Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Scythe Mugen 5 CPU Air Cooler Review

The Mugen 5 is one of the larger CPU air coolers you will find on the market, and with that is has an "asymmetric design for maximum memory compatibility," so it does not extend deep into DIMM territory. The polished copper baseplate, as well as the rest of the HSF is nickel plated. Also we have a newly engineered mounting mechanism.

Introduction

Scythe has been making the Mugen cooler for more years than I can remember. We reviewed the Mugen 4, way back in 2013 and at the time found it to be a very capable cooler. "The best," in fact, at the time it was tested. The CPU cooling landscape has changed quite a bit in the last four years. For starters, we’re seeing more and more AIOs than we did four years ago. Of course, this doesn’t change Scythe’s perspective. They are no stranger to competition and their Mugen coolers have always impressed us. There are lots of users who prefer the maintenance-free approach to cooling their CPU and Scythe is more than happy to oblige. The Mugen 5 checks off a lot of important points when it comes to choosing a competent cooler and we’ll go through them shortly but suffice it to say if you’ve never used a Scythe cooler, you’re in for a treat.

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System Setup

Today's review takes place on our fourth generation [H]ard platform. The test bed consists of the ASUS Z87-Deluxe motherboard, eight gigabytes of Corsair 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and the Intel Core i7-4770K.

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Test Methods

CPU

The biggest change you will notice is the removal of hardware testing. In recent years, Intel has shifted its methods of testing to software based and so we find it acceptable to do the same.

GPU

Once again, we have an integrated GPU in our processor which alleviates the need for a discrete one. With the removal of a discrete GPU comes the advantage of not having an additional variable to account for.

The iGPU will not create any anomalies in our testing as long as we practice consistent testing methods.

Case

Corsair was kind enough to provide us with its Carbide series chassis. It provides excellent airflow and interior space and is a good reflection on current case design.

Thermal Paste

Noctua's NT-H1 thermal paste was selected as the thermal interface material (TIM) of choice for a few key reasons. The thermal paste has been shown to provide excellent thermal conductivity allowing the heat sinks to better do its job. There is no observed curing time. That is, performance does not get any better over time. Any curing time could have introduced variables into the equation causing at best dubious results and at worst unreliable ones.

Temperatures

Ambient temperature will be kept at 25C for the duration of the tests and measured with a MicroTemp EXP non-contact infrared thermometer and cross referenced with the Sperry Digital 4 Point thermometer. Any variance greater then 0.2C will halt the testing until temperatures return within spec for fifteen minutes.

Idle

Idle temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-minute period of inactivity. Any fluctuation during the last sixty seconds will reset the timer for an additional five minutes.

Load

Load temperatures will be recorded after a twenty-minute period for air cooled systems, and thirty minutes for liquid cooled systems, at 100% load. To obtain this load we will be using AIDA64 Extreme Edition v3.00.2500. This places an even greater load on the CPU than before and includes some benefits. Because the load is so extreme we see the temperature vary wildly from 72C to 86C in some instances. To get an accurate reading we will utilize AIDA64’s ability to average the temperature over time. Given twenty/thirty minutes at 100% load we arrive at a temperature that accurately represents our heatsink’s performance.

Sound

Sound levels will be measured with a Reliability Direct AR824 sound meter from a distance of four feet away. With everything turned off and the room completely silent the meter registered a sound level of 38dB(A). This is a very quiet room where a simple pin drop could be heard. All sound measurements are recorded in the very late evening to further reduce any ambient noise.