Published on Thursday, 16 March 2017 01:37
None of us here ever really thought that CPU cooler manufacturers would one day drastically reduce the development and manufacture of new air cooler models but that day seems to be almost upon us. Of course the fact that AIO liquid CPU cooling systems have gained significant ground over traditional air coolers during the past 3 years or so is probably the reason as to why this is happening. Still we must not forget that there are many people out there who are not willing to spend much on a CPU cooler (casual users and gamers mostly) and for good or bad even single 120/140mm radiator AIO models are still far more expensive even compared to some high-end air coolers. Scythe has been behind several award winning CPU air cooler lines over the years one of which is the very successful Mugen one and today we'll be testing the brand new Mugen 5.
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. Scythe 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. At Scythe, we believe that the best ideas for product come simply from knowing customers' needs and their expectations. Based on this philosophy, the PC enthusiasts working at Scythe know what to develop because that is exactly what we would like to have for ourselves too! We offer products with 100% quality assurance and total pride, and if the product has the Scythe name on it, you can rest assure that its quality will be up to the "Zero Tolerance" standards!
Last time we had a Scythe Mugen CPU air cooler here it was the MAX model and since that was the 7th in the Mugen line that means the Mugen 5 is actually the 8th one to bear that name. So what did Scythe improve on the brand new Mugen 5 CPU air cooler compared to the previous Mugen MAX? For one they slightly increased the total surface of the cooler so that means it should provide higher cooling efficiency than the MAX model. Also although they used a smaller (120mm/140mm) and slower (1200RPM/1300RPM) fan (fluid-dynamic bearing model) compared to the one used with the MAX it actually produces slightly higher static pressure (1.05mmH2O/1.02mmH2O). Also the new Mugen 5 features Scythe's latest hyper precision mounting system II (compared to the original H.P.M.S used in the MAX) which is now pre-mounted on the cooler to allow for easier installation on the mainboard. Both the Mugen MAX and Mugen 5 can be used with two fans in push and pull configuration and feature asymmetric designs for their six 6mm thick nickel-plated copper heatpipes which allow for zero clearance issues both with mainboard components and memory modules. Time for us to find out just what the new Mugen 5 is capable off and just how it compares to its predecessor the very good MAX model.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
A large product picture is placed at the front of the box right over the socket compatibility and next to a samurai riding a horse and firing his bow.
The features of the Mugen 5 are listed on the left side of the box while the specifications table is placed on the right side along with a drawing of the cooler.
Once again the warranty information is printed at the rear.
The heatsink is placed between three thin pieces of foam and the 120mm PWM fan is placed right over them (the rest of the bundle is placed in a white cardboard box).
Scythe bundles the Mugen 5 with an 120mm Kaze Flex PWM fan, 4 metal fan mounts (in case you want to use a 2nd fan in push and pull), thermal paste tube, Philips screwdriver, backplate, backplate pad, installation guide and all the necessary mounting hardware for Intel LGA775/1150/1155/1156/1366/2011/2011-3 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1/FM2/FM2+ mainboards.
THE MUGEN 5
The main body (heatsink) of the Mugen 5 measures 130mm in width, 85mm in length and 154.5mm in height (weighs 761g).
Scythe has placed two holes that pass through all the fins one used to remove/attach the mounting bracket onto the heatsink and the other to secure one of the two screws onto the mainboard/backplate.
The heatsink is made by a total of 39 aluminum fins.
Here you can see the asymmetric design of the cooler which allows for easy installation and zero clearance issues especially with memory modules.
I was a bit surprised to see that the mounting bracket is attached onto the heatsink right from the factory (will save you some installation time however).
Unlike the MAX model the Mugen 5 features a single heatsink and not 4 individual ones so the six 6mm nickel-plated copper heatpipes are positioned differently.
The large base features a mirror like finish as you can see from the above picture.
Scythe has used their brand new Kaze Flex PWM 120mm fan (11 blade design) which can spin up to 1200RPM to produce up to 51.17CFM of airflow and 1.05mmH2O if static pressure with just 24.9dBA of noise.
This fan also features rubber vibration absorbing pads on each of its 4 corners.
With the fan installed the Mugen 5 now measures 110mm in length and weighs 890g.
We always take things quite seriously when it comes to work so just like with the previous LGA1366 database we will not be testing each CPU Cooler on its own and with different ambient temperature levels and thus we can actually have yet another valid CPU Cooler database. Testing a CPU Cooler automatically means that you need to know where it stands against the immediate competition and to accomplish that we have spent both money and time through the years, something that we plan to continue to do so in order to get the most accurate results for the end consumers who read these lines. Every CPU cooler in this database is tested with the bundled 140mm/120mm/92mm/80mm fans while working at both idle speed and 100% of their speeds for all the temperature tests. CPU Coolers that do not come bundled with a fan/s are measured using a Noctua fan (size dependent on the model) to test for the temperature tests but due to the lack of a stock fan dBA level tests are obviously skipped. Single (120/140mm) watercooling solutions are tested with the radiator mounted at the rear of our test rig while dual/triple/quad (240/260/280/360/420/480/560mm) solutions with the radiator mounted at the top. For the dBA tests every cooler in the database was measured both while on idle mode or with the fan controller in the minimum setting and while on extreme load or with the fan controller all the way to the highest possible setting (PWM fans do that on their own without our intervention). Every single test takes place in a temperature controlled room of 23 degrees Celsius Ambient Temp with the help of two AC units placed diagonally inside the room. The Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste is used with every CPU Cooler in our latest LGA2011 database (although initially this was not the plan we had to change things to get the most accurate results). Finally it's very important to point out that just because a CPU Cooler is better than another when tested with our test rig that does not necessarily mean that the same performance differences will apply 100% for other CPU models and in other situations (such as different ambient temps and system configurations).
To successfully record the load temperatures we use the latest OCCT application for around 6-10 minutes to push the processor to its limits and after that is done and the temperatures are recorded we wait for about 10-20 minutes for the CPU to cool down and record the idle temperatures. This is done to allow time for the thermal conductive material to achieve the optimal performance level. Same procedure is then repeated with the Passmark BurnIn Test as a failsafe just in case the OCCT results are wrong. This procedure takes a lot more time than the usual peltier/thermometer tests but this way not only can we deliver real world results to our readers based on real CPUs but we can also triple check the results using a variety of programs. Last but not least the temperatures were recorded using both the latest versions of AIDA64 and RealTemp while the noise level tests are performed using a high precision ExTech HD600 Decibel Meter placed about 10-15cm above the CPU Cooler. Still although the same testing procedure applies to all units do take into consideration that unlike the official numbers which are measured in special noise isolated labs with just the fans here we also have both the rest of the cooler and the rest of the system (although all system fans are turned off when recording noise levels).
When we first took the Mugen 5 out of its box and compared its specifications with the Mugen MAX we didn’t think it would perform on par or better compared to the second. Sure total surface is slightly increased and the 120mm fan produces higher static pressure but the 140mm fan of the Mugen MAX produces higher airflow levels so we just weren’t certain. Of course Scythe wouldn’t release a new CPU air cooler in the Mugen line if it wasn’t at all better compared to its predecessor but well you never can be 100% certain about anything. So after wrapping up all our tests we can say with certainty that the Mugen 5 is just as good as the Mugen MAX and even just a tad better without producing higher noise levels (on the contrary actually it’s less audible at load something which we didn’t expect from a smaller fan). However it goes without saying really that if you’re a “proud” Mugen MAX owner then you have no real reason to even check the Mugen 5 out.
As I type these lines the Mugen 5 CPU Cooler by Scythe retails for just USD51.95 inside the USA (Amazon.com) and for 46Euros inside the EU (Amazon.co.uk) a price tag which is almost a direct match to what the Mugen MAX currently goes for. At the end of the day the Mugen 5 is among the best CPU air coolers currently in the market not only because of its excellent cooling efficiency (price/performance ratio) but also because of its zero clearance design and easy to install mounting hardware and those are more than enough for us to give it our Golden Award.
- Build Quality
- Excellent Performance
- Zero Clearance Issues with Most Mainboards
- Easy Installation (H.P.M.S II)
- Noise Levels
- Price (For Some)
- Size (For Some)