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Scythe Mugen 4 Tower CPU Cooler Review

Scythe Mugen 4 Tower CPU Cooler Review

Scythe gives the very successful Mugen Series another go with the release of the new Mugen 4 CPU cooler. Let's take a look at it.

@chad_sebring
Published Wed, Jun 5 2013 12:20 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 86%Manufacturer: Scythe

Introduction

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Somewhere back some six to six and a half years ago, the original Scythe Mugen was introduced with the SCINF-1000 name, denoting at the time it was based off an Infinity series design back then. What Scythe didn't know back then, was that taking this original concept that could hold fans on every side of the cooler was going to be such a success, enough even to make the Mugen a standalone series. Since the original release, there was the Mugen 2, Mugen 2 Rev. B, Mugen 3, and the Mugen 3 Rev. B as well. After five chances to get it right, Scythe decided to give the Mugen another go.

Along all of these incarnations of the Mugen, various things were tried. Five heat pipes, six heat pipes, a dog bone fin design, completely square, separated individual towers and even various bases. While the bases were two pieces surrounding soldered in copper heat pipes, Scythe toyed around with skived heat sinks on the top of the base, as well as some without. Another thing that has evolved is the hardware. While obvious changes have needed to be made to allow the cooler to fit on new sockets, things weren't just updated with new holes; there is a whole new way of mounting the Mugen with the latest release.

Today with the sixth go at the Mugen series of coolers, Scythe has delivered the Mugen 4 for testing. Not only has the hardware changed, but the styling, fin stacking, and the overall size is much more accommodating and will allow users access to most of the components near it, unlike some of the previous models. With as many releases of the Mugen, there is a lot of what people will expect to see, and the Mugen 4 does hark back to the designs of the earlier coolers; you can definitely see the Mugen in it right out of the box.

The thing is though, the latest version is something that is definitely a one off design as well, and while having some hints of the older coolers, just at a quick glance, you can see Scythe it trying a mix of a lot of new ideas with the Mugen 4, and I believe it will be well worth your time to continue on and see what the Scythe Mugen 4 has to offer in today's market.

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

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As much as I hunted, the only specifications chart I could find at Scythe's website was in Japanese. So I had to go ahead and make a chart that was somewhat readable. On that chart you can see that the Mugen 4 also goes by the name SCMG-4000, and this new version measures up at 130mm tall, 88mm wide, and stands 160mm from the IHS to the top of the caps covering the heat pipes. The entire mass of the 50 fin stack, copper base components and the six 6mm diameter heat pipes weight in at 625 grams without the fan. The base of this cooler keeps the heat pipes spread evenly across the CPU, but after they leave either side of it, three pipes are bent gently to go into a section of the fins, while three pipes are bent tightly to go into another section of the fins. This is evenly done on both sides and leaves you with four fin section containing three pipes each to spread out the heat load and allow it to dissipate more evenly into the aluminum fins so that the fan can easily remove it.

Speaking of the fan, you are sent the SY125HB125M-P, a 120mm by 25mm fan to strap onto the cooler with wire fan clips. With minimal voltage supplied, this fan will spin near 400 RPM, with a 5.3dBA sound rating, 0.12mmH2O of static pressure and 20.7CFM of air flow. Let me just say it is little more than a gentle breeze at idle. Pumping up the voltage to 12V will give you 1400RPM, 28dBA of noise, close to 80CFM of air flow and 1.56mmH2O of static pressure. With the fan added to the cooler, it will make the cooler now 113mm from left to right, and weighs in at just below one kilogram. As far as the socket compatibility goes, Scythe allows anything from 775 to 2011 on the Intel side, while on the AMD side, you can use this on anything AM2 or newer.

From what I can gather, since the end of April, the Mugen 4 is available overseas, more specifically in the Japanese market. As I look around I have yet to find a listing in either the US or EU markets, but the pricing was set with the news of its release in early April. It was then we were all told that the Mugen 4 would release at 4,980 Yen or roughly $50 US dollars.

It seems rather rare these days that anyone is offering air coolers with a price tag of near $50, and it is refreshing to see that Scythe didn't take this cooler to a higher level of pricing, and stays where they are comfortable, delivering a lot of cooler for a good price; something we can all appreciate.

Packaging

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Scythe packs the Mugen inside of a cardboard box that shows a nickel plated version of the cooler in the large image behind the Mugen 4 naming. Under the box denoting the 1150 readiness of this cooler, it shows a realistic look at the copper pipes with the size and amount shown.

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On the right of the packaging Scythe takes a moment to discuss the Hyper Precision Mounting System (H.P.M.S.), the Three-dimensional Multiple Pass-through Structure (T-M.A.P.S.), the included Glide Stream 120mm PWM fan, the fact you can mount dual fans to it, and the wide range of compatible sockets.

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On the back of the packaging there is a lot of information to take in. At the top it displays the company information and the support address. It then carries onto the two year warranty and what is covered under it. It also offers information explaining to read the manual, instances where there may be an issue with this cooler, and safety precautions to take with the Mugen 4.

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The last panel offers dimensional drawings of both the three dimensions of the cooler, but it also shows the fan measurements. At the bottom of this side you will also see a condensed, multilingual version of the specifications chart.

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At this point, all I have done was to open the top four flaps and remove a flap that allows the pipe caps to poke through, keeping the cooler centered in the box. Besides that, there is only a thin layer of foam to keep the fan from rubbing the cooler in shipping; the rest of the protection is up to the cardboard box. I will say this, even with so little inner packaging, the Mugen 4 arrived in good condition.

Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler

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Out of the box, the Mugen 4 starts at the top with the knurled caps covering the pipe tips just atop the layering of 50 fins. Looking between the four towers, you can see there is a mix of four off and four on to connect the sections together with the fins. You can also see the two directions the pipes are bent to allow for the staggering of the pipes through the cooler.

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This side shows just a slight crush of the fins at the top, but that can be adjusted later. What I want to show now is the pair of thin grooves near both the right and left edges that allows for a fan to be placed on either side of the Mugen 4.

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Looking at the width from a slight angle shows much better how the fins are sectioned off to form four sections with three sections of the six pipes running into each section to allow the fan and fins a much easier time of spreading and removing the heat from the CPU.

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When the side of the cooler is shown on a similar angle, you notice that the sides are virtually flat, and beside the grooves for the wire fan clips, there are a pair of V grooves cut into the sides of the fins for nothing more than aesthetics.

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When looking at the Mugen 4 from the top, there is no doubt now what I meant about the four sections of fins. Even though the center two are tied together much closer than the outer two, there is some very unique shaping going into the leading and trailing edges. Another thing I like is that there is no branding, so the cooler is right any way you install it.

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Flipping the Mugen 4 around, we are now looking at the six copper heat pipes. Once they leave the base some are gently bent to make the outer fins section, while the others have S bends and are set near the center. At this point all of the aluminum fins are then pressed onto the pipes.

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As the pipes meet at the base they are squeezed tightly next to each other, and get slightly flattened out with the two piece copper base, as they add pressure and are soldered into place to make one solid unit.

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Scythe does take some time to finely polish the copper base plate before it is nickel plated, offering the reflective quality you see in this image. The majority of this base is flat, but at the edges and the corners there is some deviation away from the IHS, but well outside of the contact area.

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Adding the 120mm fan was pretty easy, and looking at the both of them together, from the front, you can see the fan stands as tall as the caps and will also blow air under the fins. This way, not only do you get more clean air over the fins, you also get some blow by to cool motherboard components as well.

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With just the one fan on the Mugen 4, it definitely adds some thickness to the cooler, and from the looks of things, it will likely play up with the memory too. Imagining a second fan on here would make this cooler would jump from 88mm wide without a fan to 138mm with two attached.

Accessories and Documentation

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Here we have the Intel universal back plate and LGA 775 spacer pad with 3M backing to secure the pad to the plate. On the black steel plate, there is a pair of socket retention screw holes near the middle, and on each end is a clear plastic sticker to isolate the plate from the board. Each end also offers mounting holes for 775, 115X and 1366.

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The top mounting brackets are what I have in this image. On the left is a pair of AMD brackets, the cross-bar center mounting bar and the Intel brackets on the right side.

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Almost all of the rest of the hardware is shown here. On the left you have the mounting through bolts for either AMD or Intel sockets with bracket screws below for mounting the top hardware. In the middle there is a bag of thermal compound, a wrench and the cross-bar screws. This leaves the LGA2011 bolts and the white nylon spacers on the right.

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You will also find a single pair of wire fan clips, and some super simple, well written and illustrated instructions for both AMD on one side and Intel on the other. To be honest, the kit is pretty self-explanatory, but it never hurts to have the instructions for when you get stuck or are unsure of the process.

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You also receive one Glide Stream fan from Scythe. This is a 1400RPM maximum speed, 120mm fan, which comes in all black offering nine blades with grooves in them to help scoop and direct the airflow while allowing the fan to run virtually silent at speed.

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I also took an image of the back of the fan for three reasons. I wanted to show that the back of the blades look pretty normal, you can see the power draw and model number of the fan, and of course you can see that it offers a 4-pin connection since this is a PWM controlled offering.

Installation and Finished Product

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The back plate will sit slightly askew depending on the socket type, but as you can see, the pair of holes around the screws is large enough and the V at the bottom is well clear of the third retention screw. To hold this in place, simply install the plate with the plastic stickers facing down and drive home the screws, which I mentioned in the hardware section.

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I already have the top brackets in place and screwed into the bolts that hold the back plate, applied TIM to the CPU, and am now in the tedious process of slowly wrenching the cross-bar into place. While the wrench is handy, the bends of the bar at the sides limits the turn you can get on these bolts.

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With the taller memory in the board, you can see it stands taller than the fan. Now the fan can be adjusted upwards on the cooler, but you have to then consider the overall height of the cooler since the fan is already above the caps on the top of the fins.

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The second thing you are going to run into is that the two slots closest to the CPU are covered with the fan. This means you either need to run naked RAM sticks, or invest in something low profile, so you can run dual channel or fill all four slots.

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Looking down at the motherboard under this large cooler, you can just barely see the memory poking out on the right side, but on the left you have access to the 8-pin connection, and plenty of room before it would hit my video card.

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As I try to do now, I just wanted to end with the glamour shot of the Mugen 4 sitting in the D-frame. All I have to do now is swap to my naked G.Skill RipJaws for testing and we can get the thermal and audio results.

The Test System and Thermal Results

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I would first like to thank HIS, GIGABYTE , InWin and AVADirect for supplying products for me to test with.

Testing for the CPU coolers is done with the use of RealTemp to ascertain temperatures, Intel Burn Test to deliver the load to the CPU and CPU-Z to verify the CPU speed and the voltage being used in Windows. All of the testing is done with an ambient temperature of 24.5-25C and humidity is maintained to 35% sometimes less.

For the "stock" runs, it's more of a plug and play setup where the PWM of the motherboard is in control of the fans speeds for both the idle and load results. Speed Step is active and the processor idles at 1600 MHz and loads at 3500 MHz for the stock settings. I also set the memory to run at 1600 MHz for stock. As for the overclocked runs, I load the CPU at 4.5 GHz and idle results are obtained with 7.5V to the fans while the load run is set to deliver 12V to the fans. This allows me to gauge the lowest and highest fan ratings for my charts.

You will also see that the charts have been slightly adjusted. From now on I will mention the idle temperatures if there is something worth noting other than an average of twenty-five to twenty-seven degrees as the PWM controls and SpeedStep allow for almost ambient results in most instances. What you are now getting is a stock speed loaded temperature chart and an overclocked loaded temperature chart. To clean up the audio results, I also removed all of the fans that aren't on the thermal charts. If you want to compare those results to new coolers, the old chart is still available in the older reviews.

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It may seem that the stock results are a bit on the higher side of average, but there are two things you need to consider here. With 7.5V going through the fan, it was spinning at only 650RPM (dead silent). So, for this cooler to have a result of 52 degrees at this point, I can understand why when it is paired with this fan. In reality, the results are above average, it is just that there are so many coolers in front of it to skew the appearance of these results.

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The overclocked results do leave me slightly disappointed with the Mugen 4, but it is still acceptable when you consider all things. One the fan is only at 1400RPM, and still with quiet noise levels. 75 degrees is right in the middle of the scale here, and when considering the prices of what it is leading in this chart, this isn't all that shabby.

Noise Level Results

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With only 650RPM, the 120mm fan registered on the meter at 33 dB, and now you can see why I said dead silent.

When you consider most people can't hear below 30dB anyways, the Mugen 4 is just audible and only when very close at this stage of the testing.

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With everything running full bore, 12V to the fan, and the testing well underway, the fan equipped with the Mugen 4 only reached 45dB. That leaves the Mugen 4 just outside of the top ten quietest cooling solutions I have tested.

If you are looking for something affordable and quiet, this is a serious contender for your money.

Final Thoughts

Since I have not seen a Mugen cooler since I wrote the review on the Mugen 2, I can tell you a lot has changed since then - some good and some better, but it stills need work in one specific area. The H.P.M.S. of this cooler is super simple, all the way to the point of mounting the cross-bar. I get shipping a wrench at least offers a solution, but let's be honest here, turning a screw 25 to thirty degrees at a turn is almost more torture than it is excitement to be using the cooler. I would have loved it if the bolts were taller than the sides of the cross bar, where you could get closer to 180 degree turns, or better yet, send a screwdriver like the one Noctua includes since the fin body is too close to use a Phillip's #2 screwdriver unless it is exceptionally long.

Beside this oversight in my opinion, the changes to the hardware does make for a much tighter and much more secured cooler than I had with the Mugen 2. I also liked the new design and the way Scythe has created the T-M.A.P.S. system of separating the towers and bending the fins to take better advantage of the air flow. I also like that there is now six pipes again instead of five, and I think the way they are distributed through the cooler body is as good as it gets.

The performance of the Mugen 4 was about average in both of the thermal tests, but I can see easy solutions to increasing performance. The 1400RPM fan sent along with the Mugen 4 is designed more for the silence it offered in the audio result charts, not really for air flow and static pressure that this design needs. While you can easily add another fan, as long as you remember to get more fan mounts too, since only one set is sent with the cooler, you could drop the results about two degrees on both thermal tests. What I would suggest is a fan that is a bit noisier, if you can take it, and grab something with closer to 3.0mmH20 of static pressure, and closer to 90 or 100 CFM numbers. Then you would take this cooler right into the mix with a drop in the results much closer to five degrees, and maybe six or seven with a pair of different fans. As it is shipped, I am okay with it since the fan is so quiet during idle and not loud at all when loaded. Seeing average thermal results is always a bit disappointing, as I am looking for innovative chart toppers, and the Mugen 4 is nice, but it is not a chart topper by any means.

Since the Mugen 4 is only currently available in Japan by the looks, I can't really tell you to run out and buy this cooler at this moment. With all things considered, specifically price versus performance, things look much brighter. The pair of coolers on either side of the Mugen 4 in the overclocked thermal results are near $80 cooling solutions, and the Mugen 4 is only going to sell at $50, and I really like that.

What sort of kicks the Mugen in its grapes is that the Thermaltake NiC C5 is priced the same, gets much better results, even if much louder, but in my opinion is a much better all around solution. If you are looking for something that is affordable, quiet, and will handle most anything you throw at it, the Scythe Mugen 4 will do all of those things without question. To me it all comes down to if you want to deal with the mounting system, when just about any other cooler is much easier to install.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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