The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
For those who are unaware of who Scythe is, it may be time to crawl out from under that rock! They have done well in our time working with them to tend to gravitate to the top half of our charts, yet can do so without charging massive amounts of money for their cooling solutions. It used to be that many top performers could be found in the wild for fifty dollars or less, but the market and economy seemed to have changed, to where now many companies find no issue charging double what the industry used to consider "normal." However, we are not here to bash companies; we are here to praise Scythe for being one of the ever-shrinking list of a few manufacturers that believe you should not have to take out a loan to grab a CPU cooler to obtain better than average results!
At one time, Scythe was dropping new coolers right and left into the market, but as of late, it seems they are on a revision kick. To us, this is fine because the original designs were already good, and if Scythe can find a way to tweak previous designs while offering the customer more values, we are certainly game for that! It is a revision that has us here today with Scythe. We are saddened that we have not seen the entire lineup of this specific design, but we did get our hands-on the Revision B version, and at that time, it held its ground with CLC options as well as other dual-tower cooler designs.
Since then, the market has changed with what customers expect from air coolers these days. While reducing thermals is the primary factor to buy any aftermarket coolers, mid-tower cases are more prevalent, requirements for tall memory with fancy RGB LEDs much be able to be cleared, and ease of use all come into play. Scythe has heard the chatter and has decided rather than to be a revision C, and they are now offering it as the Scythe Fuma 2. What you are about to see is a dual-tower design that fits many of the requests we mentioned, all while keeping a sense of sleek styling, and all while adding very little noise to the system! For those who tend to shy away from liquid cooling, and want a tower cooler that can run with the big dogs, without having to fork out the big bucks to own it, you may want to pay close attention to what follows in this review.
In the chart borrowed from the Fuma 2 product page, we see that it starts with some of the specifications. We see that this model is also known as the SCFM-2000 and that it fits anything Intel made, including LGA775 and onward, but with AMD compatibility, it starts with AM2. Overall dimensions of the Fuma 2 are 137mm of width, including the tips of the wire fan clips. It is 131mm from front to back, including the fans, and stands 154.5mm tall. Being a dual-tower design, we do expect some heft, and the rated 1000 grams is of no surprise to us. We are also shown that six 6mm diameter heat pipes are running through the tower, but Scythe does not mention the 48 fins in each stack, plus each stack has a black top cover fin with their logo pressed into it as well.
Cooling the tower are a pair of Kaze Flex fans, but various thicknesses. The leading fan is 120mm in size, but only 15mm in thickness. Its speed ranges from 300 RPM on up to 1200 RPM, delivering 33.86 CFM of airflow and 0.9 mmH2O of static pressure, and is powered with a 4-pin PWM connection. The second fan, the one that installs between the towers is a 120mm fan, but this time it is 25mm thick. The speed range is the same as the thinner ones, but the CFM has increased to 51.17, static pressure is increased slightly to 1.05 mmH2O, and again, it is powered with a 4-pin PWM connector. As for the noise levels, the 15mm thick fan is shown to deliver 23.9 dB(A), while the 25mm thick fan is shown to top out at 24.9 dB(A).
With such a compact list of specifications, Scythe opts for renderings to help customers sort out the size and clearances. Using seven renderings, we have the cooler dimensions explained a little better, how the offset works to aide in RAM clearance, and even shows the fans and why the dimensions vary due to Scythe using rubber pads on the fans to isolate vibrations, but does deliver a few millimeters of extra size from front to back.
The last thing we have to inform you about is the cost of this cooler, and we feel many will be pleasantly surprised by this. Not only can this cooler fit in cases that many of the dual-tower designs are too tall to work inside of, but we are also close to that magic $50 price we love to see in air cooling a CPU. Right now, as we look at the Amazon listing, we see that the Scythe Fuma 2 is listed at just $59.99, and that is with free shipping included. At this time, we would not bother with Newegg, as the only listings found there are from third-party retailers, asking double the MSRP for their coolers. As it sits, the Scythe Fuma 2 has a lot going for it on paper, and the price is enticing, but we still have to take a closer look and get some testing done so that we can show you why the Fuma 2 is worth your attention!
With one glance at this matte black box, Scythe tries to inform you of as much as they could fit. Taking up most of the room is the image of the cooler inside of the box, along with the smoking ninja to the right, just above the SCFM-2000 Fuma 2 name. At the top-left, we learn about compatibility, at top-right, we see mention of a Kaze Flex fan next to the Scythe name and logo, and the bottom-left corner also shows the use of another Kaze Flex fan.
The right side of the packaging gives us three images to look at, as Scythe describes them. The first image is of the fans, where Scythe notes them as Kaze Flex Slim 120 and a Kaze Flex 120, and also brings up the fact that they spin in opposite directions to give you what Scythe refers to as the Double Revers Jet Flow. The next image shows off the asymmetrical design, which allows for unrestricted use of memory slots. The last of the pictures is of the mounting hardware, or the Hyper Precision Mounting System in its third iteration now.
As we make it to the back of the box, at the top are web addresses for support in Japan, the US, and Europe, as well as support from Taiwan for those not in the regions mentioned earlier. The bulk of the panel is used to explain the two years of warranty coverage and what that entails for those outside of Japan. The bottom of the panel explains that this cooler is made in Taiwan, above the compliance logos, and to the right are UPC stickers with the model number of the cooler.
The left side of the box looks much like the specifications chart we showed earlier on. This time, the dimensional drawings are at the top, with a multi-lingual list of specifications below them.
Inside of the box, we find a very well protected cooler, on the verge of what we typically see from Noctua! The body of the cooler, as well as the Kaze Flex 120 fan, are inside of the main compartment, with a dense layer of foam on top to protect the cooler and keep it in place. At the left is the box containing all of the hardware you need for installation, and on the right, we see the Kaze Flex Slim 120 taking the ride outside of the inner packaging in the gap between it and the box.
Scythe FUMA 2 CPU Cooler
Out of the box, none of the fans are mounted, but to balance the cooler for images, we applied them. One of them being the Kaze Flex Slim 120 fan you are looking at now, covering the vast majority of the fin stack behind it with airflow. From the front, it appears to look similar to many dual-tower designs, but much is still hidden from view.
Spinning the Fuma 2 so that we can see the right side of the cooler, we can now see some of the features that make RAM compatibility a non-issue. At the front, the pipes are kept tight to the base, allowing Scythe to shift the front stack back, covering most of the base. The second tower then has to go back a bit as well but to offset this, Scythe took a big notch out of the lower fins to allow plenty of clearance for those using systems with memory on both sides of the socket.
Outside of the lack of some of the fin stack, when you look at the front of the tower, or as we see here in the back, we can see a dual-layering of fins. Every other fin is flat across the edge, or they have a saw tooth pattern. When using such low CFM fans, you need to tinker with the airflow a bit so that you can get the most transfer of heat. However, you can, with what we are given.
The last side of the cooler is a mirror to the right side of it we saw earlier. Points we did not cover then, are things like fans with rubber corners, so vibration is held at bay. Use of metal fan clips, specific to the thickness of the fans, are used, and you are sent another set in the box to add a standard fan on the front or add a third fan to the back.
While the pipes and base of the Fuma 2 are nickel-plated, and the fin stack is left in its natural state, to enhance the cooler and allow it to blend into many builds, the top fin is black, for a bit of added style. We can see the evenness of the pipes as they spread across the fins, leaving a slightly wider gap in the middle for the pressed in Scythe logos. The notches you see in the lower stack of fins are used for mounting since the stack is over the base.
The base of the Fuma 2 is copper on the bottom, with a massive chunk of aluminum on top of it. There are tabs cut in the aluminum to act as a passive cooler, while the middle is hogged out for the crossbar portion of the HPMS III hardware.
The copper portion of the base is convex in its shape, and we can see circular patterns left from the machining process. Once together, everything gets a plating of nickel, which gives it a shiny appearance, while also fighting oxidation much better than bare copper. The protective sticker was placed off-center, so there is a fair amount of dirt on the base. However, we will not take away points, as a quick wipe with microfiber took it all away.
Accessories and Documentation
As part of the hardware, we find the backplate and the top brackets of the HPMS III system. The top brackets are universal for all Intel and AMD mounting situations. As for the backplate, it is currently set for LGA115X, but the rubber caps can be removed, and the studs adjusted for other socket compatibility.
At the top, we see four black plastic spacers, on one side of which has a rubber washer to protect the motherboard. On the left are the LGA 2011/2066 standoffs that are applied to the top of the socket, there is an LGA775 pre-load spacer in the middle, and four screws to secure the hardware on an AMD motherboard. At the bottom, the last of the parts, are the nuts used to secure the top brackets.
Along with the usual finds, there are quite a few accessories as well. We see the third set of fan clips for a 25mm thick fan, as well as a screwdriver designed to work with the Fuma 2. For those with only one CPU fan header, a Y-splitter is delivered to power both fans from a single header, and there is a tube of TIM, which is enough for a couple of application attempts.
While we did reasonably well explaining what fans are in use, we took this image for two reasons. The first is so that the SU1225FD12M-CHP and SU1215FD12M-CHP model numbers could be seen. Part numbers lead to the second point, and that is so those wanting a third fan with the cooler can match what is on the cooler.
We have partially unfolded the installation guide to show off what you will see when you get your hands-on this cooler. There is a full list of parts and sections showing which parts go with Intel and which get used for AMD. Beyond that, the images are what will get you through the installation, as the text is sparse. Even so, it took us all of about 3 minutes from all parts out of the box to having the cooler ready to run.
Installation and Finished Product
The first thing we needed to do to get the installation underway was to slide the backplate in through the holes in the motherboard. Both ends are made to fit the socket, so orientation is less of an issue, but the side that says "TOP" should be facing the motherboard.
From there, we slid the black plastic spacers on the studs, dropped on the top brackets, and, using the nuts, secured it all in place by using all of the threads.
After applying some thermal paste, and aligning the cross bar on the cooler with the rest of the HPMS III system, we grabbed the screwdriver. Once in hand, you should alternate grooves for four or five turns, move back to the other, and rinse and repeat until you run out of threads. All we have to do now is attach the fans and plug them in.
Even though the Fuma 2 is offset to clear all of the memory slots to the right of the socket, we can see it sits below the top of them as well, using all of the space it can. We even have the fan set higher than is needed to cool the topmost fins, but there is plenty of room left should you want the fans lower on the tower.
Even with all four slots populated, the fan on the Fuma 2 offers plenty of room, but we can see why they opted for the 15mm thick fan on the front. A 25mm thick fan would have caused clearance issues.
Even though we never got a measurement for the chunk taken out of the back fin stack, with its height compared to the sticks we are using, you can nearly get some vengeance LPX in there, along with a cooling fan! As far as other DDR4 with tall spreaders, we have nothing that will even come close.
In our chassis, the grays and black play well with the rest of our gear. We can see all of the RAM on the right of the cooler, we did not have an issue with the fan clips and the first PCI-e slot, and access to the motherboard screws is not blocked either. What we are left with is an attractive addition to the PC, but can it handle what we are about to throw at it?
Test System Setup, Thermal Tests, and Noise Results
Chad's CPU Cooler Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII HERO (Intel Z170) - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Patriot Viper 4 3000MHz 4X4GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB OC - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: INWIN D-Frame - Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS 1050W - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: RealTemp 3.70, AIDA64 Engineer 5.75.3900, and CPU-z 1.77.0 x64
To see our testing methodology and to find out what goes into making our charts, please refer to our CPU Cooler Testing and Methodology article (October 2016) for more information.
With the system left to do what it does on AUTO for the CPU and PWM active for cooling, we found that the Fuma 2 let the processor reach 56.5-degrees. Even though there are near thirty coolers ahead of it, we are still five-degrees out of the lead. There are a couple of standalone coolers that beat the Fuma 2 in thermals and are cheaper, but none of them are as silent as this is right now!
The gap from first place has lessened with the overclock applied, but again, the Fuma 2 is still silent while doing this! We still see the ETS-T50 AXE, the Ninja 5, Windale 6, all more affordable, with slightly better results, but again, those who want Noctua level silence without the price, this is the cooler to do it.
When we kept the overclock but put 12V to the fans, we see the Fuma 2 skyrocket towards the top of the chart. However, the point here is to see what is left on the table by using the PWM curve. The Fuma 2 gives us one of the widest gaps, with nearly four degrees left on the table, and in most instances, not taken advantage of.
Noise Level Results
When we say silent, we were not joking around. At this time, the front fan was turning at 525 RPM and the back fan at 650 RPM, but the lack of noise at the 22 dB mark is astounding!
Again, topping the chart when it comes to noise, the Fuma 2 under an overclocked scenario still only delivers 24 dB into the room! The thinner fan is spinning at 680 RPM, and the fatter one is going at 820 RPM at the time we took this reading.
While the specifications for the fans have them both topping out around 1200 RPM, we saw that the front fan topped out at 1144 RPM and the back fan capped at 1227, both within spec. However, we found that with them topped out in power; they only delivered 34 dB of noise. We feel that Scythe set their own limits too low. We would gladly take the extra four degrees in performance had they adjusted the fan curve more aggressively with that little bit of extra noise!
By the book, the Fuma 2 gave us what we expected to see, plus a whole lot more. Being a dual-tower design, we have a knack of guessing right about where it will fall on the list thermally, and in that respect, there were no real surprises. However, when it comes to noise levels, we were astounded at the lack of noise from this cooler! We have gone through quite a few cooler that claim to be the quietest, and here we find the Fuma topping the charts, all while never once mentioning the awesomeness it has in store on the box.
They do cover things like the HPMS III, and it is one of maybe three or four systems of mounting a cooler we absolutely love, RAM clearance which it has in spades, and the asymmetric design that makes that all possible. On top of that, the black top fins mixed with the matte black and gray of the fans is a sleek looking addition to just about any system out there that can house a 155mm tall CPU cooler.
The results were not fantastic thermally, but in the field of what beats it, we saw four or five coolers similar in cost, that could do better. By all means, feel free to buy one of them, but the majority of them will make your ears bleed, and the Ninja 5 is the only one we would consider head to head comparison, and either way, you are still buying a Scythe cooler! Scythe is also sure to up their game, and we mentioned Noctua a few times now, but that is the feel it seems they are going for. From the packaging to the accessories, to the easy to use hardware, it is all very familiar, and we love that Scythe is stepping up their game, and not shifting that cost onto the customers.
So, even though the Fuma 2 did not cool as well as it could have, that extra four degrees in the tank hurt them a bit, but all around, we have very little reason not to recommend you buy this cooler, no matter what the motherboard is, no matter your memory arrangement, the Fuma 2 is here ready and willing for you to give it a chance!
Usually, while we talk of stellar appearances and near-complete silence of operation, we would have to end with something like "get your bank accounts ready for a hit like this," but that is not the case at all! Considering that only five out of the top thirty or so in our chart are even near the $50 mark says a lot about the Fuma 2 as it sits right there with them. The Fuma 2 proves you do not have to break the bank to get all of the feeling of something like a Noctua, with a better noise profile, while losing a couple of degrees to it. We would gladly spend half the money for a couple of degrees difference, and at just $59.99, for those on a budget, this is damn hard to pass up on.
For those with deep pockets, even you can appreciate what we just showed off in the Fuma 2, and it all comes together to prove that Scythe knows what they are doing, and what we thought were flukes with randomly good performance and lower sounds levels is a real thing, and we feel Scythe is now a company to keep your eye on, as you never know what sort of amazing stuff they will come up with next to keep them more than just relevant in the CPU cooling game!
The Fuma 2 is a sleek looking dual-tower design that delivers decent performance with almost no noise involved! Considering cost, performance, and all other things, it is hard to pass a cooler such as this by.