Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Review 21

Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Review


Value and Conclusion

  • The Scythe Big Shuriken 3 can be found at retail for $44.99/€52.85.
  • Good performance for a low-profile cooler
  • Whisper quiet
  • Easy to install
  • Good build quality
  • No RGB will appeal to some
  • Thermal throttled in OC FPU test
  • Lack of RGB for the gamer crowd
  • Possible expansion slot clearance issue on some motherboards
The Scythe Big Shuriken 3 is an interesting low-profile top-flow air cooler for Micro ATX, ITX, and other SFF systems. When it comes to performance and noise levels, it is honestly quite the amazing piece of kit. It tends to perform on par with some traditional tower coolers with the CPU at stock and even holds up fairly well in the OC tests, at least until the FPU only test where its small size means it cannot keep up and the CPU thermal throttles. Now, it is possible performance could be improved with a louder, thicker fan, but that has its own pros and cons.

First off, the Scythe's Kaze Flex 120 mm slim fan is whisper quiet, hitting just 42 dBA at its maximum RPM, with the thinner profile keeping the cooler's maximum height at 69 mm. Using a thicker fan would result in a noisier cooler, negating its low profile and stellar low-noise profile. Thus, Scythe traded maximum possible performance for better compatibility with SFF chassis and lower noise output. Now, considering the cooler already rivals the CM Hyper 212X and easily beats the SilverStone Argon AR11, CRYORIG C7 and C7 Cu, they were not wrong to do so. If a user has space and the need, they can undoubtedly opt for a different fan; however, out of the box, the Big Shuriken 3 is already exceptionally well balanced in regards to general performance.

Build quality was also quite good with no bent fins or issues to report; meanwhile, the installation was a cake walk. The only downside to the design of the cooler is that it may not play well with some motherboards. While I had no clearance issues to speak of on the test system, the cooler does encroach on the area that would be the first expansion slot in a chassis. For most ATX builds, this isn't an issue. However, on ITX or Micro-ATX motherboards, it could result in some potentially close calls. While likely be a fringe issue, it's still worth mentioning. It's never a bad thing to double check component compatibility.

Other than that, there is the age-old debate of whether you prefer RGB or no RGB. When it comes to Scythe's Big Shuriken 3, it has no RGB lighting, and at this point, I am just fine with that. Not every product needs to have RGB illumination, and while it is a nice feature I do enjoy, seeing something without it is a nice change of pace and will likely increase the Big Shuriken 3's appeal for some consumers.

In summation, the Scythe Big Shuriken 3 is a whisper-quiet, low-profile cooler that not only takes care of the CPU, but other components around the socket, making it a good choice for compact systems, and I have no issue recommending it.
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