Bling, bright LED lights, unique fin designs, exotic metal plating and loud, high CFM fans. What do all these things have in common? They are common features that attract the masses into buying a certain cooler over another, purely based on looks alone. Every once in a while a manufacturer takes a step back and tries to improve on a more basic design and add a few extra features that aren't found on most CPU coolers on the market; taking the concept of a simple fin shape, basic use of common metals and from what I see on the internet, from previous users, really quiet fans as well. The company in question of taking this exact approach is Scythe.
Scythe is a young company that was started in 2002 in Japan. Back then they introduced the Scythe Kamakazi CPU cooler. This cooler made such a splash in Japans markets that Scythe shortly was in demand in the U.S. as well. In 2004 they brought their company to our side of the pond to meet this demand. Scythe has built quite a following from those who use their fans for various applications from use on radiators, to case fans, to replacing stock fans on other manufacturer's coolers. This following is based on Scythe fans having good airflow and a low noise level while doing so.
Today I have the pleasure of taking a look at the Mugen 2 CPU cooler from Scythe. Never personally purchasing any of Scythe's products previous to this review, I am sort of in the dark for firsthand knowledge of what their reputation is based on. What I have read in forums and seen in screenshots will be tested to our standards. Then we can see what all this "hype" is surrounding the Mugen 2 and hopefully shed some light for you and myself along the way.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Scythe Mugen 2 is a 47 fin tower cooler that surrounds five heatpipes. The body of the fins is broken up into five virtually independent towers that contain both ends of each pipe. Working your way down the 985g (with fan included) Mugen 2 leads you to the base of the heatpipes and they surround another heatsink that aides in removing the immediate heat away from the base by utilizing the flow of the case fans. This smaller heatsink and heatpipes all are attached to a nickel plated copper base.
The fan the Scythe has sent with the Mugen 2 has some options as to the mounting on the cooler itself. Scythe has incorporated this 74.25 CFM, very quiet fan, to be able to mount to any side of the cooler that best suits the case environment. If you would like to run dual fans in a push pull configuration, another fan would have to be purchased and make sure they include the wire fan mounting hardware, as the Mugen 2 only comes prepared to install one fan.
Availability of the Scythe Mugen 2 SMCG-2000 is high and it can be found at most of the predominant e-tailers. I see no issues with out of stock listings now either, so getting the Mugen 2 to your door should not be a tough thing to accomplish. Even Scythe themselves show a listed price to buy from them, so if all else fails, buy it direct!
Newegg does in fact list the Mugen 2 and at a reasonable price. At this point in time I see it listed for 36.99 U.S. Dollars at Newegg with free shipping. Being well below the $50 mark of most coolers, the Mugen 2 is priced in direct competition to say, most of the Xigmatek S-1283 line-up, which are all in the $36 - 39 price range. I always see the Xigmatek as the best bang for the buck CPU cooler; it's getting close to the time where I test the Mugen 2 out and see if I have a new cooler to recommend.
Scythe decides to place the Mugen 2 above an image of the earth from space. At the top of this panel they place their four key features that I will describe a bit more in detail later. At the bottom is a multi-lingual description of what the Mugen 2 is. Something to note is the "10% Improved", over the previous version.
Turning the Mugen 2 to the right shows these four features with accompanying images to help explain as you read the text. No need to strain your eyes, though, I will explain these a bit more as they come up throughout the review.
On the back, Scythe explains the warranty terms in Japanese to the left and English to the right. At the very bottom, they do include a small list of web addresses for both the site itself, as well as support.
Lastly, on the left side, Scythe includes five images of all of their mounting abilities in use on the appropriate socket motherboards. Under that is an image of all of the included hardware. At the bottom of these three sections Scythe uses what's left to display the specifications in six languages.
Pulling the Mugen 2 out of the box shows that Scythe has taken good precautions to protecting the design of the cooler. There is cardboard inserts between the fin groupings, as well as a piece on top that is punched out to surround the caps on the heatpipes to aide in keeping things square during shipping. Slid in the box alongside the cooler, the fan is shipped and both the Mugen 2 and the 120mm fan sit on top of the "goodie box".
The Scythe Mugen 2 CPU Cooler
You now can easily see what I meant about "virtually" five separate coolers; one surrounding each chrome capped, copper heatpipe. The reason I say virtually is that if you look closely, you can see the bottom fin and about sixteen fins from there, there are solid fins to keep the five fin arrays structurally sound.
Moving further down, to get a closer look at what's going on under the 47 fin tower. You can see that Scythe's heatpipes surround a pre-cooler. The addition of this aluminum cooler to the top of the base can utilize case airflow to aide in the overall efficiency of the cooler. The copper heatpipes are mounted between this aluminum cooler and a nickel plated copper base.
Turning the Mugen 2 to the right gives yet another way the airflow can be directed through this cooler. Scythe has incorporated fan mounting options on both this side as well as the previous side.
The top of the Mugen 2 has ten chrome plated, hex head caps for each end of the five heatpipes; these match nicely against the aluminum fins. Notice each of the corners of the fins are double notched. This allows for coolers to be placed on any side of this cooler in any configuration you see fit for your specific case.
Doing most of the work is the base of the Mugen 2. Testing this base against a razor showed me that it is in fact very flat. The slight fine markings you see in the image are not as noticeable to the naked eye, it appears more mirror like under normal examination.
Here we have the 120mm fan mounted to the long side of the Mugen 2. You can see the fan does a nice job of covering the fin area, leaving room at both the top and the bottom. I did find during testing that having the fan a bit lower seemed to help temperatures, as some of the fan was blowing more at the pre-cooler in the base.
Another angle of the fan mounted to the long side to give you an idea of what it will look like installed in your machine.
As I mentioned, with the corners being double notched, the fan or fans can be placed on the short side as well. The fan now more than covers the fin area it needs to blow into, but has a longer path in this configuration. This is due to the M.A.P.S, or Multiple Airflow Pass-through Structure, simply meaning that the Mugen 2 is designed to work just as well in both airflow directions.
Once again, I am showing the fan mounted on the short side, again for perspective of how it would look in your case.
Accessories and Documentation
Here we have the F.M.S.B., or Flip Mount Super Back-plate, in the centre, and all the appropriate mounting brackets for each of the eight socket types the Mugen 2 can be used with. The F.M.S.B. is painted black and covered in thick, high density foam to isolate it from and shorts off the back of the motherboard as well. The brackets are all countersunk and threaded on the mounting ends as all the mounting is done through the back of the motherboard.
Also included in the "goodie box" is another bag with hardware included. This bag contains four metal spacers, four nylon washers, Scythe's own TIM, and twelve Phillips head screws for various parts of the installation. At this point you're probably thinking, what's with the Torx wrench? Well, Scythe includes this for the LGA1366 applications as it requires the latching mechanism to be removed, which requires this wrench.
As you can see, the direction for mounting the Mugen 2 to the various sockets is relatively easy to do. This side shows all but one mounting solution; the LGA1366 gets the majority of the flip side and the instructions for mounting the fan to the cooler if you are unfamiliar with using the wire type fan mounts.
Everything is very simple to follow; the only issue is the fact that you have to remove the motherboard for the Mugen 2 installation. This tends to be a trend that I see a lot of cooler manufacturers doing. I just wish the case manufacturers would get on the ball and punch a hole behind the CPU in the case as a standard feature. I t would make mounting these types of coolers so much simpler.
TweakTown uses a different method for testing CPU heatsinks which allows for an even playing field across all product tests. We feel that by using the same ambient temperature and strict lab-like testing procedures we are able to accurately compare one product to another. More information on our testing procedure can be found in the T.E.C.C. article here.
As you can see by the temperatures, Scythe makes a great showing in the charts. With a max temperature of 57.2 Celsius the Mugen 2 can play ball with most of the top end coolers, give or take a couple degrees; this depending on your choice of fan arrangement, whether one or two and the amount of airflow your case provides. Either way you slice it, the Scythe Mugen 2 is more than capable of handling the job it is built to do.
Temperatures with coolers are based on a lot of things and one major thing is high CFM fans. Scythe sends a 74 CFM fan that is really good at cooling as well as keeping the noise at bay. In this testing the fan was at a maximum of 51 dB during the load testing, which is a win win in my book. Not only can it cool, but it doesn't sound like a vacuum cleaner trying to accomplish it.
The Scythe Mugen 2 is a robust cooler that may have clearance issues in smaller cases and has potential for the fan to align over tall RAM heat spreaders. But with this cooler the only one that really matters is the case size allowing it. Scythes innovative design that allows fans to be placed on any of the four sides, two of the sides, or even all four sides if necessary, makes the Mugen 2 less restrictive as to where the fan can be applied out of the way. I personally would have liked to test the performance in a push pull configuration, but I did not have a matching fan or mounting hardware for the second fan.
In the beginning I said this cooler may have the potential to go into my listing of recommended coolers, case willing, for me to advise overclockers to purchase. With an asking price of 36.99 U.S. Dollars at Newegg with free shipping, the price point gets a thumbs up from me. Considering the overall performance, the Mugen 2 is more than capable of handling a relatively high overclock with just one of the supplied fans and at a virtually inaudible sound level while achieving this, getting another thumbs up.
Sitting here now looking at the Mugen 2, trying to pick it apart, I'm finding that I just can't seem to come up with anything to complain about. Just be sure your case is large enough to allow the Mugen 2 some breathing room. With a really great price, and above average performance, I'm gonna go ahead and recommend that you look at the Mugen 2. Most of the coolers I have tested in the past were a whole lot louder to accomplish what the Scythe Mugen 2 was able to do today with very little noise, which is a huge plus.
If you need a good bang for your buck CPU cooler and would like it to be near silent while doing so, go and look at the Scythe Mugen 2, as it has many things other coolers just don't offer, especially at this price point.
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