I’ve had my ThermalTake Element Q Llano ITX build on the back burner for a while owing to the need to find a low profile CPU cooler that would fit under the SFX power supply. Mini-ITX cases with the PSU directly over the CPU are quite common, but as most are designed to be used with Atom and Brazos motherboards, CPU heatsink fit is usually not an issue. However, for those select few who feel the need to cram a full size gaming rig into a mini-ITX enclosure, we need a better solution.
Enter the Scythe Kozuti low profile cooler. At a mere 40mm in height, it easily fit under the SFX power supply. The trade-off for the low height is the lateral area of the cooler itself. It measures a whopping 110mm by 103mm. Huge, especially considering the motherboard is only 170mm by 170mm. The Kozuti eats up a good portion of the available real estate. It even required the removal of the heat spreaders from the inside memory module to allow room for the tips of the heat pipes that protrude from the edge of the cooler.
Instead of a full review (many good ones are already available), I thought I’d offer some tips for those of you who want to install this cooler in your mini-ITX rig. There are several things you should watch out for:
Right tools for the right job!
I can’t stress this enough. This heatsink requires some assembly and attaches directly to the motherboard with screws. The most common complaint about this cooler is that the screws will easily strip the soft metal. A conventional screwdriver allows too much torque to be applied which can worsen the problem. If you don’t have a set of jeweller’s precision screw drivers, go and get one. I got my set of six at Wal-Mart for $0.98. They’re perfect for this job (and most other computer tasks) and the miniature design makes it almost impossible to put enough torque to over tighten and strip the screws.
Don’t force the issue!
Two of the four screws that hold the mounting brackets onto the heat sink jammed about halfway into the holes. Don’t force them. Back off half-a-turn or so and try again gently. Eventually the screw will get past the obstruction and turn securely into place. Use a gentle touch and you wont have to worry about stripping screws.
Remember, you’re going to have to dismantle your system!
Unless your case allows you access to the back side of the motherboard (not likely with ITX) you’re going to need to remove your motherboard to install the Kozuti. You can’t just pop it in place of your old cooler. You need to actually remove the clips on the motherboard that hold a standard cooler in place and the Kozuti will attach with screws through the open holes. Its more complicated than just clipping it in, but it does offer a very secure mount once installed.
Don’t forget the rubber washers!
Assemble these first. Scythe has included two sets of four rubber washers that need to be placed onto the main mounting screws before you attach the heatsink. Save yourself a bit of hassle and get these four screws ready to go. Chances are your going to need one hand to hold the heatsink in place and another to operate the screw driver. You won’t have a free hand to put the washer on the screw should you forget to do it first.
There you have it folks. A few handy tips to help you get your new Scythe Kozuti installed with a minimum of frustration.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about this cooler or any other mini-ITX suitable coolers, head on over to the ITX Gamer forums to share your comments with our community.