Testing Methodology

For testing ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

Full ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-875K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 3.8GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D-E Pro
Graphics Card Zotac NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (244W TDP)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS9900 MAX with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Gold 750W 80 Plus Gold

A refresher on how we test:

Acoustic testing is standardized on a foot from the front of the case, using the Extech SL10 with an ambient noise floor of ~32dB. For reference, that's what my silent apartment measures with nothing running, testing acoustics in the dead of night (usually between 1am and 3am). A lot of us sit about a foot away from our computers, so this should be a fairly accurate representation of the kind of noise the case generates, and it's close enough to get noise levels that should register above ambient.

Thermal testing is run with the computer having idled at the desktop for fifteen minutes, and again with the computer running both Furmark (where applicable) and Prime95 (less one thread when a GPU is being used) for fifteen minutes. I've found that leaving one thread open in Prime95 allows the processor to heat up enough while making sure Furmark isn't CPU-limited. We're using the thermal diodes included with the hardware to keep everything standardized, and ambient testing temperature is always between 71F and 74F. Processor temperatures reported are the average of the CPU cores.

For more details on how we arrived at this testbed, you can check out our introductory passage in the review for the IN-WIN BUC.

Last but not least, we'd also like to thank the vendors who made our testbed possible:

Thank You!

We have some thanks in order before we press on:

  • Thank you to Crucial for providing us with the Ballistix Smart Tracer memory we used to add memory thermals to our testing.
  • Thank you to Zalman for providing us with the CNPS9900 MAX heatsink and fan unit we used.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to CyberPower for providing us with the Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive, Intel Core i7-875K processor, ASUS P7P55D-E Pro motherboard, and Samsung BD-ROM/DVD+/-RW drive.
  • And thank you to SilverStone for providing us with the power supply.
Assembling the SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • cjs150 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    This is the problem with Silverstone sometimes the execution of the idea has major flaws.

    I love my TJ07, perfect for watercooling but not all the screw holes are perfectly aligned and airflow is so bad it fried two sticks of RAM (non overclocked)
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Why Silverstone is bad: interesting ideas that are poorly manufactured.

    I have one of their BTX cases (remember BTX, was supposed to be the new thing for all of like, a year? :D ). The BTX idea wasn't a problem, but they provided a cheap shroud to direct air flow over the CPU that 1) cracked very easily, and 2) wouldn't allow for even the stock CPU cooler I had at the time. Basically, if you didn't need the extra cooling for the CPU that the shroud made possible, you could use it, but if you did need it, you couldn't.

    The screwless mounts for expansion cards were cheap, too. The case has some (minor) corrosion issues on the inside. I have an ancient Antec that has no corrosion on it at all.

    No telling who actually made the PSU you get from them - it might be a good manufacturer, or it might be a mediocre one. Good thing about their PSUs is they tend to provide more connectors than others, but, again, manufacturing is another story.

    Silverstone is the reason I tell people don't buy PSUs by brand, buy one you read a good, independent review of. I had a bad experience with one of their PSUs and more importantly with the service I got when I sent it in to be checked out before I used it. I read reviews of the thing after I bought it - and was shocked to find out that my favorite PSU company at the time produced such a mediocre product, and that the problem I had was discussed in reviews many months before I bought the one I did. Basically, they knew about it and didn't bother to fix it.

    I liked them when they were first getting known, now, not so much. It's a shame, to me, because I do like companies that innovate. I can't really say they make bad products, and I might cut them some slack if I hadn't had a bad service experience on top of everything else, but I can't recommend them or remain silent when someone else does.
    Reply
  • Risforrocket - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Take a good look at the FT02 and the TJ10 and the TJ11. TJ11 is too expensive but if they made one with the same design (exactly) but did it for, say 300 or 350USD it would be perhaps the best case of all time.

    I have the FT02. It has two issues that I am aware of: It has only 5 3 1/2 drive bays and the 5 1/4 bay devices can't extend back behind the bays much at all, not enough room. These are limitations imposed by the dimensions of the case.

    Silverstone is capable of producing a very nice case. You have to study it though before you buy. So true of so many things, alas.

    I have also had a very good customer support experience with them.
    Reply
  • zlandar - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    After my latest build with a Corsair 500R I'm not going back to cases with screws everywhere.

    Is it really too much to ask for nice amenities where the side panels are fitted with thumbscrews that are designed so they don't fall off when you unscrew the panel?

    Drive bays that you can secure into place without screws?

    Premounted screws for the motherboard for ATX boards?

    Fan controller?
    Reply
  • Gigantopithecus - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Try shipping a case that doesn't use screws to secure the hard drives. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I've had one case with toolless installation (an NZXT with 4 120mm fans in the side, forgot the name) and really don't like it. I don't switch peripherals often enough (every few months at most) and like the stability and standard of having screws. Having toolless stuff means a potential issue with non-standard use cases (5.25"/3.5" adapters) and can lead to less than optimal noise and security performances. On the plus side, it might save you a few minutes when setting everything up. For me, that's a no brainer in favor of screws! :D Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I think case reviewers place too much emphasis on tool-less designs... I can't blame them, I'd go nutty reviewing even half a dozen cases a year if they all used screws everywhere (and I'm pretty sure Dustin is going thru double or triple that amount of cases/year right now)...

    Realistically though, unless you're pretty hardcore I don't see most enthusiasts doing more than one or two hardware upgrades a year, if that. GPUs are the one thing I upgrade the most often, followed by drives, and those are generally easy swaps even with screws.

    If I was upgrading mobos every year I'm not sure I'd even bother with an ATX case, I'd probably just use some sort of closet-bound rack...
    Reply
  • Robalov - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I don't believe this case should have reached the market in this form, and deserves another iteration of design. From the review, it looks all the changes made to the standard layout are uneccessary and return low/little benefit.

    It's too expensive to boot. Since I am not a 'fan' of silverstone, I would never consider buying this.

    The TJ08 however would be 1st choise for that form factor, and will certainly (barring something better) be in my next project.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    This case is ATX while the TJ08(-E) are mATX. So different form factor. :-) But awesome case! Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    too many fans!! Reply

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