Scythe Mugen Max CPU Cooler Review
Over the past few reviews I’ve been looking at external peripherals, this time round I have been provided with a CPU cooler to review. This gives me the chance to leverage my specially purchased and specified Test Rig for its true purpose (not just for playing games at higher frame rates!)
I’ve been given a Scythe Mugen Max (SCMGD-1000) CPU Cooler to install and review, and this is going to be an interesting step into the realm of cooling and overclocking for me (not too heavy on the Overclocking though as you will be seeing later).
The Cooler is designed to be able to be used with dual fans, however only one is provided in the box as standard, and so this review will be carried out with just the one fan.
I’ve never used a product from Scythe before and in fact have not even looked at my Raijintek Themis CPU cooler since I installed it! I am interested to see what effect on the thermal temperatures this cooler might have. It certainly looks larger than my Themis just by eye and offers plenty of cooling functionality.
On with the install and on with the review!
‘Scythe Mugen Max
For enthusiasts and Mugen fans the like, Scythe is “setting free” the Mugen MAX. Another contender for the “XL” CPU tower cooler market, the Mugen MAX is a real eye-catcher. For performance, a GlideStream 140mm PWM fan is taking care of blowing out the warm air through the T-M.A.P.S. (Three-dimensional Multiple Airflow Pass- through Structure) known from Scythe’s flagship, the Mugen 4. For practical, easy mounting, the mounting system is borrowed from the “smaller brother” as well. Nickel-plated heatpipes add a classy touch to this impressive cooler.’
On the front of a mainly white box, we see a picture of the Scythe Mugen Max, Scythe logo and the model name and number.
On the back of the box we find the Warranty information, along with some cautions on electric shock injury and cooler space required within your case (this is a BIG cooler).
The left side provides the CPU cooler features:
The right side of the box shows some drawn images of the cooler and fan with dimensions along with a specification list (more of that below).
- Scythe Mugen Max CPU Cooler
- Scythe 140mm Fan
- 4x Fan Clips
- Fittings Kit (for both Intel and AMD processors)
- Thermal Paste
- Installation Wrench
- Installation Guide
At the time of writing, the Scythe Mugen Max is available from Amazon for £52.50 and offers a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Scythe
Scythe Mugen Max
|Model Name||Mugen MAX CPU Cooler|
|Compatibility-Intel®||Socket LGA775, Socket LGA1150, Socket LGA1155, Socket LGA1156, Socket LGA1366, Socket LGA2011 (Square ILM)|
|Compatibility-AMD®||Socket AM2, Socket AM2+, Socket AM3, Socket AM3+, Socket FM1, Socket FM2, Socket FM2+|
|Overall Dimensions||145 x 86 x 161 mm / 5.71 x 3.39 x 6.34 in (w/o fan)|
|Weight||720 g / 25.40 oz (heatsink only)|
|Baseplate Material||Nickel-plated copper (additional information)|
|Model Name||GlideStream 140 PWM|
|Fan Size||140 x 140 x 25 mm / 5.51 x 5.51 x 0.98 in|
|Noise Level||13 ~ 30.7 dBA|
|Air Flow||63,5 ~ 165m³/h / 37.37 ~ 97.18 CFM|
|Fan Speed||500 rpm (± 300) ~ 1.300 rpm (±10%) (PWM-regulated)|
|Static Pressure||0.15 ～ 1.02 mmH2O / 1,47 ～ 10,0 Pa|
|Bearing Type||Sleeve Bearing|
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Mugen Max was just how big it seemed compared to my existing cooler! The heatsink unit itself is BIG and mostly fills the packaging. I’m intrigued to see the impact this has on the temprature my CPU produces at the various overclocks!
The front view of the Mugen Max shows the vast cooling area and the straight through fins and also the 6 Heatpipes from the CPU Plate. The heatsink is split into 4 cooling blocks, and there are 3 heatpipes per block. The heatsink itself measures in at 145(L) x 86(W) x 161(H)mm and weighs 720g.
The side view shows the angled positions of the heatpipes and the offset of the base, that moves the heatsink away from the memory modules allowing the installation of the fan.
The top view shows off the neat highly polished top plate (hides the tops of the heatpipes) with the raised Scythe logo pressed into it. You will also notice a hole in the plate, its use becomes apparent later in the review during installation.
The bottom view shows those 6 Heatpipes all meeting in at the beautifully polished (and hopefully flat) base. Here you can more clearly see the division of the heatpipes over the 4 cooling blocks.
The Fan provided with the Mugen Max seems to be well made and smooth in operation (on spinning it by hand). It comes with a nicely braided cable of a length that looks like it will lend itself perfectly to installation in my rig!
The Mugen Max looks on the surface to be a nice piece of kit. It’s well designed and seems to tick all the boxes for a good cooler. I am intrigued by the offset base position and wonder how this will effect the installation. Fitting the cooler will tell us more!
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer||CPU||Intel Core i5-4690K CPU|
|CPU Cooler||Scythe Mugen Max||RAM||Kingston HyperX Savage 8GB 2400MHz|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte 7970 GHz Edition||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB SSD|
Installation-wise, the Scythe Mugen Max seems like any other cooler, mount a back plate with knurled bolts, then screw on mounting plates then place the heatsink and finally screw on a cross plate.
I identified the parts I would need for the install on an Intel motherboard, these were easily found using the enclosed fitting instructions.
Firstly place the back plate against the back of the motherboard. The back plate has rubber pads on the motherboard side for dampening and insulation and three holes in each leg at differing offsets for different Intel processor model installations. I found that passing one knurled bolt through the motherboard hole (making sure to fit the plastic washer first) and screwing it into the correct hole on the back plate allows the others to be screwed in by simply (and gently) swinging the back plate on that bolt. Get the other holes lined up and screw in the other 3 bolts.
The bolts used are numbered on the instructions and can be cross referenced back to the Items list. The bolts I needed were the longer of the two sets provided for differing processor types.
Once all the bolts are in place, I tweaked them up with a screwdriver (NOT too tight) and moved on to fitting the mounting plates. Again these were easily identified using the instructions part numbers and the Items List and fitted in the correct orientation, (nice use of images here to show that the plates need to be fitted with the middle “ripple” shape UP from the motherboard). These plates are screwed into place using cross-head screws, so a screwdriver is needed here (again tight, but not TOO tight).
I then cleaned my processor with Arctic Silver ArctiClean Thermal Material Remover, and polished the processor with ArctiClean Thermal Surface Purifier. Once fully clean I applied Arctic Silver 5 to the processor ready for the heatsink to be fitted.
The heatsink was placed on the processor and the last mounting plate was laid across it. This plate has tabs on it that slot into spaces on the Heatsink base, and once fitted in the correct place showed that one of the last two bolts actually sits right under the edge of the heatsink fins.
It was at this point I remembered two things… That there was a hole in the top heatsink plate and that I had been provided with a cute little wrench in the kit!
I noticed that the last two bolts offered a cross head screwdriver fitment and also a hex head, of just the right size to fit the wrench. So here you have two choices. If you have a very long bladed cross-head screwdriver, then you can pass that down through the heatsink via the hole in the top plate to get to the top of the bolt. Alternatively (and this is the route I took) you can tighten the bolt using the wrench.
To get the two bolts at equal pressure I used the wrench on both bolts, and gradually did them up one after the other, spreading the loading on the processor across the plate. Although it doesn’t say this in the install instructions I would suggest NOT tightening one side up first followed by the other side, but to alternate tightening each a little at a time.
Another thing to note is that you are using a wrench here with plenty of option to overtighten these bolts, so please go careful!
Once the cooler was bolted down I simply added the fan to the setup using the very easy to mount clips. These slot into the fan mounting holes and are stretched around the sides of the heatsink, and into pre-cut slots, followed by plugging in the fan connector to the motherboard, a very simple and painless experience!
One other point I noted when the installation was complete is that the offset of the cooling stack with the base plate, means that even with the provided fan installed, the whole cooler does NOT sit over the Memory slots but just (and I mean JUST) moves the whole assembly to the side of the memory slots.
If you are going with the stock fan only, then the fan could be moved to the other side of the cooler stack giving more room. What this all means is reduced issues with tall memory heatsinks!
Well that’s everything installed, now lets try some benchmarks.
For CPU Cooler testing, we here at pcGameware run Prime95 for a 15 minute period. During this period the temperature is monitored with CoreTemp and the cooling performance recorded (the max recorded is the average for all cores). Between each stress test we allow a 15 minute cool-down to allow for more accurate results. To help with fan speed accuracy we use SpeedFan whilst using the ASRock motherboard UEFI to adjust the fan speed. A close eye is also kept on the ambient temperature, with the maximum being recorded for each run, this allows us to calculate the Delta temperature (Core – Ambient = Delta). Each run was performed with the Intel Core i5-4690K CPU at the following frequencies: 3.5GHz (Stock) and 4.0GHz (using the ASROCK OC Tweaker, shown in the picture below), all results have been recorded with CPU-Z.
* Please note: To ascertain the maximum and minimum noise levels produced by our CPU test coolers. The db is recorded at a distance of 1 metre from the cooler, with all case fans unplugged to isolate the sound in question.
Processor speed is set using the OC Tweaker tab of the BIOS, “Disabled” for stock speeds (3.5 GHz) and “Turbo 4.0GHz” for the minor overclock tests. It should be noted that changing the OC settings resets the Fan Speeds, so these are checked on the next reboot and reset to “Full Speed” (see below).
All the fans installed in the system are set to 100% speed using the displayed settings, this is simple with the ASROCK BIOS with the option of “Full Speed” being available for all system fans (bar the Power Supply Fan header).
As stated above, to make our performance tests easier to follow and to get the most accurate recordings, all of the following tests have been carried out with case fans set at 100% and the Scythe Mugen Max fan also set at 100%.
- Intel Core i5-4690K – 3.5GHz (stock)
|CPU Cooler||Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|Scythe Mugen Max||100%||22.00||47.00||25.00||36db|
I fire up my pcG Test Rig and the Scythe Mugen Max Fan is set to 100%. The fan seems very quiet and comes in at a sound level of 36db! The performance seems pretty good here with the i5-4690k set at its 3.5GHz stock speed (47.00C).
Lets Overclock the rig and see how the cooler performs when put under a little pressure!
- Intel Core i5-4690K – 4.0GHz (OC Tweaker)
|CPU Cooler||Fan Speed||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature||Noise Level|
|Scythe Mugen Max||100%||22.00||55.75||33.75||36db|
ASROCK OC Tweaker is set to 4.0GHz Turbo, giving the i5-4690k small performance boost, the Scythe Mugen Max really comes into its own here keeping those temperatures well down. The CPU is easily well within its desired temperature range with an average of 55.75C.
Having taken one look at the Scythe Mugen Max CPU Cooler compared to my existing Raijintek Themis I had high hopes for a great performer and I wasn’t disappointed.
On arrival the box looked great nice graphics and good information provided. The box looked big at first and I was expecting loads of packing material, but in fact the Cooler pretty much filled the box! Everything was packaged safely and securely though.
Once removed from the box the cooler is, well, what you would expect, a tower of cooling fins! Nothing too fancy here, other than the Scythe Logo on the top plate. The lack of Heatpipe ends crimped over was pleasing to see (the top plate covers them), as was the fact that there were 6 Heatpipes in play.
Fitting the cooler was a breeze with the instructions being very simple to follow. The numbered parts in the parts list of the instructions helped here, as they were referenced all through the install. On the matter of space required, the offset of the cooler stack is a neat idea with the only potential drawback being that one of the bolts that holds the cooler in place is under the stack. Scythe have covered this off by supplying a wrench to do this last bolt up, as well as offering a hole to pass a screwdriver through should you have one long enough. This offset does move the whole cooler (including the fan) towards the back of the case enough to just about miss the memory heatsinks (well on my motherboard anyway), with the result that the memory heatsinks could be as tall as they liked and still not foul against the cooler!
Noise wise the Scythe Mugen Max comes in with an average db rating of 36db at 100% fan speed, bear in mind that running the fan at this speed wouldn’t generally happen.
Where the Mugen Max does excel is in its main purpose, as a cooler. At standard CPU clock speeds the delta temperature is good and is 4.25 degrees lower than the Raijintek Themis, a pleasing result. Applying a mild overclock to 4.0 GHz (and increasing voltages) using OC Tweaker, the Mugen Max keeps everything nice and cool with another delta temperature returned that is 4.75 degrees lower. I’d love to see this cooler run at higher overclocks to see how much it really can keep the temperatures down, and may pursue this at a later stage.
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Many thanks to Scythe for providing this sample for review