A Low-Cost Air Cooler for Intel and AMD

We check out the latest small footprint cooler from Scythe

Scythe’s Katana 5 is a low-cost CPU air cooler that retails for less than $30, offers compatibility with Intel and AMD processors, and has a small footprint that won’t interfere with memory modules. Can this ultra-compact tower design and single 92mm fan cope with our test platform’s toasty Core i7-7700K? Let’s find out!

"The 5th generation of KATANA cooler, it has asymmetric design offering unlimited compatibility. Upgraded with E.C.M.S II mounting system and new Kaze Flex 92mm fan ensure simple installation and good thermal performance."

Katana 5 Specifications:

  • Model Number: SCKTN-5000
  • Compatibility:
    • Intel: LGA 775, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366
    • AMD: Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+
  • Dimensions: 105 x 104 x 135 mm / 4.13 x 4.09 x 5.31 inches
  • Overall Weight: 560 g / 19.75 oz (including fan)
  • Material of Base Plate: Nickel-plated copper 38 x 38 mm
  • Fan Specifications
    • Dimensions: 92 x 92 x 26 mm / 3.62 x 3.62 x 1.02 inch
    • Air Flow: 11.46 – 83.04 m³/h = 6.75 – 48.878 CFM
    • Fan Speed: 300 – 2,300 rpm (regulated via PWM)
    • Static Pressure: 7.35~22.46 Pa / 0.75~2.29 mmH2O

Pricing: $28.45 USD list (returns to stock in USA this month)

The Katana5 arrives packaged neatly with just a few items in the box, with the heatsink pre-mounted with the Intel mounting solution.

This Intel mount is the plastic clip style, and while not my favorite this is a light enough cooler for it to work just fine here. For AMD processors an optional bracket is included, and there’s also some thermal paste to complete the package.

And now a look around the cooler itself:

Since this will be installed on an Intel CPU for this review installation was a simple matter: spread thermal paste, clip cooler in place and ensure the clips are locked down. That’s it. As to ease of installation that was a little harder than stock Intel coolers that use clips like these, and I attribute this to the added pressure this design exerts against the CPU, which should actually help with cooling.

With the cooler in place it was time for some quick temperature and noise testing.

While only compared against the larger Ninja 5 here for reference, the Katana 5 offers good thermals for its size, though at full load this will come at the expense of some added noise as the 92 mm fan approaches its full 2300 RPM speed (granted, I did measure this on an open test bench and it will be far less noticable inside an enclosure). A more conservative fan profile would produce much lower noise as this fan ramped up considerably towards the end under the sustained load used for benchmarking, with normal CPU loads barely audible in my testing.

Overall the Katana 5 is a solid option that won't break the bank at less than $30, and its small footprint and 135 mm height make this a highly compatible option as well.

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from Scythe for the purpose of this review.
What happens to product after review: The product remains the property of Scythe but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
Company involvement: Scythe had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Scythe for this review.
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