Deep breath now...The Mugan4 has a three-dimensional multiple airflow pass-through structure fin design, coupled with a 120mm GlideStream PWM fan. Well that's how Scythe describe it anyway. We do love those chaps in marketing, but when you decipher the gobbled gook what you're actually left with is a description of a pretty traditional tower cooler with a 120mm fan strapped on the front.
Although traditional if not old school in looks, the Mugan4 though is actually a chunky little number, being 130mm wide and standing as it does only 156mm tall. It also feels surprisingly light for its size. We think this might be down to the use of Aluminium heat pipes as opposed to copper ones. Whether this will affect performance will be seen when we come to the testing.
|Intel Compatibility||Socket 2011 Socket 1366 Socket 1156 Socket 1155 Socket 1150 Socket 775|
|AMD Compatibility||Socket FM2 Socket FM1 Socket AM3+ Socket AM3 Socket AM2+ Socket AM2|
|Air Flow||20.7 to 79 CFM|
|Sound Level||5.3 to 28 dB(A)|
|Fan Speed||400 to 1400 RPM|
|Fan Connection||4 Pin PWM|
|Fan Dimensions||120 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Approx. Cable Length||300 mm|
|Fan LED Colour||n/a|
|Materials||Copper and Aluminium|
|Special Features||PWM Fan Speed Multi Fan Mount Structure HPMS Mounting System|
|Package Contents||1 x Scythe CPU Cooler 1 x Scythe Fan HPMS Mount|
Up Close: Packaging and Contents
Unlike a great many manufacturers who go for the demure elegant artistic look to their packaging, Scythe very much favour the Shouty "Look at me" and "Look what I can do" approach. Nothing actually wrong with the as such and it certainly helps to have all the information about the product so readily displayed, with hardly an inch of the surface left graphics or text free.
Inside the box aside from the cooler itself and a 120mm PWM fan we find a set of additional fan mounting clips (making two sets in total), a multi platform back plate, mounting hardware for both AMD and Intel sockets and a bag containing not only all the nuts bolts and washers you'll need, but also a small amount of TIM and a handy dandy little spanner
Up Close: The Cooler
Measuring 156x130x88mm (H,W,D) the Mugan4 is wide for a cooler of it's height, giving it a more squat look than some of the taller slimmer units we've looked at recently. Scythe have still been able to cram 50 Aluminium Fins into the fin stack though
As you can see from the images below, the fins themselves are very thin with the 6 heatpipes distributed evenly within the stack.
The Stack itself is split into four sections with occasional bridging fins connecting the towers to aid rigidity. The heat pipes are terminated in simple aluminium end caps
The Scythe website doesn't confirm what the heatpipes are made of, and although they appear copper coloured the light weight of the unit had us suspicious that they were actually Aluminium. Our suspicions were confirmed when we took a sharp blade to an inconspicuous area and shaped off a bit of the copper coating to discover the shiny aluminium underneath
Up Close: Cooler and Fan Assembly
The supplied 120mm fans speed can be varied between 400 and 1400rpm either by use of a fan controller or via the motherboard with PWM functionality. At full tatt the fan emits 28dB(A) while pushing 79 CFM of air at a static pressure of 1.56mmH20. Not bad figures by any means, especially when you take into account that the whole assembly only costs £40, but we can never help but wonder why Scythe don't supply their coolers bundled with one of their excellent Gentle Typhoon fans.
With the fan attached by means of traditional spring clips the Mugan4 takes on an almost cubic appearance. an 88mm thick stack and a 25mm thick fan means that the front of the fan will be sticking out some 69mm from the centre line of the CPU, and will most likely give RAM encroachment issues with tall RAM heatsinks
The mounting method is pretty much the same regardless of whether you're mounting to Intel or AMD hardware. Here we are of course mounting to socket 2011 set up inside our CoolerMaster "Test Trooper" rig, so we've no need for the multi platform back plate. Step one is to screw stand off bolts into the motherboard holes. As you might imagine there are varying sets of these inside the Bag'o'bolts that comes with the cooler. Next step is to screw down the required cross braces. These will act as the mounting points for the cooler itself.
A cross brace is slid through the bottom of the cooler, locating on a lug on top of the contact plate to stop it slipping. The Cooler is then eased down onto the CPU, not forgetting of course to apply TIM by whichever method you absolutely swear by. The Cross brace is then tightened down using the supplied short spanner, Alternatively you can use a long shaft screw driver if you have one to hand. There are no tensioning springs here to guide your torsion, however the instructions do very handily state that you should not over tighten the screws! We screwed ours all the way down till they stopped and all seemed fine.
Even without the fan in place the Mugan4 gets awfully close to the first RAM slot. With the fan attached it's clear to see that this cooler will not be compatible with anything other than standard RAM, so if you're rocking humungous or even humble heatsinks you need to look elsewhere.
The Mugan4 fits nicely into our CoolerMaster Test Trooper, and even though it doesn't have the visual clout of some of the sexier coolers on the market it still looks the part in a sort of old school way.
Performance and Testing
The test set up consisted of the following
Intel i7 3960X Stock@ 1.1v (undervolted) 4.0GHz @ 1.25v 4.4GHz @ 1.35v 4.6GHz @ 1.45v Gigabyte X79 UD3 Corsair Vengeance LP Memory Corsair HX850 V2 Corsair Force GT 60GB Coolermaster Storm Trooper.
As usual we'll be testing our coolers at varying levels of overclock and increasing levels of voltage. this in turn of course means increasing levels of heat which the coolers need to dissipate. To begin with we start with the undervolted stock speed. Why undervolted? well if you have things set on "Auto", you may well be using more volts than are actually required to run at the chosen frequency, for example our 3960s will run quite happily at just 1.1volts, solid as a rock, 24/7, and as such we use this as our starting point.
Continuity is very important in testing, and for this reason we keep as many of the potential variables as locked down as possible. We will be using OCCT in Linpack X64, AVX compatible with all logical cores tested and 90% free memory utilised. The test is set up to run automatically with just a few clicks to set it going. A 10 minute idle followed by 30 minutes of testing and a 5 minute cool down is the order of the day and brings the total test time per clock speed to 45 minutes. So as to remove subjectivity in determining whether a CPU has failed, OCCT is set to stop the test and register a fail should the max temp exceed 80 degrees. In testing we noted that if even just one of the cores exceeds 82 degrees OCCT halts the test and a fail is recorded.
The Mugan4 doesn't come with any low noise adapters or additional fans so for once the testing was a relatively simple and quick process, simply strap on the fan and test at the varying overclocks
It's fair to say we were quite shocked by the Mugan4s performance, even at this undervolted level it's cooling the chip better than pretty much all the tower air coolers, including the recently tested NH-U12S and the bigger NH-U14S. Heck, it's only a few degrees off the mighty NH-D14. OK, so the 12S and 14S are slimmer units with less surface area on the fin stack, but just look how the Mugan4 compares to the mahoosive Alpenfohn K2, which don't forget is a twin fan cooler. That's not the end of it though as the Mugan4 also beats a good few of the AIOs, including the Eisberg 120 and 240 models. It even betters the X40 and H100 albeit with them on their lowest fan settings. Performance at this undervolted level though is no guarantee that the Mugan$ will hold its own as the volts increase.
Turning now to the 4GHz test we up the voltage to 1.25 volts, this is what is deemed normally as stock volts. Something we are always harping on about on the forums is AUTO does not mean stock volts, and normally if you overclocking with "auto" volts the motherboard will be upping the volts much more than needed if you were to do it manually. By whichever means it happens, upping the volts (especially from our 1.1v undervolt) does have a big impact on temps, with an average increase of 10-15 degrees seen in the results.
At the higher levels of heat generated by the increase in voltage required for the 4.0GHz overclock, fan performance, although still a factor becomes less critical, replaced instead by a coolers ability to conduct the heat up the heat pipes and more crucially the total surface area of the fins enabling convection to the atmosphere. This can be seen in the Mugan4s temps as it again betters the NH-U12S in both single and dual fan mode, and the bigger 140mm fan based NU-U14S with both single and dual fans. The Mugan4 is also pulling out a lead on the Prolimatech Genesis and Megahalem black, as well as the matterhorn Pure, and although the 240mm rad of the Eisberg 240L may be engendering slightly lower temps the mighty Mugan 4 is still beasting the 120L model and both high and low fan speeds, and coming within a tenth of a degree of the Corsair H60
Upping the volts still further we achieve a stable 4.4GHz overclock at 1.35 Volts. It's here we start to separate the wheat from the chaff, with lesser coolers not able to disperse the increased heat effectively. Again we see a jump of 10 degrees or so from the figures at 4GHz. Both the H100 and the well-respected D14 are creeping into the 70s here, indicating that only the cream of the crop will excel at this level.
This is where we start to separate the men from the boys. So how did the Mugan4 do? Well pretty damn well actually. It's still beating the dual fan configuration of the NH-U14S by a few degrees, and bettering the Alpenfohn K2 by a good 3 degrees, being only 3-4 degrees off the pace of the D14, which remember is nearly twice the price. Conspicuous by their absence are the other air coolers we've looked at as they simply couldn't make the grade at this level. As you might expect though the majority of the AIOs and water cooling systems have pulled ahead by a fair margin, with only their low speed temps coming close to those of the Mugan4
Having gotten this far we were really quite hopeful that the Mugan4 might make it into the hallowed 4.6GHz club, but sadly it was not to be with the temps popping over 80 degrees some 15 minutes into the test and triggering an automatic fail.
When reviewing a cooler we often talk about the holy trinity of noise, looks and performance, as these are the main factors to consider when assessing the overall abilities of a cooler. Into this we add price and of course ease of installation but if the cooler fails significantly in the trinity test then it doesn't really matter that it might be a dream to fit and be really really cheap.
Starting with noise at full speed the supplied 120mm fan at full tatt the fan emits 28dB(A) This drops all the way down to a near whisper of 5.3sB(A) when the fans speed is reduced to the lowest speed of just 400 RPM, appreciating of course that the lower the fan speed the worse the performance. Although 28dB9A) might seem quite loud in relative terms, subjectively we didn't find the noise any more intrusive than the other fans within the case so can't really mark the Mugan4 down for it.
The Mugan4 isn't perhaps the most attractive cooler on the market today, but neither is it ugly, with the all-aluminium look giving it a certain old school charm. Its chunky dimensions certainly give it "case presence" even if this does cause some RAM encroachment issues. Build quality is also good for a cooler this cheap, remember it's only £40. although we are a little perplexed with why Scythe have gone to the trouble of painting the 6 Aluminium heat pipes to resemble copper when most manufactures shine theirs up to make them not look like copper. The black fan that comes with the cooler is a simple back affair with no LEDs or bling to speak of, and although better looking than the Wheelie bin colours of the Gentle Typhoon range we still think we'd rather have had this cooler coupled with an 1800 RPM model of the GT.
It's when we come to the performance of the Mugan4 that we really start to smile. betting as it does pretty much all of the other air coolers we've tested and a good few of the AIOs at the lower levels of overclock, the Mugan4 is still in the chats when we get up to the 4.4GHz test and even then is still able to beat the dual fan configuration of the NH-U14S by a few degrees, and betters the Alpenfohn K2 by a good 3 degrees, being only 3-4 degrees off the pace of the D14, which remember is nearly twice the price. Conspicuous by their absence are the other air coolers we've looked at as they simply couldn't make the grade at this level. As you might expect though the majority of the AIOs and water cooling systems have pulled ahead by a fair margin, with only their low fan speed temps coming close to those of the Mugan4.
This performance though comes at a price. The chunky squat form of the Mugan4 will cause RAM encroachment issues with both massive and miniscule RAM heatsinks, basically anything more than a thin wrap round folded Aluminium coat. So if you're sporting strikingly large RAM then this isn't the cooler for you, and sadly the Mugan4 will lose a few points where it counts. Thankfully though, even though there's quite a deal of overhang the fitting method adopted by Scythe for the Mugan4 is simplicity itself, even if the lack of tensioning springs did leave us wondering just how tight was too tight.
If you're already taken by the performance of the Mugan4 and aren't too bothered by the less than bling looks your smile is going to spread even wider when you look at the very reasonable £40 price tag. Granted another £10 or so will get you into entry level AIO territory, but if you don't have that £10 or you just don't fancy an AIO then the Mugan4 is a very good option
All in all we're really quite impressed with the Mugan4. When we first plucked it out of the box we were more than a little concerned that its light weight and low price tag would be indicative of poor build quality and mediocre performance, but this hasn't been the case at all. With the Mugan4 Scythe prove that a decent well-made low price tower cooler can hold its own in a market that is increasingly being woo'd over to the wet side.
Thanks to Quiet PC for sending the Mugan in for review, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.