Scythe Mugen-2 CPU Cooler

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Scythe Mugen-2 CPU Cooler

Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:38 am

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:14 am

Hi Mike,

I'm glad you are reviewing this heatsink -- I have wondered about it. It looks to a killer value (especially considering the solid bolt-through is included!) and an excellent heatsink overall.

I spotted a small inconsistency: on page 2 the caption says the fin spacing 1.69mm and on page 4 the chart says 1.89mm. <--Fixed
Last edited by NeilBlanchard on Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Shamgar » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:26 am

Great review as always. You've finally taken the mystery out of this heatsink for me. Well done.

Not enough for Scythe to win back the trophy but it puts them back among the top contenders. The bolt through mounting could definitely be improved, but at least it's there. With its fairly tight fin spacing, I'm guessing that passive operation on a current 2 core CPU is out of the question?

Noticed also that this is one of the few heatsinks reviewed here where the manufacturer's specifications matched SPCR's measurements exactly: 870g.
I do appreciate the effort in taking those measurements. Some manufacturers, like many people, tend to quote their weight a bit on the "lighter" side of the scale.

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Mounting mechanism

Post by gsacks » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:30 am

So, following up on my comment in the discussion of the Antec mini-itx case regarding the Scythe back plate mounting system...

In that article it was stated that the Big Shuriken cooler would not mount on the ITX board because not all of the pushpins where accessible. Using the same back plate mechanism, as the Mugen-2, would it be possible to mount the Shuriken (or the Mugen for than matter) on the Zotac 9300-ITX board? I am aware that the Shuriken does not come with the back plate in the box, but Scythe does sell the back plate kit separately. Sorry to keep asking the same question, but I want to buy that combination and I don't want to deal with returning products if they don't fit together correctly.

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Post by rana » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:46 am

What is the best way to control the cooler fan voltage with a Mugen-2? Is it better to use some sort of hardware device or something in the BIOS, or software. I guess I ideally want something non-software that plugs direct into the fan power cable and just allows adjusting the voltage lower than 12v. I want to set once and forget it, not adjust it manually all the time. I've found the full 12 volts is unnecessary cooling, given the noise it produces with my setup (Antec Sonata Elite case, Core i7 920, Mugen-2 with stock fan, Asus P6T MB). Any links to products, FAQs, etc. would be great! I'd prefer something small/simple I can purchase online for < $20.

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Post by Lawrence Lee » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:51 am

NeilBlanchard wrote: I spotted a small inconsistency: on page 2 the caption says the fin spacing 1.69mm and on page 4 the chart says 1.89mm.
Fixed. It's 1.89mm.

gsacks wrote:Using the same back plate mechanism, as the Mugen-2, would it be possible to mount the Shuriken (or the Mugen for than matter) on the Zotac 9300-ITX board?
The Mugen-2's backplate can't be used with the Shuriken's clips. The bolts that secure the backplate have nothing to screw into.


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Post by swivelguy2 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:42 am

rana wrote:What is the best way to control the cooler fan voltage with a Mugen-2? Is it better to use some sort of hardware device or something in the BIOS, or software. I guess I ideally want something non-software that plugs direct into the fan power cable and just allows adjusting the voltage lower than 12v. I want to set once and forget it, not adjust it manually all the time. I've found the full 12 volts is unnecessary cooling, given the noise it produces with my setup (Antec Sonata Elite case, Core i7 920, Mugen-2 with stock fan, Asus P6T MB). Any links to products, FAQs, etc. would be great! I'd prefer something small/simple I can purchase online for < $20.
The Zalman Fanmate 2 sounds like exactly what you want.

http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/sku=fanmate2

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Re: Scythe Mugen-2 CPU Cooler

Post by new2spcr » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:48 am

Great review. Thanks. Nice to see a better mounting option from Scythe.
Antec P182, MSI H55-GD65, i3 530@3.5GHZ (w/Nexus 92mm@850 rpm & Minja), 4GB RAM, Samsung HD502HI (suspension w/rubber cords) Geforce 7300GS (w/Zalman ZM80D-HP) PSU Corsair VX450 (w/Noctua NF-S12-1200), System fan Scythe S-Flex 120mm@~550rpm

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Post by jessekopelman » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:01 pm

rana wrote:What is the best way to control the cooler fan voltage with a Mugen-2? Is it better to use some sort of hardware device or something in the BIOS, or software. I guess I ideally want something non-software that plugs direct into the fan power cable and just allows adjusting the voltage lower than 12v. I want to set once and forget it, not adjust it manually all the time. I've found the full 12 volts is unnecessary cooling, given the noise it produces with my setup (Antec Sonata Elite case, Core i7 920, Mugen-2 with stock fan, Asus P6T MB). Any links to products, FAQs, etc. would be great! I'd prefer something small/simple I can purchase online for < $20.
This is PWM fan. Your motherboard can provide fan control through BIOS. For a relatively low speed fan like this, BIOS control should be more than adequate (ie not that great a range of different speeds needs to be achieved). PWM is especially good for i7, since turbo mode can make this CPU run especially hot on occasion. The ability to have the fan ramp up to full speed based on temperature is useful.

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Post by Howard » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:15 pm

If I'm reading this correctly, the Mugen-2 with two fans is the best combo you've ever tested at 12 dBa or less, bar none.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:33 pm

Howard wrote:If I'm reading this correctly, the Mugen-2 with two fans is the best combo you've ever tested at 12 dBa or less, bar none.
Yup.

The caveat -- it's about the only one we've tested this way. It's possible that some of the other elite silent coolers could match it... but at this time, we don't know for sure. The contenders are...

Prolimatech Megahalems
Thermalright U120E
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
Noctua NH-U12P
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
Thermolab Baram

These have large enough fin surface area and tight fin spacing to make 2-fan push-pull worthwhile. Not the Ninja or HR01.

The real kicker is price. Of the above coolers, only the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is cheap enough to be ~US$50 with 2 fans, and its fan is not that quiet, unlike the Mugen-2, whose included fan is quiet enough that just getting a second identical one would be good enough to achieve the same quiet cooling as with 2 Nexus 120 fans. All the rest would be a lot more pricey and/or the included fan is not quiet enough, so you need to buy 2 fans.
Last edited by MikeC on Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Howard » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:03 pm

Looks like we have a new value winner, then.

EDIT: May I suggest adding the "Discuss this article in the SPCR forums." link to every page of an article, not just the last one?

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Post by PartEleven » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:05 pm

Does scythe sell that PWM slip stream fan separately? I've been wanting one forever.

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Post by Reachable » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:29 pm

I know this will be an infuriating question, but I'd love to know why the two fans running together don't produce any discernible increase in loudness at low voltages.

Also wondering whether the phenomenon would occur if the two fans were not the same.

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Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:35 pm

Reachable wrote:I know this will be an infuriating question, but I'd love to know why the two fans running together don't produce any discernible increase in loudness at low voltages.
infuriating ? Not really... but I don't know the reason. If you get close enough, ie, within a few inches, 2 fans do sound louder than 1, but as you back away, the difference becomes undiscernable. We haven't played enough with multiple noise sources at such low levels to say more.
Also wondering whether the phenomenon would occur if the two fans were not the same.
If they were making similar sounds, why not?
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Post by jessekopelman » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:40 pm

Reachable wrote:I know this will be an infuriating question, but I'd love to know why the two fans running together don't produce any discernible increase in loudness at low voltages.
If each fan is only 12dBA, two will only be 15dBA (at worst). 15dBA is still going to be well under the noise floor in your room. Now, your ears may be able to discern sounds well below the noise floor, but they will not be able to resolve the difference in loudness between such sounds. In a more general sense, it is also worth noting that 3dB is only a 23% increase in loudness (even though it is a 100% increase in SPL). When we are starting with a very small amount, increasing it by 23% may often not be very noticeable.
Reachable wrote:Also wondering whether the phenomenon would occur if the two fans were not the same.
It is quite likely that you will be able to discern that the combined differing fans sound different than either single fan, but not their relative loudness.

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Post by maf718 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:44 pm

MikeC wrote:
Howard wrote:If I'm reading this correctly, the Mugen-2 with two fans is the best combo you've ever tested at 12 dBa or less, bar none.
Yup.

The caveat -- it's about the only one we've tested this way. It's possible that some of the other elite silent coolers could match it... but at this time, we don't know for sure. The contenders are...

Prolimatech Megahalems
Thermalright U120E
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
Noctua NH-U12P
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
Thermolab Baram

These have large enough fin surface area and tight fin spacing to make 2-fan push-pull worthwhile. Not the Ninja or HR01.
You might want to add the Thermalright IFX-14 to that list, if any cooler deserves to be tested in a two fan configuration it is that one.

You could even go one step further with the IFX-14 and try three reference fans at 5v in a push-pull-push-pull scenario. That would be an interesting experiment.

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Post by danimal » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:24 pm

i really liked the addition of two fans to the review, because of the way that it was tailored towards silent computing... as long as you don't require more cpu cooling capability than the fixed undervolted fans are delivering to the cooler, it's a very interesting option... right now i'm wondering how it would work to run a fixed undervolted fan along with the included pwm fan, instead of limiting both of 'em to 700 rpm.

one thing to note about the mugen 2 is that it has a *lot* of fin surface area, almost certainly more than any of the other coolers on the spcr comparison list, even more than the scythe orochi... it's been decades since i've looked at fluid dynamics, but i'd like to believe that more fin area increases the resistance to air flow, sort of similar to what tighter fin spacing does... so a low-pressure low-rpm fan can't push much air all the way through this fin stack, that's not what this cooler was designed for.

judging by the way that this cooler ranked in the spcr comparison table, things like the huge fin area and the xlnt included pwm fan on this cooler appear to make it a difficult fit for the spcr ranking methodology... for instance, spcr really liked the fan, but the quality of out-of-the-box fans has apparently never been a factor in any of the rankings, because they all use the same fan(??)... so like with all reviews, make sure that your intended application matches the review parameters.

i needed a cpu cooler that gave the most cooling with the least amount of noise, for both 775 and 1366 sockets, serious overclocking stuff... pretty much every website that has tested the mugen 2 ranked it at or near the top for those things, because that's how they structured their test parameters... what they couldn't do was provide the same quality of fan testing that spcr does, among other things.

anyway, thanks to spcr for taking the time to review the mugen 2!

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Post by RoGuE » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:34 pm

danimal wrote:... it's been decades since i've looked at fluid dynamics, but i'd like to believe that more fin area increases the resistance to air flow, sort of similar to what tighter fin spacing does... so a low-pressure low-rpm fan can't push much air all the way through this fin stack, that's not what this cooler was designed for.
took fluid mechanics last fall, and yes, the more area the harder it is to get air through there. Fin spacing affects this the most, but the actual depth causes sheer to slow the air down and that doesn't bode well for low pressure / low rpm fans.

u hit the nail on the head. I think this has something to do with why the megahlems cooler does so well..its got an optimized fin thickness and spacing for one fan. well engineered.

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Post by marc999 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:51 pm

How would you connect two of these PWM fans to the single CPU connector on the MOBO (which would be needed to take advantage of the BIOS's CPU PWM control)? I can't remember my electronics, something tells me that if you connected them the wrong way, one would operate at a different voltage than the other. Looking for a solution that wouldn't require any fiddling with wiring if possible.

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Post by Maccer » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:50 am

PartEleven wrote:Does scythe sell that PWM slip stream fan separately? I've been wanting one forever.
I don't beleive so, the only one I've found sold individually is the Kama PWM, not a bad fan btw.

Recently I tried the Push Pull setup on my Infinity with 2 Nexus @ 7v and it seemed to create alot of added Air turbulence noise when in the case, which I think was the Rear case fan and the pull fan interacting as they were only a few cms apart.

I assume the testing on the review was done on a bench so this wouldn't happen but can anyone else confirm my point?

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Post by Zenphic » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:36 am

Great value cooler I believe. It comes with a pretty good mounting hardware (though quirky) and a quality fan, and has top notch performance. I'mma get this for my next build.
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Post by Reachable » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:52 am

Maybe the two fans, since they have essentially the same noise signature, and they're close together, and they're cooperating fully (rather than opposing each other in any way), maybe they're somewhat out of phase so that they cancel each other out (noisewise) a little bit, and maybe the effect is the equivalent of one 11 dB source regardless of the fan speed, so that at higher dB the effect is negligible but at 11dB it cuts the total in half (by 3 dB).

Or maybe the two fans working in tandem reduce turbulence inside the heatsink.

Or maybe that's all just nonsense. :lol:

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Post by MikeC » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:53 am

Maccer wrote:Recently I tried the Push Pull setup on my Infinity with 2 Nexus @ 7v and it seemed to create alot of added Air turbulence noise when in the case, which I think was the Rear case fan and the pull fan interacting as they were only a few cms apart.
Does this mean you tried it outside the case and it didn't make the same noise? How about if you turn the case fan off? Maybe you don't need it with 2 fans on the HS?

The original Mugen (Infinity) has much higher airflow impedance than the Mugen-2 so I would expect it to be noisier in push-pull.
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Post by Maccer » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:45 am

MikeC wrote:
Maccer wrote:Recently I tried the Push Pull setup on my Infinity with 2 Nexus @ 7v and it seemed to create alot of added Air turbulence noise when in the case, which I think was the Rear case fan and the pull fan interacting as they were only a few cms apart.
Does this mean you tried it outside the case and it didn't make the same noise? How about if you turn the case fan off? Maybe you don't need it with 2 fans on the HS?

The original Mugen (Infinity) has much higher airflow impedance than the Mugen-2 so I would expect it to be noisier in push-pull.
No sorry was too lazy to try if out of the case, but the noise did reduce markedly when I disabled the rear fan so I suspected it was these 2 fans interacting.

I don't really need 2 fans anyway but I was just tinkering to see what its effects would be. Now I just have a Single Kama PWM fan on it and get good temps (CPU = Q6600 @ stock) 30 idle - 50 load

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Post by BillyBuerger » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:19 am

marc999 wrote:How would you connect two of these PWM fans to the single CPU connector on the MOBO (which would be needed to take advantage of the BIOS's CPU PWM control)? I can't remember my electronics, something tells me that if you connected them the wrong way, one would operate at a different voltage than the other. Looking for a solution that wouldn't require any fiddling with wiring if possible.
I've used a couple Arctic Cooling PWM fans that come with PWM "sharing". Meaning that they split off a second connector to plug a second PWM fan off the same header. I just looked and found splitters that look to do the same. Although I wonder if you could just steal the pwm control wire from the header and run the power/ground/tach wires off a normal 3-pin header. (One that runs at a full 12V) That way you still get the PWM control but don't have to worry about overloading the single header. Although with lower speed fans, this probably isn't anything to worry about.

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Post by MikeC » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:42 am

re the second fan -- there's no reason it has to be identical. You could just get a Slipstream (or any slow quiet fan) and roughly match the speeds of the two fans by ear or rpm monitoring on the mobo. A simple voltage conotrller would work fine, as would speedfan on many boards.
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Post by danimal » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:23 am

this will give you some perspective on the amount of overall cooling surface area that the mugen 2 has:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cooler ... html#sect0

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Slight error

Post by K.Murx » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:27 am

The "Specifications" Table, Item "weight:
870 g, 30.7 lb
Now that's one badass heatsink :lol: [Linux "units" says 870 g => 1.92 lb]

Btw, in the conclusion it is argued that the mounting system is significantly more secure than the Xigmatek. Well, the Xigmatek is 385 g or almost one pound lighter than this beast (with fan). So I would argue that the Xigmatek does not need such a mounting system to be securely mounted.

Freedom of orientation for the Xigmatek would be nice, though...

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