Asus and Scythe decided to team up within the Asus’ so-called TUF Gaming Alliance, TUF standing for The Ultimate force, where they’ve rounded up a few of famous brands in one place, beside Scythe brands like Cooler Master, In-Win, G-Skill, Antec, SilverStone, Corsair, DeepCool, ADATA and others, where each of them offer a couple of their popular products within the aforementioned TUF Gaming Alliance portfolio, so users will get that well known TUF reliability and performance stamp of approval, while also getting the possibility to color match their own build based on the recognizable TUF series signature look.
This time I actually have two of such products coming from Scythe, of course, those being CPU coolers, I apologize in advance if I’m going to butcher their names – the Kotetsu Mark II TUF and Choten TUF. Right away you can notice that the product packaging is a lot different than what we’re used to seeing from Scythe, which is to be expected taking everything into consideration. It’s all pretty much blacked out, just with some subtle silhouettes of the actual product, and with a lot of TUF yellow and brownish copperish accents, TUF and Asus logo on it, Aura Sync support with of course RGB support, you can’t build a PC without having an RGB light, it wouldn’t work, and that’s a fact.
Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF and Choten TUF have a very similar structure
Taking a looking inside, whoever decided to put this little flap for pulling the box latch, please give that man a raise, it’s so much easier to open the box up, anyway back to it, the layout in both product boxes is pretty simple, you’ll get an accessory box with the necessary parts for the installation and the cooler itself with the attached fan in case of the Chot en and detached with Kotetsu.
Right away you can notice that these two models are different in their shape, the Kotetsu is a classic example of a bit beefier single tower CPU cooler, while the Choten comes in this sort of low profile CPU cooler top-down design, although it’s not actually that much lower than the Kotetsu, around 3 centimeters.
In terms of the build and cooling configuration, the Choten TUF has a 4 nickel-plated copper heat-pipe setup, which is running through the aluminum fin array from one side to another. The Kotetsu TUF also has a total of 4 heat-pipes, stretching from one half of the heat-sinks fin array through to the other half, while passing through the CPU base plate. Speaking of it, both have a nickel plated copper CPU base plate, with a very polished surface, almost fully mirror-like.
Both of them have a more premium build feel compared to their original counterparts, which comes as a credit of now having these TUF-like details and finish and a bumped up price point. Of course, to top everything off, each cooler comes with a single 120 mm RGB fan which has these white translucent blades, I’ll talk about their lighting effects a little bit later on. We also have yellow anti-vibration rubber pads in each corner, 4-pin PWM fan header and an RGB header with a split connection for daisy chaining.
Choten TUF and Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF support
As for the mounting options, the Choten TUF Gaming Alliance version doesn’t use the push-in pins like its original version, but now it rather comes in with much wider socket support. As you can see, it basically supports every possible socket, except the TR4, but it can be an AMD cooler for their other platforms, and the same goes for the Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF since it uses the same mounting system.
The installation process was really simple, as simple as it can be in this case, a 5-minute job at most. You already have pre-placed screws on the enclosed back-plate, so you just need to put the spacers and holding brackets on two sides, put the cooler with the pressure crossbar, tighten everything in and that’s basically it, simple as that in terms of the 115x socket installation and being an Intel cooler.
RAM clearance is good in both cases, but t have in mind that Choten TUF overhangs the RAM slots, so be sure to buy RAM that’s up to 55 mm tall. The same can be said for the clearance of the first PCI-express slot, everything checks out in both cases. If you for some reason plan to put them into their so to speak unnatural orientation, with Choten you won’t be able to use first PCI-express slot, while with Kotetsu, you’ll limit yourself out of a taller RAM module support.
Choten TUF has potential, but Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF performs better
OK, now that everything is mounted, let’s put some heat onto these coolers,r first up is the Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF. Using AIDA64’s System Stability Test to properly load the CPU, my i7 6700K running at stock settings was barely reaching 65°C per core on average, with the package mostly below 70°C. Bumping up the core voltage to 1,31V in BIOS and overclocking the CPU to 4,6 GHz on all cores, I was seeing around 10°C increase on the core and package maximal temperature, while the average was mostly between 65 to 75°C which is really good. It’s especially good if you consider that the fan was pretty quiet at stock load and that’s under normal fan setting preset in motherboards BIOS, which actually has a pretty aggressive default fan curve, running just below 1200 RPM. In idle you can’t ever hear it, it runs at around 850 to 900 RPM, while the temperature is just a degree or two higher than the ambient.
Jumping over to the Choten TUF and putting it through the same run, it ended up having basically the same performance output at stock load, just a degree or two higher than its single tower brother, as you can see it here. But, it didn’t manage to cope with the same overclocking settings under load, as it ran up to around 85°C pretty fast, and after a while, the test would stop. That’s not odd since it has overall less surface and volume for heat dissipation, so it can’t cope with the same TDP. After that, I’ve dropped the voltage to 1,265V, dialed the clock down to 4,5 GHz, and with doing that I got very good temperature figures under load, just a tad higher than the stock load scenario. Idle performance is basically the same compared to the Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF, a degree or two above the ambient temperature, as well as the acoustic performance, they’re very close to each other in their maximal volume, as their both fans top out at around 1200-1250 RPM in CPU load scenarios with overclocking settings, which is basically the fans nominal highest speed. The Choten is a bit louder though, possibly to due different heat-sink constitution and orientation, so it probably experiences more turbulence, which can translate into more noise.
Lastly, I took a closer look at that 120 mm RGB fan which now comes in as part of the TUF Gaming Alliance package. As you saw, performance wise, I really had no complains about it, while I can also say that for the RGB lighting portion. It lights up evenly, there’s no apparent color spill, you can just slightly notice a couple of LED’s emitting behind the hub, but nothing too obvious. As I said, it supports Asus Aura Sync feature, but I found to work without a problem on Gigabyte Aorus motherboard, within their RGB Fusion utility, and that’s not a surprise since this technology and its protocol is pretty much standardized across the field. It nicely syncs up with the motherboard in my case and you can control it together as a group or separately.
Scythe once again delivered two well-rounded CPU coolers, but this time with an added kick to their overall design, courtesy of being a part of TUF Gaming Alliance portfolio, which got them a more fuller visual identity. That’s is something that they usually don’t have with their products, Scythe is pretty straightforward in terms of the aesthetics of their CPU coolers, which is why they can offer them more as a value-oriented, best buy type of products, while these two now have a price premium of around 10$ extra compared to their original models on which they’re based off. Thankfully, you can always choose between them, you can decide if that extra bling, color scheme, and RGB lighting are worth that additional money or would you rather just stick to Scythe’s very well established price to performance ratio of the original models. Nevertheless, I hope my Scythe Kotetsu Mark 2 TUF review and Scythe Choten TUF review helped you at in making your final purchasing decision, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!