Scythe Big Shuriken fan replacement

10 August 2021
After almost nine years of basically constant up-time the CPU fan in my main desktop system had become worn out and would stick rather than spin, and while not critical for the loads I usually put on the system it was something that needed sorting out sooner rather than later. The cooler is a Scythe “Big Shuriken” which I first came across while building custom video servers as part of my work back in 2011 or so and being impressed with the hardware built a system for myself to the same specs. The fan itself is an SY1212SL12H-P (below left) which I think has been discontinued since replacement units were going for circa £65 so I instead opted for the KF1215FD18-P (below right) which I guessed would be compatible.

Old & new fan

Replacement fan

I was looking for a 12-volt 12cm fan that used a 4-pin connector, which I found out meant the fan should be a PWM (Pulse-Width Modulated) variable-speed unit, and decided the best bet was to go for one of the same brand as the old fan. At 17mm it was quite a bit taller than the alleged 12mm of the old fan, but once I actually got it I did not see much difference when they were placed side-by-side as in the picture below.

Fan heights

I guessed the difference was down to the rubber spacers the new fan had in the corners, but these were removed as they would likley get in the way of the retaining spring clip. With them gone the fans were for practical purposes identical apart froma slightly lower maximum RPM.

Rubber spacer


Then fan is held on by a spring clip that can be a little tricky to deal with at first. It hooks onto the bottom edge of the cooler and is removed by pulling it down a bit and then to the side, and is replaced by doing this in reverse. The two pictures below show the spring clip in the latched and unlatched positions.

Clip unlatched Clip secured


I only later found out that the fan I got was the one that the updated Big Shuriken 3, which has replaced the spring clip with screws. Given that my particular case has easy access from the sides but not the top a clip is better in my instance, but screws are certainly at least easier to work out. I used a Noctua CPU cooler when I built myself a workstation for work purposes two months ago, but that system has several other fans so it is hard to judge how it compares to the Scythe.