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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Continuing our CPU cooler review series, this time we tested Mugen-2 from Scythe. It is a huge cooler, with five individual tower heatsinks, each one connected to the base by one U-shape copper heatpipe, with a 120 mm fan blowing air on them.

By the way, Mugen stands for "infinity" in Japanese.

The Mugen-2’s box is big, but the impressive thing is the fact that when we open it, we notice the cooler is pratically the same size of the box, because there are no thick foam paddles that are used by some other coolers.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 1: Box.

Inside the box we found the cooler, the fan (not installed), user manual, installation hardware and a small bag of gray thermal compound.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 2: Box contents.

In Figure 3 we show the general look of Mugen-2. Let’s see more details in next pages.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 3: Scythe Mugen-2.

[nextpage title=”Scythe Mugen-2″]

In a front view we notice the five practically independent heatsink design (they are united by some fins in order to give firmness to the piece). Scythe call this system M.A.P.S. (Multiple Airflow Pass-Through Structure).

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 4: Front view.

Viewed from the side we can see that the cooler is very thick, with a big total fin area. Over the base you can see a small auxiliary heatsink.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 5: Side view.

In Figure 6 we have a top view of the cooler, and we have a better idea of this monster’s size. There are mettalic nut-shaped caps in heatpipes tips, with aesthetics function only.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 6: Top view.

[nextpage title=”Scythe Mugen-2 (cont´d)”]

The 120 mm fan that accompanies Mugen-2 does not come installed. It is a simple black plastic model, without LEDs, but with PWM speed control as you can see in Figure 7. It must be attached to the heatsink using two wire clips.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 7: Fan.

In Figure 8, you can see Mugen-2 with the fan installed. An amazing detail is the fact you can install it on any of the four cooler faces. Actually, you can install up to four fans at the same time, but the clips to hold more than one fan does not come with the product and must be purchased separately.
Scythe Mugen-2Figure 8: Fan installed.

The cooler base is nickel-plated copper and its finishing is perfectly mirrored.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 9: Base.

[nextpage title=”Installation”]

In Figure 10 we can see the hardware that comes with Mugen-2. The rubber-covered backplate that must be installed on the solder side of the motherboard is the same for any supported socket, but the mounting clips are different. The clips pair on the left is for use on the (obsolete) socket 478. Second one is for AMD CPUs (sockets AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754). The pair on the right is intended for use with Intel processors (sockets 775 and 1366). Socket LGA1156 is not supported by this cooler.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 10: Installation hardware.

In Figure 11, you can see the cooler base with the sockets 775 and 1366 clips installed.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 11: With socket LGA775 clips.

In order to install the cooler you must remove the motherboard from the case, unless it has a window on the motheboard tray to offer access to the solder side of the motherboard. After that, installation is easy, you must only put the screws on the backplate and fasten them to the cooler clips.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 12: Installed on the motherboard.

Figure 13 gives you an idea of Mugen-2’s size inside the case. It is so big that we could not install our memory modules on the two first sockets of the motherboard, and we lose dual channel feature. But, with shorter memory modules, this installation could be possible. Another solution is to install the fan in another position, moving the face closer to the video card, for example.

Scythe Mugen-2Figure 13: Installed into the case.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

We are adopting the following methodology for our CPU cooler reviews.

First, we chose the CPU with the highest TDP (Thermal Design Power) we had available, a Core 2 Extreme QX6850, which has a 130 W TDP. The choice for a CPU with a high TDP is obvious. To measure the efficiency of the tested cooler, we need a processor that gets very hot. This CPU works by default at 3.0 GHz, but we overclocked it to 3.33 GHz, in order to heat it as much as possible.

We took noise and temperature measurements with the CPU idle and under full load. In order to achi
eve 100% CPU load on the four processing cores we ran Prime95 with the "In-place Large FFTs" option, and three instances of the StressCPU program, all at the same time.

We also compared the reviewed cooler to the Intel stock cooler (with copper base), which comes with the processor we used, and also with some other coolers we have tested using the same methodology.

Temperature measurements were taken with a digital thermometer, with the sensor touching the base of the cooler, and also with the core temperature reading (given by the CPU thermal sensor) from the from the SpeedFan program, using an arithmetic average of the four core temperature readings.

The sound pressure level (SPL) was measured with a digital noise meter, with its sensor placed 4" (10 cm) from the fan. We turned off the video board cooler so it wouldn’t interfere with the results, but this measurement is only for comparative purposes, because a precise SPL measurement needs to be made inside an acoustically insulated room with no other noise sources, which is not the case here.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows XP Professional installed on FAT32 partition
  • Service Pack 3
  • Intel Inf driver version: 8.3.1.1009
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 182.08

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 2 °C error margin, i.e., temperature differences below 2 °C are considered irrelevant.

[nextpage title=”Our Tests”]

On the tables below you can see our results. We ran the same tests with the Intel stock cooler, Thermaltake BigTyp 14Pro, Akasa Nero, Cooler Master V10, Thermaltake TMG IA1, Zalman CNPS10X Extreme, Thermaltake ISGC-100, Noctua NH-U12P, Noctua NH-C12P, Thermaltake ISGC-200, Scythe Kabuto, Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro, Thermaltake ISGC-300, SilverStone NT06-E, Zalman CNPS9700 NT and Scythe Mugen-2. Each test ran with the CPU idle and the with the CPU fully loaded. On BigTyp 14Pro, TMG IA1, NH-U12P and ISGC-300 the tests were done with the fan at full speed and at minimum speed. The other coolers were connected directly to the motherboard and it controls the fan speed based on CPU load level and temperature on PWM models.

CPU Idle

Cooler Room Temp. Noise Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 44 dBA 1000 rpm 31 °C 42 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 29 °C 36 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 26 °C 34 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 41 dBA 500 rpm 26 °C 35 °
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 26 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 22 °C 30 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 21 °C 30 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 44 dBA 1200 rpm 21 °C 29 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-100 18 °C 44 dBA 1450 rpm 35 °C 49 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low speed) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 20 °C 30 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 20 °C 28 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 23 °C 28 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 43 dBA 1100 rpm 31 °C 35 °C
Schythe Kabuto 22 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 29 °C 34 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 43 dBA 1500 rpm 32 °C 39 °C
ISGC-300 (min. speed) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 26 °C 30 °C
ISGC-300 (max. speed) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 24 °C 26 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 30 °C 41 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 48 dBA 1700 rpm 28 °C 35 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 41 dBA 700 rpm 25 °C 30 °C

CPU Fully Loaded

Cooler Room Temp.

Noise

Fan Speed Base Temp. Core Temp.
Intel stock 14 °C 48 dBA 1740 rpm 42 °C 100 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (min. speed) 17 °C 47 dBA 880 rpm 43 °C 77 °C
BigTyp 14Pro (max. speed) 17 °C 59 dBA 1500 rpm 35 °C 70 °C
Akasa Nero 18 °C 48 dBA 1500 rpm 34 °C 68 °C
Cooler Master V10 14 °C 54 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 52 °C
TMG IA1 (max. speed) 16 °C 47 dBA 1500 rpm 27 °C 63 °C
TMG IA1 (min. speed) 16 °C 57 dBA 2250 rpm 25 °C 60 °C
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme 16 °C 51 dBA 1900 rpm 24 °C 50 °C
Thermaltake ISG-100 18 °C 50 dBA 1800 rpm 58 °C 93 °C
Noctua NH-U12P (low speed) 15 °C 42 dBA 1000 rpm 28 °C 59 °C
Noctua NH-U12P 15 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 25 °C 54 °C
Noctua NH-C12P 17 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 37 °C 76 °C
Thermaltake ISGC-200 21 °C 48 dBA 1900 rpm 42 °C 68 °C
Scythe Kabuto 22 °C 47 dBA 1200 rpm 38 °C 63 °C
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Pro 20 °C 51 dBA 2300 rpm 49 °C 85 °C
ISGC-300 (min. speed) 18 °C 42 dBA 800 rpm 36 °C 64 °C
ISGC-300 (max. speed) 18 °C 46 dBA 1400 rpm 31 °C 56 °C
SilverStone NT06-E 21 °C 66 dBA 2600 rpm 39 °C 96 °C
Zalman CNPS9700 NT 22 °C 56 dBA 2600 rpm 34 °C 63 °C
Scythe Mugen-2 17 °C 46 dBA 1300 rpm 28 °C 54 °C

On the graph below you can see the temperature difference between the cooler base and the room temperature with the CPU idle and fully loaded.  The values shown are in degrees Celsius. Remember that the lower the number the better the cooling performance.

Scythe Mugen-2

The next graph will give you an idea on how many degrees Celsius the CPU core was hotter than room temperature during the tests.

Scythe Mugen-2

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Scythe Mugen-2 main features are:

  • Application: Socket LGA1366, 775, 478, AM3, AM2+, AM2, 939 and 754 processors.
  • Fins: Aluminum.
  • Base: Copper.
  • Heat-pipes: Five copper heat-pipes.
  • Fan: 120 mm.
  • Nominal fan speed: 324 to 1,200 rpm.
  • Fan air flow: 74.25 cfm.
  • Maximum power consumption: 2.16 W.
  • Nominal noise level: 26.5 dBA.
  • Weight: 1.91 lbs (870 g).
  • More information: https://www.scythe-usa.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 37.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Scythe Mugen-2 is a huge, nicely crafted cooler. As soon as we saw it, we imagine it would perform well. Actually, that performance was more than good, it was excellent. It cools our CPU as good as the best coolers we tested with this methodology.

Besides that, it is virtually the most quiet cooler we put our hands. With the CPU idle, we could not hear it, and we believe the noise level we measured came from the hard disk and from the room itself, not from the cooler fan. Even with the CPU under full load, its noise level was low, practically inaudible even with an open case.

It has only two relative flaws: first, we could not use the first two memory sockets, because the modules we use have very tall heatsinks. Second flaw is aesthetics: casemodders may preffer a fancyer cooler, with nice design, LEDs and colorful fans.

Even if it was an expensive cooler, it should be a good option for the user looking for a silent cooler with good preformance. But the best of all is the fact it is a relatively inexpensive cooler. So, Scythe Mugen-2 deserves the Hardware Secrets Golden Award seal.