What’s a Mugen?
The term Mugen is completely new to me. There could be infinite possibilities for what it means, but you came for a CPU cooler review. While I had at least heard of Scythe, the company is a new experience for me as well. The company as a whole seems to have a positive vibe on the internet. Will the Mugen 5 live up to expectations? We’ll find out pretty soon.
At Scythe, we believe that the best ideas for product come simply from knowing customers’ needs and their expectations. Based on this philosophy, the PC enthusiasts working at Scythe know what to develop because that is exactly what we would like to have for ourselves too! We offer products with 100% quality assurance and total pride, and if the product has the Scythe name on it, you can rest assure that its quality will be up to the “Zero Tolerance” standards!
Packaging and Accessories
That company statement says “Zero Tolerance” when it comes to their quality. Scythe is already off to a great start. The Mugen is packaged excellently in the box it comes in. The artwork on the box is top notch as well. I appreciate the use of foam to protect and hold the cooler in place. It’s much easier to remove, or repackage at a later date. If you ended up reselling this cooler, you would have no problems which is great.
Most of the accessories are directly related to the install. That’s expected, but Scythe does include an actual tube of thermal paste. I’m really glad it wasn’t one of those annoying packets. You might notice however that an LNA wasn’t included. There’s a good reason for that and we’ll come back to that soon. Even the manual looked like it had a good amount of thought put into it. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but only by a hair. What’s sad is how many manuals are SO much worse.
Scythe Mugen 5 Closer Look
The best way to describe the first impression I got from this cooler is Noctua. Yes, I know these are completely different companies, and I only mean this as a compliment to both. The Mugen 5 had such an excellent feel of quality to it that I was slightly blown away. Not one aspect of this cooler feels like it’s been skimped on in any way, but there’s more to it than that.
For starters, the fan comes in a neutral black/gray color scheme. That’s excellent! Granted, this cooler won’t appease those of us who love RGB (guilty!), but it won’t dramatically clash with anything in the build either. Also, I imagine builders who love a professional look will be very pleased. Finally, Scythe included caps to cover the ends of the heat pipes on top. This isn’t the only cooler to do this, but it’s always a welcomed sight.
I might sound like a broken record, but the best way to describe the install process is yet again, Noctua. I expect CPU coolers to use AMD’s included bracket anymore and Scythe does exactly that. After mounting the black spacers, all you need to do is screw in the brackets. There’s no tool-less design here, but Scythe includes the perfect screwdriver for all things computer building, not just CPU cooler installs. After the brackets are in, it’s a simple 1 – 2 process of tightening the mounting screws to secure the cooler. Even the fan clips in easily since the clips grab hold of the mounting holes in the frame.
If that install process sounds too easy, that’s because it is. In fact, Scythe has what I might consider to be the best install process to date. I can’t say for sure, but there is at least two major factors that are pushing me towards that conclusion. For starters, the angle design on the entire heat sink is fantastic. Once the fan is installed, the entire unit is centered in relation to the CPU socket. This means you’ll be hard-pressed to run into a RAM clearance issue. The other great feature is that beautiful screw driver Scythe includes with the Mugen. The shaft is long so it can reach the screws through the tower, but the long shaft is great for just about anything when building a computer. Plus, it has a real handle. This will now and always be my main screw driver!
Testing Methodology and Results
Let’s begin with the specs of my test system.
- AMD Ryzen 1800X CPU
- Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Motherboard
- 2x Sapphire R9 290X Graphics Cards
- Crucial MX500 SSD
- Cooler Master H500P Case
- NZXT E850 PSU
My favorite stress test program is OCCT. I use the small data set to really turn up the heat on my 1800X. Afterwards, I let the the system heat up for 10 minutes to help the cooler warm up a bit. Then using HWInfo, I monitor the temperatures for 20 minutes. I pull the average number once the time is up, and that’s my cooling result. During that time, I use a phone app to monitor 30 seconds of the noise level from a hands breadth away, and use the average number the app shows for the result. If there isn’t a software based profile, then 100% fan speed is used.
The Mugen 5 isn’t winning the lowest temperature award, but that isn’t a problem. The cooling performance is really good considering that not only do we have a single tower design, but this only a 120mm unit on top of that. What really impresses when it comes to cooling performance is the noise level. Scythe wins the lowest decibel level in the list of coolers I had to test against. If you want solid cooling performance that doesn’t make hardly any noise, you’ll also have a cooler that is super easy to maintain. This is an awesome result from this company.
Let’s go back to that “Zero Tolerance” statement from the beginning. If I was to compare the Mugen 5 in relation to that, then I’d have to say Scythe is doing exactly what they set out to do. Of course I also have to judge the cooler by my own standards and this cooler passes all my expectations with flying colors. I can’t find one thing to complain about. My only request at this point is that Scythe brings this level of detail to CLCs and RGB coolers.
As always, we have to look at the pricing and see if Scythe is keeping things reasonable. Amazon has the B Revision and it’s only $48. At one point in time, that might have been a bit pricey, but coolers have been going up in price over the years. Anything under $50 isn’t too bad now. This means that the final step of meeting this reviewer’s demands is met. That’s a very reasonable price for a top tier unit. If you’re debating grabbing the Scythe Mugen 5 CPU cooler, there is no reason you should hesitate.