If there is one corner of the marketplace that does not get enough attention it is small form-factor builds. In this niche, but extremely active and useful, corner of the market every single cubic inch is important. Here size really does matter… but instead of ‘go big or go home’ being the guiding philosophy it is ‘efficiency’. That is why the latest addition to the Scythe Big Shuriken series caught our attention like few air coolers have in recent memory. The all new Big Shuriken 3 not only promises to offer better than expected levels of performance, but with an online asking price of about $40 it also promises to bring value to this overlooked corner of the market.
On the surface saying “XYZ is overlooked” seems counter-intuitive as there are plenty of options out there already. Noctua has their $50 NH-L12S, everyone and their dog has a $70+, Asetek based 120mm AIO option, even Intel and AMD include a stock ‘low profile’ cooling solution for free. What all these options lack though is overall value and come with a wide assortment of drawbacks. Drawbacks such as cost, installation issues (having to find a free 120mm bay that can accommodate a 120mm fan and a rad can be difficult), even less than stellar whole system cooling.
This is where the Big Shuriken 3 comes into the equation. Firstly, with an asking price of $40 or so (the MSRP is actually 45 but can be found for less if you look) the price is low enough to easily be justified. Thanks to an all new asymmetrical cooling tower layout it also will have fewer installation issues than the typical 120mm fan based cooling solution. As it is a ‘downdraft’ style CPU cooling solution it also can keep the motherboard VRM, and other essential components from baking in their own juices – a common problem with 120mm AIOs in shoe-box builds. Better still, it can still offer as good and arguably even better CPU temperatures as it does have an impressively upgraded cooling array, can take any 120mm fan and comes with a pretty darn good stock fan. A fan that is both powerful (in CFM and Static pressure), and rather low noise (something always at the front of shoe-box builders.
Yes, the Scythe Big Shuriken 3 appears to be tailormade for buyers/builders craving a value orientated solution that does not stint on performance. So is the Scythe Big Shuriken 3 a great, yet puzzlingly overlooked, solution… or is it a solution that also has its share of problems. This is precisely what we intend to find out.