Scythe Top-Down Coolers: Kabuto vs. Zipang 2

Cooling
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COMPARABLES

The performance results of the Zipang 2 and the Kabuto are almost identical when the SPL is used as the reference. The Zipang 2's cooling performance falls shy at the higher speed, but mainly because of the Kabuto fan's much higher speed, which comes with a stiff noise price tag. When the fans on the two heatsinks are matched for <20 dBA noise, then the cooling performance is only marginally separated. With these smooth sounding fans, anything below ~ 15 dBA@1m as measured in our anechoic chamber is essentially inaudble; for 99% of users, no further noise reductions will be audible due to the masking effect of other noises in the environment.

Cooling: Kabuto vs Zipang 2 w/ stock fans
SPL
Zipang 2
Kabuto
dBA@1m
°C Rise
°C Rise
26
-
11
19
13
-
17
-
14
14
15
-
13
-
17
12
18
-
11
27
22

°C rise Comparison: The Best of the Best
Heatsink
Nexus 120mm fan voltage / SPL @1m
12V
9V
7V
5V
16 dBA
13 dBA
12 dBA
11 dBA
Prolimatech Megahalems
10
14
17
20
Thermalright U120E
12
14
17
24
Thermalright HR-01+
13
15
16
20
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
13
15
18
22
Scythe Kabuto
13
15
19
26
Noctua NH-U12P
14
16
17
21
Zalman CNPS10X Extreme
14
17
21
26
Zerotherm Zen FZ120
15
16
19
24
Scythe Mugen-2
15
17
19
23
Noctua NH-C12P
16
18
21
26
Scythe Ninja 2
17
18
20
23
Subject Coolers with stock fans
(some cooling results extrapolated for SPL)
Scythe Kabuto
14
17
18
22
Scythe Zipang 2*
14
17
18
27
* Not tested with reference 120mm fan.

The Kabuto is the best down-blowing heatsink we've tested, edging the previous top dog, the Noctua NH-C12P. It also is the first down-blower to comfortably compete with the best tower coolers of today. Using our reference Nexus fan, at 7V and above it is a serious top 5 contender, almost matching the performance of the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and Noctua NH-U12P.

At 5V it loses a lot of its performance probably due to its tight fin spacing. If we were to judge it at that level alone, it falls about 5 spots tying the Zalman CNPS10X and Noctua NH-C12P. Fortunately the 5V level is a little unrealistic — for an average user, the fan would be inaudible at 7V and below unless their system was only a foot away from their head.

The Zipang 2 essentially matches the Kabuto in noise/performance with their respective stock fans at all levels under 20 dBA@1m. If it was equipped with a slightly faster fan, Zipang 2 would match the cooling performance of the Kabuto at full fan speed. It's no surpruse, given all the similarities in design. Only the maximum fan airflow is different (in favor of the Kabuto) and the total fin area (in favor of the Zipang 2).

It's a toss-up as to which is the better choice. Price, noise and cooling are all very similar, with a bit of a nod to the Kabuto for maximum cooling with a very hot CPU. On the other hand, the 1" lower profile of the Zipang 2 may allow it to be used in smaller cases.



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