Eight Low-Profile CPU Coolers For Your Compact PC, Reviewed

Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Revision B

Is the name “Big Shuriken” a contradiction? While the word may refer to a small bladed weapon, anything smaller than Scythe’s low-profile cooler might have been more-appropriately named Shaken. Then again, the Shuriken is larger than the stock Intel LGA 1150 cooler.

The Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B is even large enough to hold a 120 mm fan above its ultra-thin cooling fins, relying on five double-sided heat pipes to support high thermal loads, purportedly including those of LGA 2011 processors. The installation kit even includes custom screws to utilize LGA 2011’s integral mounting bracket, in addition to Intel’s other consumer-oriented interfaces and the rectangular screw pattern of AMD’s recent mounting brackets.

Scythe puts anti-corrosion nickel plating on its semi-polished copper base, but leaves its copper pipes au naturel.

Threaded collars screw into the Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B’s mounting brackets to allow installation from behind the motherboard on any compatible socket except LGA 2011. Those installations instead require that bolts be secured using a wrench from the side.

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  • LePhuronn
    Zalman CNPS2X conspicuous by its absence - 28mm tall cooler that claims to be able to shift 120W?
  • Sayken
  • tiu_sergiu
    There must be 2 winners
    Nocturna NH-L12 is best quality (Don't forgot about 6 ears of warranty)
    and Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet Smart Buy
  • Haravikk
    I'm a bit surprised by the Noctua offering, as they do have a much smaller only (37mm tall) but then I expect they wanted to use as much space as possible to ensure a good score.

    Also the NH-L12 I believe is compatible with Noctua's NF-A15 which is a 150mm PWM fan with 120mm mounting holes. In my perfect small form factor case I'd swap one of those as the top fan and just use a 150mm side vent as the only exhaust for the case, with other vents as intakes over the major components, or maybe leave off the top fan in favour of fitting an 200mm fan if space allows. That being for a high performance small case anyway, anything more modest I'd probably just go for the 37mm option.

    Another favourite option is Prolimatech's Samuel 17 cool (45mm) plus one of their 140mm x 15mm Ultra Sleek Vortex fans for a total height of ~60mm, which still tops out under 2.5"