Scythe Mugen CPU Cooler

Many people tend to spend lots of money on the top of the line motherboards, processors, and power supplies. But the one thing that seems to get left out which is an essential part of any PC is the CPU cooler. Sure, you just finished building a screaming machine, but just how hot is everything running under the hood with the stock cooler? In addition, the CPU fan can be one of the loudest components in a system. Scythe has attempted to solve both of these problems with the Scythe Mugen CPU cooler. We decided delve in and take a look at how well this particular cooler performs at both cooling and noise output.

About Scythe:

Scythe Co., Ltd., (Registered and incorporated in Tokyo Japan) originally started its business operation in Japan’s famous “Akihabara Electric Town” located in the metropolitan Tokyo, where visitors can find a variety of products from the latest computer parts to the world’s most advanced high-tech electric devices.

Sythe Co., Ltd., began its operation and business since November, 2002 as a distributor and the manufacturer of passive and low-noise PC parts. Since then, the company has established the R&D facility in Taiwan & China for production and quality control, and the USA office (in Los Angeles, California) & European office (in Hamburg, Germany) for customer care and sales support

Specifications:

  • Model Name: Mugen CPU Cooler (previously named “Infinity”)
  • Model Number: SCINF-1000
  • Combined Dimensions: 125mm (W) x 160mm (H) x 116mm (D)
  • Fan Dimensions: 120mm (W) x 120mm (H) x 25mm (D)
  • Weight: 930 grams
  • Socket Compatibility: LGA775, 478, 754, 939, 940, AM2, AM2+
  • Fan Noise Level: 25 dBA
  • Fan Speed: 1200 RPM (±10%)

Features:

  • MIFS – Mugen Interleave Fin Structure
  • 4 fan mounting choice
  • Tool-free easy installation
  • Wide Range RPM Cooling

In-depth Look

Right away the first thing you notice is the sheer size of the heatsink. This bad boy is an amazing 160mm tall with a width of 125mm and a depth of 116mm with the included fan attached. The fan is the only difference between the Mugen and Infinity models. The Mugen comes with a 9-fin fan which is a fraction louder than the 7-blade fan included with the Infinity. In this case the pros outweigh the cons as the 9-blade fan in the Mugen pushes a rated 68.54 CFM of air whereas the 7-blade fan in the Infinity only a rated 46.5 CFM. As with most CPU coolers, if you find the included fan too noisy, you can pick up a quieter 120mm fan to replace it. As another little addon feature, Scythe decided to allow for a total of four fans to be mounted on this heatsink. Note that only clips for one fan are included with the cooler, so you will need to purchase extra clips to mount additional fans.

The interesting thing about the massive heatsink on this cooler is the placement of the fins. Instead of a full-width fin in each row, Scythe decided to “interleave” the fins. This is very beneficial for reducing noise and increasing air flow throughout the heatsink. It also makes the Mugen a good heatsink for use without a fan because of the larger spaces between heatsink fins.

We found the base of this heatsink to be very flat in both axis. The base also has a near-mirror finish as opposed to the rougher finish found in most other heatsinks. There’s almost no incentive to lap the base of this cooler. One unique feature the Mugen has that is quite rare for most coolers is the addition of a small heatsink mounted on the top of the base. This is a great idea as the five heatpipes sit directly beneath the small heatsink, giving heat even more surface area to disperse through.

The Mugen comes with accessories including two fan clips, thermal paste, and mounting brackets for various socket types. As with all coolers, we recommend trashing the included thermal paste and using your own (our personal favorites being OCZ Freeze and Noctua NT-H1). It is very unfortunate that Scythe decided to include the same plastic push-pins on the LGA775 brackets as Intel uses for their stock coolers. These push-pins are well known for how easily they can be broken and their controversial lack of ability to provide enough pressure on the CPU, which is especially the situation on heavier heatsinks, the Scythe Mugen being one of these.

After only a few installations of our unit, one of these plastic push-pins became bent and proceeded to break off. Thankfully Scythe also produces the Universal Retention Kit (model no. SCURK01). This kit can turn your LGA775 mounting on your motherboard into a socket 478 mount, allowing you to use the stronger metal 478 brackets included with the Scythe Mugen.

Testing & Performance

Our testing procedure was performed in a room with a temperature of 19° C. Both coolers were reseated multiple times to ensure consistent results as well as to check how well the thermal paste spread. The heatsinks were also positioned vertically on the motherboard as is the case with most computers except HTPC systems. We did not test these coolers horizontally as both are too large for most HTPC machines. All fans in the test setup were run at 12v to ensure maximum cooling. The CPU in our test system is overclocked by 50% at 3.0GHz compared to 2.0GHz stock. CPU voltage was also increased to 1.4v compared to 1.32v stock.

For this test we used Core Temp version 0.99 beta and version 0.98.1. Results were consistent between both versions.

Test system

  • CPU: Intel E2180 @ 3.0GHz, 1.4v (stock: 2.0GHz, 1.32v)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
  • Case: Antec Nine Hundred

Results

  Idle Load
Scythe Mugen 20° C 53° C
Xigmatek HDT-S963 21° C 55° C

These results really make clear the benefit of exposed heatpipes in the base of the Xigmatek HDT-S963. Even with a 120mm fan as opposed to the 92mm fan in the Xigmatek cooler, the Scythe Mugen only performs better by a degree or two despite its obvious advantage over a 92mm cooler. On a positive note, the Mugen was able to keep CPU temps at a constant 20° Celcius while idle, which is only one degree above the temperature of the room testing was done in.

Conclusion

In the end we feel that the Scythe Mugen is the perfect choice for those who are looking for a quiet heatsink regardless of its size. Though it may not perform as well as other expensive coolers, the Mugen performs well enough for its price. The Mugen can be had for less than £25 which can be seen as inexpensive compared to other coolers such as the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme which doesn’t even include a fan.

Our only complaints with this cooler are the plastic LGA775 push-pins and how large the unit is. If you plan on purchasing the Mugen and will be using it with a socket LGA775 motherboard, we highly recommend buying the Scythe Universal Retention Kit as it allows for better pressure between the heatsink and CPU and is less prone to break than the push-pins.

Pros:

  • Lots of surface area for heat dissipation
  • Allows for up to four fans to be mounted
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Quite large
  • Plastic LGA775 push-pins
  • Lesser performance compared to other 120mm heatsinks

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