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Five Premium CPU Coolers In Tests

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Scythe Mugen 2

This product comes in a compact cardboard box with a comprehensible and detailed description of what's inside the box -- a detailed list of technical parameters and many photos.

The bundle includes a heatsink, a fan (Slip Stream Series), a multiplatform retention kit (for a wide range of platforms -- Intel Socket 478, LGA775, LGA1366, AMD Socket 754/939/AM2), mounting clips for the fan, a satchel with thermal grease, and a user guide.

The cooler has a 'tower-type' heatsink to be fitted with a bundled fan (120x120x25mm). Dimensions -- 130x100x158mm (without the fan). Weight -- 870g (without a retention module).

The working medium of the cooler is formed by a copper base (38x50x2mm), an additional aluminum heatsink (80x38x33mm), five copper heat pipes (6mm in diameter), and a multi-section aluminum fin-stack (five sections, 46 fins each, total heat exchange surface area of about 10500cm2).

Major advantages of the Mugen 2 design:

  • Technically-elegant division of the fin-stack into five segments (this feature makes the fins more efficient, using the entire fin surface for heat exchange).
  • Balanced fin step (slightly over 2mm) contributes to the record-breaking heat exchange surface area, practically without detriment to the hydraulic efficiency of the heatsink.
  • Secondary aluminum heatsink (offloads heat removal fragments of the heat pipes).
  • Wide layout of heat pipes in the fin-stack (not crowded, don't heat each other).

The only questionable solution is a simplified connection between fins and heat pipes (the pipes are mechanically pressed into the fins). However, judging by test results of the Mugen 2, this nuance has no noticeable effect on its cooling efficiency.

Heatsink technical rating: excellent.

The cooler is equipped with the Slip Stream fan from the same company (Model YLT SY1225SL12LM-P, 1300rpm).

Strong points of this fan:

  • Aggressive aerodynamics tailored for flow rate (almost critical blade angles -- 60°C at the hub and 40°C at the outer edge, enhanced 'work field' - 0.30 hub/blade radius ratio).
  • Acoustic improvements (smooth blade edges, spiral stator supports).
  • High-Q mechanics and electronic (sterling sleeve bearing with all seals present, control circuit based on Sanyo LB11961 with stabilizer capacitors).

A weak spot of the Slip Stream fan is insufficient pressure (which is especially noticeable in low-speed modes). But the bundled fan can form a harmonic and efficient duet with the optimized heatsink of Mugen 2, where impedance is low (it's the nominal flow characteristic that matters here, not the pressure). So we can safely close our eyes to this issue in this cooler.

Fan technical rating: excellent.

The installation procedure of this cooler is not user-friendly in the true sense of this word. But it's better compared to competing coolers -- the cooler is mounted on the LGA775 platform with a support plate and bundled mounting brackets (to be screwed to the base plate). There are no other elements to install.

But the LGA1366 platform may pose some problems that have to do with complex deinstallation of the reference socket plate.

Usability advantages of Mugen 2:

  • PWM control of fan speed (the speed varies within 500-1300rpm).
  • Effective bundled thermal grease (based on aluminum oxide).
  • Detailed user guide.

Usability rating: excellent.

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