Scythe Top-Down Coolers: Kabuto vs. Zipang 2

Cooling
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KABUTO TEST RESULTS

Stock Fan Testing

The stock fan on the Kabuto is the same PWM model that shipped with the Mugen-2, a PWM version of the 1200 RPM SY1225SL12M from the acclaimed Slip Stream series.


Stock Fan Specifications
Manufacturer Scythe Power Rating 2.16 W
Model Number SY1225SL12LM-P Airflow Rating 74.25 CFM
Bearing Type Sleeve RPM Rating 1200
Frame Size 120 x 120 x 25 mm Noise Rating 26.5 dBA
Hub Size 1.41" (35.9 mm) Header Type 4-pin PWM
Weight 110 grams Starting Voltage ~5V
The data in the blue cells is provided by the manufacturer; we measured the data cited in the green cells

The fan that shipped with the Kabuto was slightly louder than one that came with the Mugen-2, particularly in regards to bearing noise — it was not as smooth. This is probably a result of variance or possible damage during shipping. When we placed the Mugen-2's fan on the Kabuto, it tested the same as previously, so it was definitely the fan itself that was slightly "off" — the heatsink it was mounted on did not affect our measurements.

Fan Measurements
Voltage
Mugen 2 Stock Fan
Kabuto Stock Fan
SPL@1m
Speed
SPL@1m
Speed
12V
24 dBA
1340 RPM
26 dBA
1320 RPM
10V
15 dBA
1020 RPM
17 dBA
1020 RPM
9V
12 dBA
790 RPM
13 dBA
810 RPM
8V
11 dBA
500 RPM
11 dBA
560 RPM

Kabuto Fan Subjective Impressions:

@ 12V: The fan produces mostly turbulent noise with a bit of a low-pitched drone.

@ 10V: At this level, the noise drops significantly from 26 dBA@1m to 17 dBA@1m. The acoustics are excellent with only a small amount of benign turbulence, and slight buzz..

@ 9V: The fan sounds fairly smooth, with some noise emanating from the bearing at close proximity.

@ 8V: Inaudible at one meter's distance.

Cooling Results

Scythe Kabuto w/ stock fan
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Temp
°C Rise
°C/W
12V
26 dBA
35°C
11
0.14
10V
17 dBA
38°C
14
0.18
9V
13 dBA
41°C
17
0.22
8V
11 dBA
46°C
22
0.28
Scythe Kabuto w/ reference 120mm fan
12V
16 dBA
37°C
13
0.17
9V
13 dBA
39°C
15
0.19
7V
12 dBA
43°C
19
0.24
5V
11 dBA
50°C
26
0.33
Load Temp: CPUBurn for ~10 mins.
°C Rise: Temperature rise above ambient (24°C) at load.
°C/W: based on the amount of heat dissipated by the CPU (measured 78W); lower is better.

The Scythe Kabuto performed extremely well for a top-down cooler, which are typically perform poorer than vertically-oriented heatsinks. At 12V the CPU temperature was 11°C above ambient, putting it in league with some of today's top heatsinks, though the noise level was much too high at 26 dBA. At 10V, the fan was considerably quieter and performance suffered by only 3°C. At 9V, it measured only 13 dBA which is effectively inaudible at one meter in most environments. Cooling was reduced by another 3°C — the sweet spot for the Kabuto is between 10V and 9V. At 8V, the fan was completely inaudible in our anechoic chamber. The CPU temperature increased by an additional 5°C.

When paired with our reference Nexus fan, cooling efficiency was slightly better (2°C) at the 13 dBA level. At 11 dBA however performance was in Scythe's favor, with a 4°C advantage.



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