iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Scythe Mine 2 CPU Cooler

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  • Intel Xeon X3450 CPU
  • Intel DP55KG motherboard
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Digital thermometer Aktakom ATT-2002 with a calibrated K-type thermocouple integrated into processor cover
  • Victor VC86C multimeter with a calibrated K-type thermocouple
  • Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound


  • Noiseless — cooler is passive.
  • Almost noiseless — below 24 dBA. Quieter than a typical quiet room (in the evening or at night). Cooler barely adds to the noise of a passively cooled PC equipped with noise-reducing hard drive enclosures and such.
  • Low noise — 24 dBA to 30 dBA. Cooler barely adds to the noise of a PC where every other cooler is quiet.
  • Average noise — 31 dBA to 36 dBA. Cooler barely adds to the noise of a typical PC, but makes audible noise in a quiet PC.
  • Loud noise — 37 dBA to 42 dBA. Cooler makes audible noise in most typical PCs except those equipped with 10000-rpm hard drives, high-speed coolers and such.
  • Very loud noise — over 42 dBA. Cooler is the primary source of noise in any PC. Not recommended for home use.

Briefly, the testing procedure is as follows. The tested cooler is mounted on the CPU according to the supplied user's guide. Then it's heated up in three 30-minute sessions by means of a special S&M tool. During those we measure CPU temperatures (and monitor ambient temperature).

We tested the cooler under high heat load: 3.81GHz processor clock rate, VCC = 1.4125V, VTT = 1.2V, heat power emitted through CPU cover is 185W, the full power is about 210W.

Two more rigs were tested aside from the regular testbed: with one more Slip Stream fan attached (two in total; tested at 300/500/700/1100/1900 rpm), and with two more optional fans installed (three in total; tested at 300/500/700/1100/1900 rpm and 300/500/900/1900 rpm).

CPU temperature, lowest possible noise

Thermal resistance, lowest possible noise

Excellent results! Aside from the record performance of dual and triple-fan configurations which rule the competition, the typical single-fan installation is also very nice, sharing the first place with Noctua NH-C14. But the most important thing is that Scythe Mine 2 can cool down a 180-190-watt CPU while producing just 20-21 dBA of noise. This is a true achievement.

CPU temperature, almost noiseless (<24 dBA)

Thermal resistance, almost noiseless (<24 dBA)

The typical configuration is once again the best among single-fan installations. The dual and triple-fan configurations do greatly as well, performing on a par or even better than the acknowledged Noctua NH-D14 and Thermalright IFX-14. Well, that's the whole idea behind Mine 2 — to provide maximum efficiency at low fan speeds. If silence is your primary concern, Scythe Mine 2 may be the perfect choice.

Now let's see how it performs at slightly higher speeds and louder noise — against solutions like Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, Ice Hammer IH-4350B and Thermaltake Contac 29.

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