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.
They just keep getting bigger and bigger. Now that CPU air-cooling manufacturers have seemingly settled on the skyscraper school of heatsink design, there seems to be a competition over who can cram the most cooling fins into the largest area. Scythe’s Mugen 2 air cooler, the follow-up to its popular Mugen series, is one of the largest coolers of this type that we’ve ever tested. But can it match the cooling power of its slightly smaller cousins, such as Thermalright’s U-120 eXtreme?
The Mugen 2 is a hefty hunk of a cooler, at 5.1 inches wide, 5 inches deep (with the included 12cm fan), and 6.2 inches high; it weighs nearly two pounds. It’s not the heaviest cooler we’ve ever tested, nor the most unwieldy, but its girth could certainly prevent you from installing it in all orientations on all motherboards. We had trouble fitting it in some orientations on our EVGA 680i SLI board—our usual preference being to install the cooler fan parallel with the rear exhaust fan. On our board, though, there wasn’t room; we resorted to attaching the cooler fan perpendicular to the rear exhaust fan. Thankfully, this didn’t seem to impact performance, as the Mugen 2 performed slightly better in our tests than the Thermalright U120-eXtreme—about 2.25 C cooler at both idle and full CPU burn.