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Maximum PC Staff

Jan 13, 2010

Scythe Kabuto

At A Glance

Kablooey

Better-than-stock performance; PWM fan is nice to see.

Calamity

Poor performance; bad mounting bracket; high price. Scythe's own Mugen 2 does it much better.

Big and bad, and not in a good way

When we reviewed the Scythe Mugen 2 in the December issue, we praised its performance and ease of installation but bemoaned its enormous size. But now that we’ve tested its cousin, the Scythe Kabuto cooler, we’ve learned to be careful what we wish for. The good news is that the Kabuto mostly forgoes the Mugen 2’s ample proportions. The bad news is that it also forgoes the easy installation and excellent cooling.

The Kabuto’s heat-dissipation system looks like someone took a standard skyscraper-style air-cooler’s fin stack and bent it 90 degrees, so the heat pipes run parallel to the motherboard instead of up into the air. A 12cm 1,300rpm Scythe PWM fan sits atop the fin stack and blows air downward. At the base, the six heat pipes are sandwiched between the CPU heat exchanger and a solid heatsink, but aren’t integrated into either, thus reducing the Kabuto’s cooling power.


A terrible mounting bracket and average performance scuttle this cooler.

Though the Kabuto is shorter than the Mugen 2 and most of the other coolers we’ve tested recently, it’s not small. It rises 4.9 inches above the motherboard, and is 5.25 inches to a side—just big enough to make its choice of mounting system for Socket 775 and 1136 a terrible one. The Kabuto uses the same plastic pin mounts as a stock Intel cooler. These work fine on a stock cooler, eliminating the need to mess around behind the motherboard. But the Kabuto’s fin array is large enough that it completely overhangs the pins, making mounting an incredibly frustrating procedure, especially on a Socket 775 board.

When we finally got the Kabuto installed in our test rig, we hoped its cooling power would compensate for its terrible install. It did not. The Kabuto’s performance at idle was no better than the stock cooler: 35.25 C, compared to 31.75 C from our champion Cooler Master Hyper 212+. At full burn, the Kabuto did better, cooling our rig’s CPU to 55 C, 10 degrees cooler than stock. But the Hyper 212+ managed 44 C under the same conditions.

Scythe is selling the Kabuto for $60, $10 more than its own Mugen 2 (which we awarded a 9/Kick Ass), and twice the cost of Cooler Master’s Hyper 212+. Poor performance, a terrible mounting bracket, and an exorbitant price spell doom for the Kabuto.
THE VERDICT

Scythe Kabuto

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