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Wednesday, 17 December 2008 04:06

Scythe Musashi is great

Written by Eliot Kucharik

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Review: HD4850 cooled down 40°C

Scythe is a well recognized brand in the PC-cooling industry for about three years now and after establishing a good line of CPU-coolers, fans and some accessories, they are introducing their first active GPU cooling solution.

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The cooling system consists of two 6mm U-shaped copper heatpipes, a nickel-plated copper GPU base and lots of typical aluminium fins. For active cooling they mounted two 10cm slim coolers with 800 to 2000 RPM and two control-dials mounted on a slot-bracket. The cooler with fans weighs only 395g, so no worries about installing your card. Due to its length of 250mm, this cooler can't be installed in small cases, but this is expected.

Sixteen RAM-coolers, several transistor coolers, thermal compound, a copper plate, mounting kit and instruction manuals in several languages complete the package.

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To test the cooler we used a standard Radeon HD4850 single-slot card, which is especially annoying due to the high temperatures of the whole card and its noise under heavy load (unbearable for the writer). Installation is really easy, so we won't go into detail. The only thing worth mentioning is to always clean the chips; otherwise, the thermal adhesive won't work, and do apply some pressure for about three minutes (especially on the tiny VRM transistors), otherwise, the coolers will fall off.

The cooler is almost compatible to every card on the market; just three cards, which are old Radeon 9550/9600 and GeForce 6600 GT AGP cards, are incompatible.

If you are using a weaker card, such as Radeon HD4600 series and lower and GeForce 9600GT and lower, you can remove the fans and make it completely passive, as long as you don't try to overclock and have sufficient airflow in your case. Either way, the cooler is using a second slot.

We ran all tests with the lowest RPM setting possible, we connected the fans directly to a 5V connector and set the control knobs to high. For an extensive chart, click the pictures.


Radeon HD4850 single slot idle:
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Radeon HD4850 Musashi idle:
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Radeon HD4850 single slot load:
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Radeon HD4850 with Musashi load:
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Scythe managed to deliver its promise of a silent, but still powerful, PC-platform with extending its product line with the marvelous Scythe Musashi graphics-card cooler. We only found one negative point: the mounting screws are a bit thin, so the cooler can be moved even when mounted, but this did not change the results of our tests. Because the transistors for the VRM on the HD4850 are very small, we would welcome a push-pin solution which would certainly remove the problem of improper adhesive connection.

With a fan speed so low the fans are inaudible we achieved very impressive results. There was no need to use the high-speed fan setting. This cooler will also manage to cool less powerful graphics cards completely passively, as long there is sufficient airflow in the case.

The temperatures never exceeded 60°C, which is very healthy for a graphics-card. Naturally, overclocking will also improve if you're into it, but our primary goal was to achieve a silent graphics-card. The Scythe Musashi is available for €30,- which is not a bargain, but very reasonable for the quality and results you get. In the U.S. we found a price of $32.95, which is very competitive price.

Overall, we can highly recommend the Scythe Musashi.

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Last modified on Thursday, 18 December 2008 04:11
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