Does Scythe’s mid-priced, dual-fan, dual-tower CPU cooler have the performance to make it a better value?
Scythe, which opened its doors in 2002, has been producing high-end CPU coolers longer than some of us have been building PCs. The company was a premium brand before other premium brands began charging an even higher price premium, and its Fuma SCFM-1000 is barely more than half the price of several similarly-designed competitors.
Launched last year, the Fuma SCFM uses the traditional pairing of a copper base and heat pipes to aluminum fins, deviating slightly from the norm in the polishing of its top fins and the dimpling of its center fins. It fits the rectangular mounting pattern of traditional AMD motherboards (pre-Ryzen), in addition to all of Intel’s square ILM LGA’s. Oh, and the dimples make air vortices that should remove heat more efficiently.
The copper base appears to be slightly convex, and is plated (along with the heat pipes) in a protective metal that is likely nickel (though the color is closer to chrome). Like the top fins, the bottom fins also use a special design that obscures the dimpling of the center fins.
While most installations require the use of an included support plate, which must be placed behind the motherboard and attached from the top using standoffs and insulating washers, LGA 2011 (v3) users can instead install a special set of standoffs that screw into the motherboard’s integrated socket support. Two cross brackets are then installed, top and bottom for front-to back (or back-to-front) flow, and these brackets must be rotated 180° to fit legacy AMD motherboards. One of the two cross brackets is installed in the photo below.
After removing the protective sticker from the base and applying thermal compound, a third cross-bracket pinches that base of the Fuma SCFM-1000 tightly against the top of the CPU. The screws that join these brackets are threaded only around half-way to prevent over-tightening, yet the installation guide still warns against over-tightening.
There are two challenges builders must face: the heat sink has only 1.3” of clearance between the bottom fins and any surrounding components; and the fans are held on by clips that stick out the front. While additional memory clearance can be achieved by moving the front fan up the heat sink, installing the center fan requires the builder to wiggle the top wire clips past protruding fins of the forward sink while using the clips’ thumb holds to maneuver it past the rear sink.
Test System Components
We continue using our 2015 Reference PC minus its open test bed (and obviously, the reference cooler) to test the Fuma SCFM-1000 in a closed system. The Core i7-5930K is overclocked to a fixed 4.2GHz core frequency at 1.20V core voltage.
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