Many readers have asked for a review of the Scythe Infinity and we recently received the latest version of the famous Infinity heatpipe tower. The Infinity certainly qualifies as something of a legend, but legends have not always performed as expected in our cooling tests at AnandTech. Does the Infinity live up to the performance goalpost set by the Tuniq Tower 120, or like all the others tested so far, does it fall somewhat short? Our goal is to find an answer to this question.

Some early versions of the Infinity were praised for their cooling ability, but criticized for high noise by enthusiasts who value noise reduction above all else. This most recent version of the Infinity proclaims that it includes a "silent" 120mm fan. In our benchmarking, we will definitely examine the low-noise fan claim, but there is always the concern that a lower-noise fan may not cool as well as the highest CFM - and higher noise - fans. The Scythe fan is 120mm, which is large enough both to move a lot of air, and to do so at slow enough RPM to keep noise low.

Another addition to the newest Infinity is support for the AMD Socket AM2. Many kits like the Infinity, which were introduced before the launch of AM2, have not been updated to support the revised AM2 socket. Fortunately the Scythe Infinity is now one of the top-of-the-line coolers that fully supports AM2 - good news for AMD enthusiasts.

We have talked about universal mounting systems in the past, but Scythe comes through where many others have fallen short on that claim. Scythe includes adapters for any CPU you can currently buy.


Another feature of the Infinity is the ability to mount a 120mm fan on any of the 4 sides of the cooler. Some enthusiasts have found new ways to use this feature, by running two fan cross feed, two fan push-pull or even four fan configurations with dual push-pull. Frankly the Infinity is very large and heavy to start with and an Infinity with four fans would be daunting in both size and weight - and it actually would not fit in our case. However, the potential of a push-pull cooling arrangement intrigued us.

Scythe USA was also kind enough to send the latest Ninja Revision B, and the new revision of Ninja will be highlighted in an upcoming review. That gave us the advantage of a second Scythe cooler with the same silent fan. With two fans in hand we couldn't resist testing a dual-fan push-pull configuration, which would fit in the mid-tower case. The main interest was whether the two fans - one pushing air and one pulling air - would make any difference at all in the cooling abilities of the Infinity. The results are very interesting.

With this review of the Scythe Infinity, we are on the downslope of our tests of current high-end air coolers (Ed: with 50 plus inches of February snow where I live I couldn't resist the skiing metaphor). We have the Thermalright Ultra 120 in for review, and we will also be testing the Scythe Ninja Rev. B. Noctua, an Austrian manufacturer of cooling solutions, has also sent us the Noctua NH-U12F which will be reviewed in the near future. We will also take a closer look at the OCZ Vindicator, which is the recently introduced heatpipe tower from OCZ. Once these reviews are complete, plus any late additions to the air cooling Olympics, it will be time to select the best air cooler available.

Scythe Infinity
POST A COMMENT

39 Comments

View All Comments

  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    The famous thermal compound review is at http://www.dansdata.com/goop.htm">http://www.dansdata.com/goop.htm. While it is written tongue-in-cheek the test methods are well conceived and there is a terrific discussion of what is significant and what is trivial in testing computer components. After I read the review a while ago I tested every thermal compound I had spent big bucks on and got very similar results.

    I will concede that the more fluid compounds do work a little better when you have tiny contact areas as in the older Socket A AMD - at least initially. But with heatspreaders on all the CPUs these days the thermal grease used makes very little difference as long as it holds up, isn't particualrly conductive, and doesn't dry out. Applying it properly can make a big difference in performance, however.

    Those not from Oz may recall the Men At Work song "Down Under" that makes reference to a "vegemite sandwich". Now you'll understand Vegemite is that brown vegatable spread about the texture of mayonnaise that is uniquely popular in Austalia.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    While I'll generally agree with you, there is at least one TIM that is positively insane that may outperform the usual gunk, and that's Coollaboratory's Liquid Pro (their Metal Pads don't seem to work as well). That stuff will literally dissolve aluminum and otherwise make a terrible mess. It's mostly gallium, indium, and tin I'm told. Strange stuff.

    Others swear by Shin-Etsu X23-7783D as being clearly superior to AS5 and AS Ceramique. I've only seen one benchmark featuring the X23, but it even beat the crazy Liquid Pro in that benchmark.

    Really, it would be more interesting to see benchmarks of the TIMs themselves than anything else. Your current TIM strategy in your heatsink tests is fine by me.
    Reply
  • BigLan - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    I think the toothpaste and vegemite article is on dansdata. (Dan used to do HSF reviews back in the Socket A days and had literally dozens of them all compared.) While toothpaste might work for testing, it does dry out very quickly and so would need to be replaced after a short period of time (probably days.) You could use it in a pinch, but I wouldn't want to try for 3117 overclocks with it! Reply
  • Binkt - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    "We have the Thermalright 120 in for review, and we will also be testing the Scythe Ninja Rev. B. Noctua, an Austrian manufacturer of cooling solutions"

    Could you be specific on the model of thermalright 120 that you have in for upcoming tests? I assume that you mean the Ultra-120, since it is the current heavy-hitter from my personal favorite manufacturer.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!

    PS. Any hope for a look at virtualization performance of current CPU's and platforms? hint: Asrock 775Dual-VSTA vs. more expensive i965 boards vs. AMD VT-enabled platforms ?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    The cooler is the Thermalright Ultra 120. Reply
  • lopri - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    It's got to be Ultra-120. I'd personally rate Tuniq 120, Scythe Infinity, and Ultra-120 as top 3 air coolers today. BTW, what does this article have to do with virtualization??

    To Wesley: Thanks for the article. And I totally agree with your assessment on Infinity's mounting mechanism. It flexes motherboard and makes me uncomfortable to have it in my tower. Also it might not block DIMM slots on the tested motherboard, but I had some difficulties on other boards. (especially if I wanted to make use of any RAM cooling)

    quote:

    However, it is also clear than the current stock Infinity is not quite as good as the original models in reaching very high overclocks.

    Did Infinity go through revisions? If so, what are the differences from original model and the current one?
    Reply
  • thestain - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    Making comparisons based upon 38 dba is not a real test of quietness, try to get your rig a little quieter, maybe shoot for 33-34 so we can see these products spread themselves out more. Have you made any effort to test your test rig to see if the Power supply is making too much racket, in qhixh case replace it with a comparable performing Corsair or Seasonic, and can you turn down the fan slightly on your graphics card??



    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    With all computers, monitors, printers, lamps, etc. turned off in our testing romm the ambient noise is 36.4db. Reaching 33 to 34db as a base is therefore not likely. The OCZ 520 is one of the quietest power supplies we have tested. We have also tested with a small basic video card just to see if noise can be lowered further. The result was we had reached the floor of the PS. We also have to unplug the nVidia northbridge fan during noise measurements because it is much louder than the PS, video card fan or most coolers that we have tested.

    There is a place for fanless power supplies, fanless video cards, and coolers that are silent, but for the great bulk of readers we really see little point in testing below the noise floor of the power supply.

    We could do like some other sites and isolate the test board in a sound chamber away from the power supply, but I seriously doubt this is how our readers run their silent PCs. We definitely hear what you are saying, but our noise testing is looking at real-world noise levels. There are other sites that specialize in silence at levels you would more likely find in a noise testing lab.
    Reply
  • cujo - Monday, February 26, 2007 - link

    you're forgetting a very popular cooler. i'd love to see the results of that vs. these other coolers.

    i would also suggest looking at motherboard/chipset temperatures as most of these tower coolers do nothing for those.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - link

    I'm sure they'll get around to it eventually . . . that or the Big Typhoon VX.

    The article is well-done though, and I'm very glad that you did the dual-fan setup guys. If you look at other tests of the Infinity with dual fans, you'll find that using anything faster than 1200rpm in a push-pull config is really unnecessary. Once you have the second fan going you're getting the best you can get out of the Infinity.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now