Scythe Musashi ReviewThe Smith - January 26, 2009
Category: VGA Cooling
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Apart from the use the Grim Reaper makes of it and the one in video games such as Diablo II, a scythe is normally used to cut crops, such as wheat. Five years ago the company Scythe was born, giving a whole new meaning to the word scythe. Instead of cutting wheat, some of Scythe's products, such as heatsinks and fans, are used to cut...
This Japanese company is well known in the DIY world mainly because of its CPU heatsinks. Everyone knows the popular "Ninja" series, well-performing and silent coolers. But a while ago, a new product was launched, the Musashi, which is Scythe's first foray into the VGA cooler market. This thin cooler features two 100mm slim fans that can be controlled via two small knobs. The base is connected to the aluminum fins using copper heatpipes, and a wide set of aluminum heatsinks for various chips is also provided with it. However, why call it the Musashi? A quick Google search showed me that Musashi is a province of Japan. A warrior named Musashi was also known for his legendary swordsmanship, and a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy was also named the same. So let's see if Scythe's first try in the VGA cooler market is a success or an epic fail.
A picture of the Scythe Musashi is displayed on the front of the box, along with its name. These two elements occupy most of the space on the front. On the gold shape at the top, it is emphasized that the Musashi is compatible with various graphics cards. This is where I first noticed that all the information present on the box is also written in a foreign language. This illustrates very well the beginnings of Scythe in Japan, where the company seems to have a lot of customers. Next, lower in the middle, a red sticker says that the cooler is now compatible with the ATI Radeon HD4800 series. Because of the keyword "Now," my first guess is that there were maybe some coolers made at first that were not compatible. Under the name of the cooler, there is a paragraph labeled "Caution!" It says that removing the stock cooler and making any modifications to the graphics card will void its warranty. On the side of the box, the fact that it is equipped with dual 100x100x12mm fans is mentioned. By using such fans, the cooler remains very thin and at the same time maximizes the cooling performance. At the back of the box is where you can find the specifications. They are written in six different languages, in a table at the top. Then, in a picture right under this table, all included parts and accessories are shown, as well as the fan controller and the cooler base. Finally, the most important part, the graphics card compatibility table. It is located in the middle, at the left. The list is pretty wide, however there is no sign of the latest from nVidia, the GTX260 and GTX280. How deceiving, I would have liked to test it on one of those. One last thing, the ATI HD4800 series cards are not in the list, another hint saying that these coolers were not made for them at first. So you really need to trust the added sticker on the front.
So now let's open the box. In it, you will find the installation manual, which is in the form of two large sheets. Common instructions for all graphics cards are there, as well as specific instructions for particular cards. In the second picture, you can see the thermal paste included, which looks like Arctic Silver 5, but not as thick. There are also four thumb screws and a backplate to hang the cooler right in place. The small rubber cushion puts all the pressure on the GPU so that there is none on the PCB. The small copper plate is there if you ever have a graphics card on which the frame of the GPU is higher than the core. In this case, putting this small plate in between would allow contact with the cooler. Finally, you can see the generous package of chip heatsinks provided. There are 16 heatsinks approximately the size of a RAM chip, four longer but narrower ones, and three other custom ones. I say custom because they are made for particular graphics cards. In the instructions, they say to use the longest one on the 9800GTX and the smallest one on the 8800GTS G92. The one with the plastic clips is for the HSI chip of the 8800GTX. So with all these heatsinks, there are more than enough to get all chips on your graphics card covered. One interesting thing is that Scythe decided to simply use glue to stick these heatsinks on the chips, instead of the thicker thermal interface used by other companies. That layer of glue is provided by the company 3M. Considering it is much thinner than other interfaces I saw on other heatsinks, I don't think it will perform any less.
Finally, let's look at the cooler.