Three Down-Draft Heat Sinks: The Last Of A Dying Breed?

Scythe SCKC-2100: Cooling Performance And Noise

Scythe's SCKC-2100 is big and heavy. It weighs in at 620 grams, which is a lot for a down-draft cooler. The heat sink is split into two parts, with 36 aluminum fins each. Space between the two sections is supposed to allow some air to pass through, cooling the board and surrounding components. The cooler’s base and four 6 mm heat pipes are made of copper. Those alternating crisscrossed heat pipes give the Scythe SCKC-2100 an exotic, muscular appearance.

It's not all about good looks, either. A maximum fan speed of only 1380 RPM is low compared to Enermax's ETD-T60-VD, which beats the Scythe unit by almost one degree at idle and under full load. The tables turn when the coolers are compared using slower-spinning fans, though. At 1000 RPM, the Scythe SCKC-2100 beats Enermax's ETD-T60-VD by achieving a CPU temperature just 28.7 degrees Celsius above ambient. This is a competitive result, even in the high-end tower cooler space.

Not only is the Scythe SCKC-2100 good at cooling, but it also does its job quietly. At a fan speed of 1000 RPM, it produces 31.7 dB(A), which is noticeable, but only barely so in a closed case. The maximum fan speed of 1380 RPM takes noise output to 39.2 dB(A). This is still on the quiet side, though, especially compared to Enermax's ETD-T60-VD, which produces 6.5 dB(A) more at maximum fan speed. This difference is very apparent.

  • boulbox
    My h100 is horrible compared to this :(
  • JohnnyLucky
    WOW! Sound levels are way above advertised levels.
  • killerclick
    Scythe coolers are the best overall, but 1000+ RPM is just too high.
  • Darkerson
    I used to have a Thermaltake Dualorb, and it was really nice because both fans would also blow over the ram and and chipset heatsink. I am currently using a 2500k running at 5GHz with a CM Hyper 212+, and my ambient on the cores is around 28-30, and peak is on average about 67-68c. At any rate, interesting article.
  • luciferano
    JohnnyLuckyWOW! Sound levels are way above advertised levels.
    Don't forget to account for ambient noise, which is already often higher than the rated loudness of many coolers.
  • with the enermax and noctua both @ $68 the scythe is a steal @ $40 on amazon.
  • antemon
    coolermaster didn't send in their vortex (which is what i have)
  • merikafyeah
    It has been my life-long dream to pair a Cooler Master GeminII S524:
    with the greatest 140mm desktop PC fan in existence, the Sanyo Denki 9LB1412M501:
    Specs: 140x140 51mm 138CFM 2000rpm 39dBA 12V 0.5A
    Essentially the most perfect balance of airflow to noise I have ever seen.

    I can only imagine how well this fan can cool not only the CPU but virtually the entire upper half of the motherboard as well. Alas, my dream will remain a dream since although I know where to buy the fan, the min. order quantity is 10, pushing the total price to at least $500; way out of my reach.

    But speaking of which, Tom's, why not compare motherboard voltage regulator and RAM module temps with these top-down coolers vs tower coolers? Myself and many overclockers will be extremely interested in these temps.
  • doive1231
    You could just get an Ivy Bridge CPU and sleep tight.
  • rantoc
    Top->Down coolers are my favourite choice for building normal non-oc rigs since they cool so much more than just the cpu, as for overclocking "real water" cooling with extra spot on fan for the voltage regulators + ram is my favourite. Seem some forget that with water/air tower designs the MB don't get much often needed airflow around the upper part of the MB.