  • Cooler: Scythe Ninja 4
  • Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H1

For the test I will be using the supplied 1 x 120mm fan and will test the cooler at maximum RPM.

The tests were conducted in a closed system with:

Two 120mm case fans:

  • BeQuiet Silent Wings2 140mm case fan, serving as front intake, rotating at ~ 1000 RPM.
  • Silverstone Kublai KL05 stock 120mm fan, serving as rear exhaust, rotating at ~ 1500 RPM.

One 140mm fan:

  • BeQuiet Silent Wings2 120mm case fan, installed as top exhaust, rotating at ~1500 RPM

Room temperature of about 21-22 degrees Celsius.

And here I want to describe my testing method.

I will install Scythe Ninja 4 and do stress tests using Prime95 AVX software with constant load on the cooler for 14:30 minutes with custom settings of minimum FFT size (in K of 128), max FFT size (in K of 128) and Run FFTs in place at standard frequency of 3.4 GHz (Voltage set to Auto when not OC-ing), at low overclock frequency of 3.9 GHz (at 1.20V) and at medium overclock frequency of 4.3 GHz (at 1.23V) using the supplied fans installed on the radiator.

Now let’s check out the test results:

Scythe Ninja 4 @3.4, Idle Scythe Ninja 4 @ 3.4, Load
Ninja 4 @ 3.4 GHz Idle Ninja 4 @ 3.4 GHz Load

 

Scythe Ninja 4 @ 3.9, Load Scythe Ninja 4 @ 4.3, Load
Ninja 4 @ 3.9 GHz Load Ninja 4 @ 4.3 GHz Load

 

All of the test results have been summed up in the following charts:

Ninja 4 CPU temps

And the fans speed during the tests:

Ninja 4 fan speeds

I think the time to express my initial thoughts and feelings about this product has arrived.

 

Scythe Ninja 4 CONCLUSIONS

1. Scythe Ninja 4 performance:

Honestly I was pleasantly surprised by the performance this cooler offers, although I expected it to perform very well. One thing that bothers me is the actual size of the cooler. It is huge and if you plan to add an additional fan it would be even bigger. Is that justified? – Yes, I think it is and you achieve solid performance, given the large size so you’ll need to make a choice.

Ninja 4 is a worthy successor to Ninja 3 and is a better cooler overall with almost 200 grams of difference in weight, which is no small margin. I really like how they’ve managed to split the heat sink and it is done in a visually pleasing way. It seems to be efficient, too.

The included fan is capable enough according to me, although it is a bit noisy when it spins at maximum operating revolutions. I believe there is a slight noise coming from the actual motor, like a vibration, which increases with the RPMs respectively. There are superior bearings to the Sleeve bearing and I believe that Scythe will take that into consideration. Along with that I would like to mention the lack of any rubber isolation for either the fan or heat sink, which may have resulted in less output in the noise department.

Nonetheless, I was very impressed with the solid performer in the face of Ninja 4. It well deserves to be among the top air CPU coolers out there, which is where I’d put it. One downside is the 2 year warranty.

Last thing to mention on the performance part is the somewhat limited compatibility. Higher RAM modules are just unusable in conjunction with this enormous piece of metal.

 

2. Scythe Ninja 4 appearance:

I loved the mirror nickel finish or chrome-like finish, although it’s a bit of a finger print magnet. It sits well in the case and I like the black/grey fan. It can be easily matched with most builds out there. In terms of overall looks…well, Ninja 4 is basically what you can see and the only thing you can see when installed 🙂 It’s big. But it’s not ugly, and it shines and reflects the lights.

According to my review, I think that Scythe Ninja 4 deserves the following reward:

Best-Visual-silenceOfficial price (MSRP) for Scythe Ninja 4:  €37.50/$55.99

Official warranty: 24 months

Special thanks to Scythe for providing us with a test sample.

scythe-simply-cool-468x60

Scythe Ninja 4 – Test and Review
Solid performance even with one fan, silent and efficient. Nicely looking cooler worthy of attention!
9.3 Total Score
Very good value!

Solid performance even with one fan, silent and efficient. Nicely looking cooler worthy of attention!

Performance
10
Noise Level
9
Compatibility
8
Additional accessories
8.5
User Rating: 4.85 (1 votes)

Nikola Milanov is reviewer and newsman at DVTests and has more than 6 years of experience in telecommunications. I'm really enthusiastic about the website and its development by sharing a user's point of view and experience with the products we test. We are honest and objective in all of the articles, the products get tested and reviewed thoroughly with no exception! Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section or use the emails in About us page!
4 Comments
  1. Reply Boskorp 21.10.2015 at 10:51

    Yep, seems like this pimp shiny ninja is capable of silently killing the heat. But sadly it needs MB’s AMD shoes to walk on that territory. Many will find the compatibility issue way too late. The lack of separate plate (AMD), rubber mountings and the poor sleeve bearing of the fan justifies the lower price. I would buy it only for the big piece of metal, change fans and make it the best air cooling ninja. Thanks for the review and the good points given to consider.

    • Reply Nikola Milanov 21.10.2015 at 20:28

      Thanks,

      There may be bits and pieces of the cooler that are not that appealing in terms of versatility, however the performance is undeniable! If you put high pressure fans in a push/pull config and want to invest money in such fans I believe that it might be in the top 5 air coolers 🙂

  2. Reply Dimcho 21.10.2015 at 9:55

    Thi is a real ninja – silent and stylish 🙂

    • Reply Nikola Milanov 21.10.2015 at 20:29

      Couldn’t agree more! I hope they update the fan in a future revision and add some rubber isolation pads to make it even better

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