Scythe Minebea Cooling Fans Page: 1
Introduction

Scythe are a name synonymous with aftermarket cooling enhancement products. I would like to wager that there aren't too many PC enthusiasts who hadn't at least seen, owned or heard about this well known Japanese based company's products. But who are Scythe, and what do they do?

Scythe Co., Ltd. (Registered & incorporated in Tokyo Japan) originally started in Akihabara Electric Town located in Tokyo Japan, where visitors can find the latest electric products from computer parts and accessories to the world’s most advanced cellular phones with video camera capabilities, small displays and the ability to play movies!

Scythe Co., Ltd., began its operation and business in November, 2002 as a distributor and manufacture of PC parts & gaming devices for “DIY PC Experts!”. Scythe’s first venture was to manufacture a super powerful YET super quiet CPU cooler (Scythe Kamakaze CPU cooler), and with the great success of this Kamakaze CPU cooler, Scythe became recognized as the leading CPU cooler supplier in Japan’s Akihabara Electric Town. Shortly there after, due to popular demand, Scythe began exporting products all over the world.

I was fortunate enough to have been asked by Scythe to review some of their products on Overclock3d.net , and I must say I eagerly jumped at the chance. This review is the 2nd of an two part series. The first being the Scythe Kama Thermo review.

Scythe Minebea bundle Scythe Mini-Kaze

Today's OC3D Labs review participants are Scythe's Minebea range, and the cute Mini-Kaze. The Minebea range are high quality & precision 12/9/8cm case fan from NMB - Minebea Matsushita Corporation . These case fans are equipped with Silent IC, which is specifically designed for use with this cooling fan range. The Scythe Mini-Kaze is a silent 4cm fan for further enhancing your silent PC . It would make an ideal replacement fan for chipsets, external HDD case cooling fans, and removable case cooling fans. So without futher ado, let's get a little better acquainted with our review subjects.

Specifications

The Scythe Minebea range of cooling fans come in 120, 92 and 80mm configurations. The Mini-Kaze comes only as a 40mm fan, both the Minebea and Mini-Kaze' specifications have been included below:

Scythe Minebea

Dimensions (mm)
Model #
Fan Speed
Fan
Noise
Air
Flow
CFM /
dBA
Bearing
(MTBF)
120
x
120
x
25
4710KL-04W-B19-VB2
1,100rpm
18.0dBA
41.3CFM
2.29
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(180,000hours)
4710KL-04W-B19-V54
1,600rpm
27.0dBA
63.6CFM
2.35
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(180,000hours)
4710KL-04W-B29-V52
1,900rpm
31.0dBA
75.9CFM
2.45
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(180,000hours)
92
x
92
x
25
3610KL-04W-B19-FB1
1,400rpm
18.0dBA
24.7CFM
1.37
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(140,000hours)
3610KL-04W-B29-F51
2,100rpm
29.5dBA
33.6CFM
1.13
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(140,000hours)
3610KL-04W-B39-F59
2,450rpm
34.0dBA
40.6CFM
1.19
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(140,000hours)
80
x
80
x
25
3110KL-04W-B19-EB1
1,400rpm
17.0dBA
16.2CFM
0.95
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(160,000hours)
3110KL-04W-B19-E51
2,150rpm
22.0dBA
24.7CFM
1.12
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(160,000hours)
3110KL-04W-B39-E51
2,700rpm
28.0dBA
31.8CFM
1.14
NMB 2Ball Bearing
(160,000hours)

Rated Voltage: DC12V
Connector: 3-pin (4-pin adaptor included)
Cable Length: 30cm
Bearing Type: 2 Ball Bearing with Special Designed IC Inside

Scythe Mini-Kaze

Model Name: Mini Kaze 4cm Silent Fan
Model Number: SY124010L

Dimensions: 40x40x10mm
Fan Speed: 3500rpm(±10%)
Fan Noise: 14.00dBA
Airflow: 4.11CFM
Rated Voltage: 12V
Rated Current: 0.06A
Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
MTBF: 30,000 hours

Connector:
2-pin (3-pin adaptor included)

Now that we've seen the specifications of the review specimens, let's delve a little deeper.

Scythe Minebea Cooling Fans Page: 2
Packaging and Contents

The Scythe Minebea and Mini-Kaze Cooling fan packaging is fairly standard as far as Scythe are concerned. The packaging is eye catching and provides specifications and content, albeit on crowded real-estate. All the fans come packaged in a fairly thick plastic envelope, with the fans and included accessories kept nice and firmly held within an cardboard insert. The cardboard insert and plastic exterior should prove extremely hardy and prevent any real damage to the fan caused by knocks and bumps in transit.

Scythe Minebea Cooling fans

Scythe Minebea bundle

Scythe Minebea 120mm Scythe Minebea 120mm rear

Due to the information being identical on the rear of the fan packaging, I have taken the liberty of just providing front shots.

Scythe Minebea 92mm Scythe Minebea 80mm

Scythe Mini-Kaze

Scythe Mini-Kaze Scythe Mini-Kaze side panel

Scythe Mini-Kaze rear

All of the fans, including the Mini-Kaze come supplied with 4 fan screws and a 3 to 4-pin molex connector. You'll notice from the image below that the fan cable itself isn't sleeved, which is a pity, as it makes the fans look finished. Perhaps this is something that Scythe could look at in the future, as it's nice to be able to install fans into a case straight away, instead of having to sleeve them. Especially, considering that other case fan manufacturers are doing it, and enthusiasts who will utilise these cooling fans will more than likely have a case window installed.

Scythe fan contents

Now that we've checked out the packaging, let's look at the fans in a little more detail.



Scythe Minebea Cooling Fans Page: 3
The Fans In Detail

Scythe Minebea Range

The first thing that you'll probably notice is that the Scythe Minebea range comes with the moniker - 'Equipped with Silent IC'. Well what is 'Silent IC, I hear you ask...?
According to the Scythe website, 'Silent IC' is:

These case fans come with special designed IC for PC usage and this successfully reduces the typical switching noise from a case fan.

So essentially, the inclusion of Silent IC's could be explained simply as Scythe using pulse-width-modulation (PWM) on their cooling fans when performing at low noise levels by eliminating the power-switching noise of the fan. If you would like to know more about PWM, fell free to take a read here.

Scythe Minebea fan range

Secondly, you'll notice from the previous images that I've included, Scythe have gone with an high/middle/low naming scheme for their 120/92 and 80mm fans respectively. This feature is certainly very handy to have when looking for fans to suit the application; performance and silence connoisseurs have been catered for.

Scythe front Scythe rear

Another particular area of interest is that Scythe/Minebea have opted for 2 ball bearings instead of a fluid filled bearing that some manufacturers are opting for more recently. It will be interesting to see in the performance part of the review, as to whether this could be detrimental to the products performance, as part of the Minebea range is targetted at the silent PC enthusiast.

Scythe/Noctua comparison Scythe/Noctua comparison

Scythe/Noctua 80mm comparison

I have taken the liberty to show some comparisons between the blade structure of the Scythe Minebea and the recently reviewed Noctua 120mm and 80mm cooling fans. Both of the fans I have included here as a comparison, are similarly matched in RPM. The first thing that stands out is that Scythe has opted for a 9 bladed fan, which should stand it in good stead for increased CFM. Secondly, you'll notice that the Scythe's fins are noticably more cupped than Noctua's version.

Scythe Mini-Kaze

Low noise could be considered the standard feature of this fan, along with the versatile 2-pin to 3-pin connector that ensures the fan can be put to a multitude of uses. Idea for replacing the default fan attached to chipset, external HDD case or graphics card, this mini fan may well be idea to repace the generally noisy 40mm fans in your system.

Scythe Mini-Kaze front Scythe Mini-Kaze rear

Unfortunately I don't have another 40mm fan here to illustrate any differences between the Scythe Mini-Kaze and another brand. But, it's pretty much a regular 40mm regardless.

Anyway let's head over the page to see how both the Minebea fans and Mini-Kaze shape up performance-wise.


Scythe Minebea Cooling Fans Page: 4
Testing Procedure

AquAus


For the testing phase of this review I have decided to try and remove as much user-bias and subjectivity from the equation as possible. For the silent PC enthusiasts, what I might consider silent, may not necessarily equate to something that they would be satisfied with utilising 24/7 in their home PC's... Alternatively, power-users may find the fan noise more than acceptable.

The Minebea fans will be allowed to run out of the case (to eliminate any extraneous noise emmanating from within the case), and a SoundMAX superbeam noise cancelling microphone will be placed approximately 30cm away from the fan to record the fan noise. Each of these sound snippets will be provided to allow each individual to make a informed and un-biased prospective purchasing decision. A Scythe Kama Meter fan controller will be used to provide voltage for the fans.

For the Scythe Mini-Kaze, I have chosen to test this on the recently reviewed Noctua NC-U6 passive chipset heatsink. The testing phase will be conducted from within the PC case, and the difference in temperature collated into graph format. As with all OC3D reviews 3 test runs will be completed, and an average taken. To simulate load temperatures, dual instances of Stanford's Folding @ Home client was used. The PC was allowed 30 minutes of idle time to allow temperatures to reach a reasonable operating temperature, and to ensure uniformity of results.

Not that it is important in a fan review, but I have taken the liberty of including my testing system specifications below:

Testbed

Intel e6600
ASUS P5B Deluxe wifi/app
ASUS EN8800GTS
Silverstone ST60F 600W PSU
2GB OCZ PC2-6400 Titanium
Creative X-Fi
2 x Seagate SATA II 7200.10 HDD (RAID 0)
CoolerMaster 830 Stacker enclosure
Custom watercooling

Project: AquAus

Please head over the page to see how each individual fan performed.

Scythe Minebea Cooling Fans Page: 5
Results

For all of the results I have included the audio files immediately below each of the fan sizes and labelled them according to Scythe's fan rating system, hopefully this will avoid any confusion as far as the results are concerned.

Scythe Minebea 120mm Series Fans

Minebea 120mm fans

High

Middle

Low

Scythe Minebea 92mm Fans

Scythe Minebea 92mm Fans

High

Middle

Low

Scythe Minebea 80mm Fans

Scythe Minebea 80mm fans

High

Middle

Low

Scythe Mini-Kaze

Scythe Mini-Kaze

In an ambient temperature of 29 degrees Celcius, the Mini-Kaze was able to reduce the temperature of my P5B Deluxe's 965 chipset to 35 deg C. Not a bad effort for a 40mm fan's attempt to cool down a surface area that a 60mm fan could cover more effectively.

Scythe Minebea Mini-Kaze performance

The Scythe Kama-Mini is barely audible at our stated recording distance of 30cm, and as such I haven't included a sound file for it. The Scythe Mini-Kaze is definitely recommended for those who can find a use for it. Providing additional cooling for passive heatsinks; replacing a worn out active fan on a chipset heatsink are all areas where the Mini-Kaze would excel... Especially for those in the pursuit of silence. Further, some HTPC cases may be able to utilise these fans for further cooling.

Now let's head over to the conclusion page to see how the Scythe Minebea fans and Scythe Mini-Kaze performed as a whole.


Scythe Minebea Cooling Fans Page: 6
Conclusion

Scythe Minebea

There's really a lot to like about both the Scythe Minebea range. Scythe obviously had a well thought out plan to provide a range of cooling fans; of which there are options available to the performance user, the silence connoisseur and those who fall into the middle ground.

The Minebea range are extremely well constructed, although not as quiet as other brands out there. I believe that Minebea's use of ball bearings in their fan range no doubt attributes to this fact, along with the inclusion of more fins and conventional blade design. But, there is no doubt that they do their job well and move some serious air, particularly the 120mm and 92mm fans.

I felt that Scythe could have perhaps included some cable sleeving on the Minebea range, as the end result just doesn't seem as polished as others out there. But, then again the inclusion of cable sleeving would have added further cost per unit and unfortunately would be passed onto us - the consumer.

All-in-all Scythe have to be commended on their Minebea range, it caters for all tastes and applications and as such I have awarded them the 'Recommended award' The Scythe Minebea 120mm, 92mm and 80mm fans can be purchased from the Scythe-US website for US$19.99, US$12.99 and US$9.99 respectively.

Pro's

+ Quality build
+ Exceptional MTBF for ball bearing fans
+ Caters for a variety of user tastes
+ Price

Cons

-
Not as silent as other brands
- Absence of cable sleeving (personal preference)

Recommended Award

Scythe Mini-Kaze

The Scythe Mini-Kaze is certainly a snappy little performer only really hindered by it's miniscule size and application. Unfortunately, the majority of case designs don't allow for the inclusion of 40mm fans for cooling, but I have seen a plethora of clever 'home made' cooling soutions (particularly VRM and MOSFET) that could utilise these fans.

Further, in an attempt to prolong the longevity of motherboards they could be used as a replacement fan on a chipset heatsink, or simply to provide an active cooling solution to heatpipe technology which motherboard manufacturers appear to be shipping most board with now. Whilst not exceptionall cheap the Scythe Mini-Kaze can be had for £5.95 (£7.00 inc VAT) from QuietPC.

Again Scythe has earned themselves a recommended award for the Scythe Mini-Kaze

Pro's

+
Silent cooling
+ Quality build
+ Excellent performance considering it's size.

Cons

- A little pricey

Recommended Award

OC3D would like to extend a warm thank you to Scythe-EU for providing the review samples.

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