Scythe Katana 3 CPU Cooler Review - Installation and Testing

 

Installation

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Scythe's Katana 3 might have been the easiest and most seamless HSF mounting I've ever used!  It took, literally 2 minutes to apply the Thermal Paste and have it mounted and ready to go!  We took the AMD mounting brackets and "snapped" them into the base of the Katana 3, and gently lowered it onto the CPU and the clips snapped perfectly into place without any need for guiding the clips over the motherboard mounting pieces.  Then, you simply flip the "switch" which tightens both sides down and locks the cooler into place! This pictures gives you a better idea of the size of the cooler, the only size constraint you might run into is that it's relatively tall, but doesn't get in the way of any other components. For our testing and comparison, we will be comparing Scythe's Katana 3 to the Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 Pro, and see how it does!

Testing Procedures

We will do everything we can to ensure an equivalent testing atmosphere.  We will use the same thermal paste (MX-2) with the same application method, ensure the same ambient temperature, same fan speeds, amongst other control factors to ensure a fair comparison between the coolers.

 

Idle Testing

For idle testing, we start the system, and allow it to stabilize at an idle state, and then we run the test for 10 minutes and then record the temperature using Core Temp.

AMD

Katana 3                                                                     Alpine 64 Pro

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Intel

Katana 3 Freezer7 Pro Rev.2

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Load Testing

For our load tests, we used Prime95 to stress the CPU to 100%, and let it run that way for one hour, and then use Core Temp to record the temperatures.

AMD X2 3800+

Katana 3                                                                         Alpine 64 Pro

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Intel Q6700

Katana 3                                                                      Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2

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Intel Q6700 w/25% Overclock

Idle                                                                       Load

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Results

Here, as you can see, the Katana 3 does a fair amount better than the Alpine 64 Pro at idle, with 2-3°C better performance on each of the cores!  The difference was a bit more pronounced when testing on a Q6700 versus a Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2, leaving about a 5°C Advantage in favor of the Katana 3

The Katana 3 does even better under load, giving a 5-6°C advantage over the Alpine 64 Pro, which is a very substantial amount!  Another note is that the Katana 3's fan is very quiet!  I couldn't hear it over the case fans, although it may have added a very small amount to the overall noise of the computer which was till to minuscule to notice. With our Q6700 tests against the Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2, this was basically a no-contest for the Katana 3 with a whopping 17°C advantage!  The Katana 3 even compared very closely to many of the much larger higher performance coolers we have tested, this little guy is impressively efficient for its size!

 

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