Scythe Zipang 139MM CPU Cooler Review

Sagittaria - 2008-03-20 13:15:10 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: May 8, 2008
Price: $54.99


Let's face it, no one likes blazing hot temperatures in any sensitive component from a bad cooling setup. It can cause instability, poor overclocks, artifacts, shorter component life, and unneeded stress upon the user. Then, factor in the noise that a poor cooling setup generates, and that just spells out disaster for enthusiasts. Obviously, cooling is extremely important for a multitude of reasons - and the selection reflects that. A decent liquid cooling setup is often too expensive and complicated, leaving us with high end air coolers, which are found all over the place nowadays. But, of course, newer and superior products are released, replacing older, more inefficient designs.

So today, I'll be taking a look at Scythe's brand new Zipang. This thing has a monstrous wingspan and a massive 139mm fan - wow! The Zipang is touted to be quad-core ready and compatible with all the latest sockets. This includes AMD's 754/939/AM2 and Intel's 478/775 sockets. I'm pretty interested in the Zipang.  Many of Scythe's latest offerings have been gaining ground in the enthusiast world for performing extremely well, and at pretty good prices. So, let's see how the Zipang fares.


Closer Look:

To be honest, I chuckled when I first took a look at the Zipang box. In addition to the heatsink having a rather odd name, the box is splattered with loud, non-English characters that quite frankly made me wonder if I just received some sort of counterfeit rip-off. I hope the build and performance of the Zipang doesn't uphold my first impression.



I opened the lid of the box and found extremely efficient packaging. The heatsink sits in a cradle on the right - with all the miscellaneous parts in a small box on the left. In this box, I poured three socket clips, screws, an instruction pamphlet, and an interesting glob of thermal paste.


Closer Look:

Fortunately, the heat sink blew away most of my doubts about the product. The Zipang is shockingly well built and extremely solid. It feels like serious quality, not at all flimsy like many others in this price range. Again, the shear size of the fan speaks for itself, attached resolutely with fan clips. I ran my hand across the the six heatpipes, which connect to the main cooling fins, in not only one section, but two sections, distributed on the bottom and throughout the center (UPHC as dubbed by Scythe). In addition, the Zipang includes a thick sub-heatsink, attached to the main cooling plate directly. This reminds me of the famed, but obsolete Thermal Right XP-120, except on some serious steroids.









I peeled the protective plastic layer off of the CPU plate and found a mirror finish - heavy nickel plating by the looks of it. Nice, as the plating coats the contact area very evenly, offering better heat transfer and temperatures. Not as good as a lapped base, in my opinion. Again, Take a look at the massive wingspan and excellent build quality.



So I've seen the product. It has wacky packaging, but revealed an excellent looking product underneath. So, do I have a winner?


Model Name:
CPU Cooler Model Number:
Scythe Co., Ltd. Japan
Overall Dimensions:
145 x 148 x 112 mm
Fan Dimensions:
139 x 139 x 25 mm
1000 rpm (±10%)
Air Flow:
51.82 CFM
Noise Level:
21.00 dBA




Here's where the real fun begins. I'll be using two other heatsinks in conjunction with the the Zipang as comparisons. One of which will be the stock heatsink included with the Core 2 Duo E6600 and the Tuniq Tower 120 - regarded as one the best heatsinks available. I'll test both stock speeds and heavily overclocked speeds on my trusty E6600 to see how they fare under heavy stress, at idle and at load for about ten minutes. I'll be using Orthos 2004 .41 (Small FFTs test) to test the maximum load on both cores. I'll be reading the temperatures with Core Temp .91. And lastly, I'll be using Arctic Silver 5 as the standard thermal paste.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Heatsinks










This particular case is fairly restrictive in terms of case cooling. As a result, the ambient temperature and all the other readings are fairly high in addition to my monster overclock, stressing the heatsinks all the more. I was pretty surprised! The Zipang did extremely well considering it's compact size in comparison to the gargantuan, loud Tuniq! The Zipang spun at around 1000RPM the whole time, so the fan moved a whole lot of air, at near silent noise levels. Wow! Note the stock heatsink was not tested at overclocked because the temps were getting beyond safe levels.


When I first looked at the Zipang in its packaging, I was somewhat leery. However, as soon as I took a look at the unit the situation became clear. The Zipang is rock solid in construction, with superb design and materials! It has a huge, slow moving fan, to move lots of air at low noise levels, and a nickel plated base. It really does not, at first glance, seem like a $55 heatsink at all. Surprisingly, it earns its keep.

The Zipang's performance reflected its stocky build. It is very short and compact in comparison to the massive Tuniq Tower 120, giving it a run for its money. Furthermore, it does this almost dead silently! With the large wingspan, the Zipang provides not only silent cooling for the CPU, but for the motherboard components around the CPU socket area as well. The memory and chipset heatsinks gain the additional cooling based on the sheer surface area it covers. All in all, the Scythe Zipang is an excellent choice for those who want great performance at amazingly quiet noise levels in a compact package.