Introduction and First Impressions
How quiet can a CPU cooler be?
The Scythe Ninja 4 (SCNJ-4000) is the latest model in the Ninja series, and an imposing air cooler with dimensions similar to Noctua's massive NH-D14. But there's more to the story than size, as this is engineered for silence above all else. Read on to see just how quiet it is, and of course how well it's able to cope with CPU loads.
"The Ninja 4 is the latest model in the Ninja CPU Cooler Series, developed for uncompromising performance. It features the new T-M.A.P.S technology, an optimized alignment of heatpipes, and the back-plate based Hyper Precision Mounting System (H.P.M.S) for firm mounting and easy installation procedure. These improvements and a special, adjustable Glide Stream 120mm PWM fan result in an increased cooling performance while reducing the weight compared to his predecessor. Also the design of the heat-sink allows fan mounting on all four sides. This enables the optimal integration of the Ninja 4 in the air flow of the pc-case and reduces turbulence and the emergence of hotspots."
The Ninja 4 is built around a very large, square heatsink, which allows the single 120 mm fan to be mounted on any side, and this PWM fan offers three speed settings to further control noise. And noise is really what the Ninja is all about, with some really low minimum speeds possible on what is a very quiet Scythe fan to begin with.
Will a single low-speed fan design affect the ability to keep a CPU cool under stress? Will the Ninja 4's fan spin up and become less quiet under full load? These questions will soon be answered.
First we'll take a look at the specifications from Scythe:
- Model Name: Ninja 4
- Model Number SCNJ-4000
- Intel Socket Compatibility: Socket LGA775 / Socket LGA1150 / Socket LGA1151 / Socket LGA1155 / Socket LGA1156 / Socket LGA1366 / Socket LGA2011 / 2011-v3
- AMD Socket Compatibility: Socket AM2 / Socket AM2+ / Socket AM3 / Socket AM3+ / Socket FM1 / Socket FM2 / Socket FM2+
- (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! If the backplate uses plastic-pins, mounting of this cooler is not possible.)
- Overall dimensions: 130 x 153 x 155 mm (including fan)
- Weight 780 g / 900 g (with Fan)
- Base plate material: Nickel-plated copper
- Installation hardware for Intel and AMD Socket
- Thermal grease
- Second pair of fan clips
- Screw driver
- Installation manual
- Fan Model Name: GlideStream 120 PWM
- Model Number SY1225HB1212H-PS (3 operation modes: H/M/L)
- Fan Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
- Fan Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25 mm / 4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 in
- Fan Noise Level: Low: 4.0 ~ 12.5 dBA; Medium: 4.0 ~ 23.5 dBA; High: 4.0 ~ 29.5 dBA
- Air Flow:
- Low: 21.97 ~ 73.90 m³/h (12.93 ~ 43.50 CFM)
- Medium: 21.97 ~ 73.90 m³/h (12.93 ~ 63.73 CFM)
- High: 21.97 ~ 73.90 m³/h (12.93 ~ 84.64 CFM)
- Fan Speed:
- Low: 300 rpm (±300) ~ 800 rpm (±10%)
- Medium: 300 rpm (±300) ~ 1,150 rpm (±10%)
- High: 300 rpm (±300) ~ 1,500 rpm (±10%)
- Low: 0.69 ~ 4.90 Pa (0.07 ~ 0.50 mmH²O)
- Medium: 0.69 ~ 10.40 Pa (0.07 ~ 1.06 mmH²O)
- High: 0.69 ~ 17.55 Pa ( 0.07 ~ 1.79 mmH²O)
- Voltage / Amperage: DC 12V / 0.22A
Our thanks to Scythe for providing the Ninja 4 CPU cooler for our review!
- Scythe Ninja 4 SCNJ-4000: $52.95 – Amazon.com
The Ninja 4 arrives in a nice looking retail box, and inside the contents were adequately protected in snug fitting cardboard.
The accessories include everything needed to install the Ninja 4, including thermal paste and a screwdriver that looks more like it came from a hardware store than free inside a CPU cooler box (this is a good thing).
Scythe has implemented a secure mounting system that is similar in concept to the well regarded Noctua design, but this is not a clone as Scythe has their own take on the idea (we'll check this out on the next page).
The heatsink itself is very large, and designed to allow the fan to be mounted on any side.
And now a look at the included 120 mm fan, the GlideStream 120 PWM, which operates from 300 RPM to (up to) 1500 RPM, depending on speed setting. The fan has a 3-position switch built in, allowing users to tailor noise/thermal performance to their liking.
With the cooler unboxed it's time to fit it to the test system motherboard and then see how the Ninja 4 performs!
Thanks so much for the
Thanks so much for the review. Glad Maury is not the only one there who appreciates large air coolers and does not feel the need to ridicule the multitude of enthusiasts that have used them for years without broken boards from the weight.
I am shocked that a 0.3 decibel level difference between the high and low fan setting, negligible, results in a 10 degree improvement in “stress” temps. Hard to believe that is possible, but there it is. Why would one ever bother to run it at less than high with that kind of gain for almost nothing?
The results were a little
The results were a little skewed based on noise floor. I haven't had anything quiet enough to make my 33.4 dB ambient the limiting factor before this, and the low was somewhere below this. In reality there was more than a 0.3 decibel difference, but noise was really minimal at the highest setting.
Inside any reasonably quiet case you just aren't going to hear this, even on high, so I'm with you there.
I’ve had low speed fans
I’ve had low speed fans increase noise drastically by inducing resonance into the case.
Having said that, it’s probably rare and these noise figures make me think maybe a SINGLE SPEED fan would be worth considering because aren’t they possible to make cheaper, or at least last longer?
I wonder how it compares to AMD’s new single-speed fan as that thing baffles me. It has one speed but it’s audible.
On my NH-D14 I took off the 12cm fan and attached it to the rear of my PC. It didn’t add much to the cooling versus being off but replacing my cheaper case fan made a huge noise difference.
I have another recent Scythe
I have another recent Scythe heatsink with basically the same fan (the Scythe Kotetsu, with a 120 mm Glidestream PWM fan with the same rpm range, just without the switch), and let me tell you, there is a big difference in noise between ~800 rpm and ~1500 rpm for the fan, even closed in a case. Also a very noticeable one between ~800 rpm and ~1150 rpm. Even the ~800 rpm speed would be audible in my build at idle when things are quiet around the house; fortunately, the PWM control can keep it around 500 rpm then.
I will be installing this
I will be installing this cooler in my system soon. To be ready for the summer, I have an air conditioner but will not be on all the time during the summer. We will see how the Ninja 4 performs.