Scythe Katana 4 CPU Cooler Review

Add Your Comments

Scythe is a well known name in the PC cooling world; offering a complete line of CPU coolers, case fans, fan controllers, and a host of other accessories. Today we will be looking at the latest addition to their Katana line of CPU coolers, the Katana 4. This cooler is the fourth iteration of the Katana series, boasting a compact size as well as a completely redesigned heatsink and fin structure from its predecessors. With a price tag of just over $30, the Katana 4 is aimed squarely at those looking for an inexpensive way to improve CPU temperatures over the stock cooling options.

Specifications and Features

Here are the features and specifications as provided by Scythe:

Specifications
Model Name Katana 4
Model Number SCKTN-4000
Intel Compatibility Socket LGA2011
Socket T / LGA775
Socket LGA1155
Socket LGA1156
Socket LGA1366
AMD Compatibility Socket 754
Socket 939
Socket AM2
Socket AM2+
Socket AM3
Socket AM3+
Socket FM1
Socket 940
Dimensions 100 x 102.5 x 143 mm
3.94 x 4.04 x 5.63 in
Weight 480 g / 16.93 oz (including fan)
Accessories 2x Metal Assembly Clip (Intel)
2x Metal Assembly Clip (AMD / 2011)
2x 2011 Retention Brackets
4x Retention Bracket Screws
Thermal Grease
Installation Guide
Base Plate Material Nickel-plated copper
Fan Dimension 92 x 92 x 25 mm
3.62 x 3.62 x 0.98 inch
Fan Noise Level 7.2 – 31.07 dBA
Fan Air Flow 12 – 95 m³/h = 6.7 – 55.55 CFM
Fan Speed 300 – 2,500 rpm (regulated via PWM)
Static Pressure 7.35~22.46 Pa / 0.75~2.29 mmH2O

Features

Improved Performance
Higher cooling performance is one of the characteristics of 4th generation Katana CPU cooler. The combination of 3 heatpipes, large fins and a PWM-controlled Slip Stream 92 mm fan ensures high-scale heat dissipation. A slightly angled fin structure, allows the airstream to hit the surface directly. Overall surface of the heatsink has been increased.

Compatibility
As it is common practice for all Scythe products, Katana 4 provides maximum compatibility. All current sockets are supported. Furthermore, a new generation one-touch clip system is launched with Katana 4 excelling in user friendliness and durability.

New Look
To be released in a completely new design, Katana 4 provides a new, modern look. The fan is situated right-angled to the motherboard and fins are tilted downward. Heatsink and Heatpipes are completely redesigned. Optical enhancements go hand in hand with practical improvements. Better cooling performance is one of them.

Compact Design
The bias of the new design originates in one simple question. How to build a new, modern looking Katana-style CPU cooler, without sacrificing the compact dimensions of its predecessor. Katana 4 transports this idea into reality. The measurements are very similar to Katana 3, allowing, as before, the use in limited space environments.

Packaging and Accessories

The Katana 4 comes in a box with a global feel to it, and does a good job explaining the features and specifications in a host of languages.

Box Front

Box Front

Box Rear

Box Top

Box Right Side

Box Right Side

Box Left Side

Box Left Side

Box Rear

Box Rear

Once the box is opened you will find the Katana 4 well protected in its surroundings, by use of foam blocks.

Initial Box Opening

Initial Box Opening

Cooler and Accessory Box

Cooler and Accessory Box

Inside the box of accessories you will find a very detailed instruction sheet, thermal paste, the AMD mounting brackets, and mounting hardware for Intel platforms. You will notice by looking at the pictures below, there is a push-pin installation design applied to the Intel mounting brackets (socket 775, 1155, 1156, 1366). The push-pin design is identical to what you find on the stock Intel coolers, and while not the most popular of mounting designs, it certainly makes the installation process quick. To facilitate installation on the Intel socket 2011, the needed bolts and brackets are provided, along with a wrench to tighten the bolts.

Something worth noting for you AMD CPU users out there, the Katana 4 can only be installed in a vertical configuration. This means you will have to have the fan either blowing air towards the top of the case, or downward towards the video card. Obviously, the preferred method here would be to have it blowing air upwards towards the top of the case, and hopefully your case has a fan in the top deck you can use to exhaust the hot air.

Instruction Sheet

Instruction Sheet

Instruction Sheet

Instruction Sheet

AMD Mounting Brackets

AMD Mounting Brackets

Intel Style Push-Pin Brackets

Intel Style Push-Pin Brackets

Intel Socket 2011 Hardware

Intel Socket 2011 Hardware

Closer Look

Below are pictures showing the Katana 4 from several different angles. If you look closely at the side view, you will notice the aluminum fins are angled slightly downward. Scythe claims this “Aero Tuning Fin Structure” design results in better “air-to-fin” contact, and thus better cooling performance.

The single 92 mm fan included with the Katana 4 has a RPM range of 300 to 2500, and can be controlled by the PWM fan function in the motherboard’s BIOS. The holes needed for attaching a second fan (think push/pull) are there, but unfortunately a second set of fan retaining clips are not.

Fan Side

Fan Side

Right Side

Right Side

Left Side

Left Side

Rear Side

Rear Side

Top View

Top View

As we move our way to the nickle plated base of the Katana 4, we find an extremely flat and highly polished surface area. The Katana 4 utilizes three heatpipes which are routed through the base plate and up each side, at which point they are attached to the 42 aluminum fins.

Base With Protective Film

Base With Protective Film

Highly Polished Base Plate

Highly Polished Base Plate

Nice and Flat Surface

Nice and Flat Surface

Installation

Regardless of the platform you install the Katana 4 on, you begin with the four bracket mounting screws. These four screws are used to attach all the different brackets to the heatsink base. Because I will be installing the cooler on a P67 motherboard, I used the four screws to attach the brackets that match my platform. Attaching the brackets is quick and easy using a Phillips screw driver.

Bracket Mounting Screws

Bracket Mounting Screws

Push-Pin Bracket Installed

Push-Pin Bracket Installed

Push-Pin Bracket Installed

Second Push-Pin Bracket Installed

If you have ever installed a stock Intel CPU cooler, you will be quickly reminded why you dislike them. The installation of the Katana 4 on platforms that require the push-pin brackets can be a bit clumsy. This is mostly due to each end of the mounting bracket being slotted, which allows the push-pins to be aligned with the holes in the motherboard. The problem is there is no way to secure the push-pins in a position that matches your motherboard’s hole pattern, and they tend to move around as you try to position the cooler over your CPU. Luckily, if you are using the AMD or Intel’s socket 2011, no push-pin is involved with those installations.

Once the push-pins are seated, it’s good practice to inspect the back of the motherboard to make sure the pins are completely locked. I used memory modules that have tall heat spreaders on them, and while the fit is tight, the cooler did clear the heat spreaders. If all goes well, you should have something that looks like the pictures below.

Installed Push-Pin

Another Installed Push-Pin

Wider View, Two Installed Push-Pins

Wider View, Two Installed Push-Pins

Back Side of Push-Pin Properly Seated

Back Side of Push-Pin Properly Seated

Fan Clearing Memory's Tall Heat Spreaders

Fan Clearing Memory’s Tall Heat Spreaders

Cooler Installed Overview

Cooler Installed Overview

Cooler Installed Side View

Cooler Installed Side View

Testing

The following components were used for testing:

I tested the Scythe Katana 4 at idle and load, using the stock speed and voltage. Then I overclocked the CPU to 4.5 Ghz @ 1.3v, and retrieved those idle and load temperatures. Fan speed was set to 100% to obtain the best results possible, doing this will allow us to see if there is any headroom to operate the fan at lower speeds. All testing was done in a room at 72° F, and I chose Arctic Silver Ceramique as the thermal interface material. LinX stress test was run for 10 passes and the highest temperature of all cores was recorded. I let the system sit idle for 30 minutes and again recorded the highest temperature reading from all cores. This same method was used on all comparison coolers as well.

Here are the results of the stock CPU speed/voltage test:

Stock Idle/Load Test Results

Stock Idle/Load Test Results

As you can see in the above chart, the Katana 4 falls well short of some higher end cooling options, but does manage a substantially better result than the Intel stock cooler. Considering the Katana 4 sells for less than a third the price of some of the comparison coolers, not a bad showing at all.

Next, I ramped up the CPU speed and voltage to 4.5 GHz and 1.3v, and here are those results:

Chart

Overclocked Test Results

The Katana 4 managed to keep the CPU at 80 °c, which is about as high as you want to take a i7 2600K. As you can see, there is a fair amount of head room to overclock with the Katana 4.

Conclusion

The Scythe Katana 4 is good looking, well-built, and offers an affordable alternative to a stock CPU cooler. Currently Newegg has the Katana 4 listed for $32.99, well below what you will pay for top of the line air cooling solutions. While the performance level of the Katana 4 is not up to par with higher end air coolers or all-in-one LCSs, the price isn’t either. When you consider the price vs. performance aspect, the Katana 4 is a good value. I like the fact you can do a reasonable amount of overclocking, and keep temperatures at an acceptable level, without having to spend twice or three times what this cooler costs.

The Intel style push-pins are not my favorite way of attaching a CPU cooler, but in all honesty they seem to do an adequate job. As mentioned earlier, if you use and AMD CPU or an Intel socket 2011, a better way of attaching the cooler is incorporated for those applications. About the only other thing I would like to see is perhaps including an additional set of fan clips for a second fan, thus allowing the user the option of a push/pull configuration.

Let’s face it, you don’t always need the best performing CPU cooler available for every system build. This is exactly the situation you would want to look at something like the Katana 4. Good performance at a great price is what you get here, and the reason I give it the Overclocker’s Approved rating.

Click the stamp for an explanation of what it means

– Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discussion
  1. Scythe, Cooler Master, and Xigmatek make good performance per dollar coolers. If you want to get the best cooling with a larger budget around $60-100, then I'd go with Thermalright, Noctua, and Prolimatech for air or Corsair and Antec for the self-contained liquid units. Thermaltake coolers usually don't stack up to the coolers from companies that specialize in cooling, but they do have a few decent units like the Frio. It seems Thermaltake has trouble balancing performance with MSRP with their coolers sometimes which makes people shy away from them.
    HiPNOWS
    Brother if you dont have space and the money is the problem ok.. My personally opinion I just buy the most known brands..


    The whole point of what I was saying this whole time, is that the heatsink in the review is targeted toward people without space or much extra cash.

    The product does exactly what it is supposed to, for who it is supposed to. That is all.
    Tt is known for nice looking and dubiously performing CPU coolers these days :P

    The Frio line is their first that works for beans since the BigTyphoon.

    The Frios (other than the Extreme) have a mounting system that will kill capacitors on certain motherboards, too. Been there, crushed that. It's an issue!

    Also the Scythe piece does not at all resemble anything in the Frio series, other than the fact that it's a tower cooler. Something The Frio series very much did not invent.

    Personally I prefer more cooling power to looks or brand name. This scythe piece looks quite attractive, especially in that it can be used in much smaller spaces.

    Lastly, an excellent review as always!
    HiPNOWS
    Bro it really depends of what u want.. ok by example if u wanna buy a high rendiment cooler and you have space buy the better.. this is my opinion.. if you dont have space you need try to find another way.. but thermaltake ownz :)


    This isn't made for someone that has space for a 120mm cooler.

    Its made for someone who has a smaller computer and wants good, cheap cooling that will fit.
    Bro it really depends of what u want.. ok by example if u wanna buy a high rendiment cooler and you have space buy the better.. this is my opinion.. if you dont have space you need try to find another way.. but thermaltake ownz :)
    HiPNOWS
    Look the TT Frio have better performance in all situation.. the TT Frio OcK Raise 13% of the performance.. try look about TT Frio ock snow editon, TT Frio Advanced and TT Frio Extreme.. :)


    The Thermaltake Frio is a 120mm heatsink/fan combination. The Katana 4 is a 92mm heatsink/fan combination.



    You're comparing apples to oranges....


    A 120mm heatsink simply has more area for cooling than a 92mm heatsink.

    Also, the Frio costs $55-$90 depending on which one you look at. The Katana 4 is $35!

    Side note: I love my Xigmatek Loki 92mm cooler.
    Look the TT Frio have better performance in all situation.. the TT Frio OcK Raise 13% of the performance.. try look about TT Frio ock snow editon, TT Frio Advanced and TT Frio Extreme.. :)
    I look it bro, but you know in what codition them do this test.. because if you make the test in a country with 15° temp.. is not the same what in a country with 35 or 40° temp..

    Look the Aluminum heatsink needs be more massive for make better performance.. in this are not so masive and just have one fan.. For this I dont belive in this specs..
    EarthDog
    I would love to see this go head to head with a Hyper 212+ or Evo as they are in the same pricing bracket(ish)..


    xander89
    lol i was literally just thinking this while i read the review and i saw you beat me too it :P. the hyper212+ evo is the interesting one for it to be compared with.

    all in all a good review though


    I was also thinking this while reading, heh. I also own the 212 evo :)