Testing Methodology

For testing Micro-ATX and full 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.

ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2700K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 4.3GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
Graphics Card ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DCII TOP
(tested at stock speed and overclocked to 1GHz/overvolted to 1.13V)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
Accessories Corsair Link
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 750W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested in a stock configuration and an overclocked configuration that generates substantially more heat (and thus may produce more noise). The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running seven threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU and OC Scanner (maximum load) on the GPU. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. This is done for the stock settings and for the overclock, and if the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

Assembling the Corsair Carbide 200R Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • Torrijos - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    I'm left wondering what is the useful effect of each fan in cooling the machine.

    It might be interesting to have a guide analysing the effect of some fans combinations on the cooling performances.

    As an example of the question that need answering:
    - As it been determined which is preferable, positive or negative pressure?
    - Should a top radiator be use as an intake port (thus improving the CPU cooling by using fresh air, and with a fan pushing air does it improve the fan efficiency since its pushing colder/denser air trough?), or as an exhaust (avoiding hot air build up in the case)?
    - Should fans be use to push or pull air through a radiator?
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    i think your looking for this. they are interesting articles.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflo...
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pr...
    Reply
  • billcat1447 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I played with different fans acting on the internal pressure and found you def. want more air coming in than going out which I guess would be pos. pressure.
    The case didn't have the vent holes that most modern cases have so when I had more pressure pumping air out than in it caused the fans to work very hard to remove the air from inside the case and worst case it also overheated the power supply because it could not move air though it and pump it outside the case. I almost destroyed the power supply, the air was super hot. With air holes in modern cases and if it was all run through filters it might case the same condition but not as bad. You want dust to be removed before it can enter inside components so I would guess if filtered the less air being added would be the way to go. Most cases don't filter all the holes and I would want more air removed from the case than fans pulling air into the case but I would really only care about which fans can remove dust and mount then that way and which ones will cool the best while not adding dust and bringing air into the case. If there is a lot of holes pos or neg doesn't matter but the way the fans are mounted to get the best out of them is the most important part. I'd have air removed from the top fans, air removed from the power supply. Air entered for the front hard drive cooling fans and air entered from the side fan cooling the motherboard and memory (only if it's filtered).
    Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    There are endless debates about positive versus negative pressure. Different manufacturers even seem to have different opinions on the subject. (Antec, for example, seems to endorse negative pressure by default, whereas Silverstone is a vocal advocate of positive pressure.) Purely as a matter of cooling efficiency, I don't think there's a right answer: the ideal solution depends as much on the fans' placement in relation to your hardware as it depends on the direction of their airflow.

    That said, and all else being equal, I will always favor (filtered) positive air pressure, just because it reduces (or practically eliminates, in some cases) dust build up, and thus it saves the user from having to clean out the inside of his case regularly.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    Imagine an Obsidian 150D for premium ITX. Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    i like the look. im not into the alien abducted my computer look. im convinced i could design a better budget case then most of these companies. if im going to buy a case that costs under $50 all im expecting is good cable management and air flow. i wonder what this case costs corsair air to make. Reply
  • Donniesito - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Give me clean lines, and I'm happy. I'm of the opinion that since my computer sits next to my desk on the floor, it doesn't matter what it looks like. It needs to be unobtrusive, and doesn't need to look like an alien ate my computer, nor does it need to light up like a runway. It just needs to sit there and work.. My display on the other hand needs to be all sorts of awesome ;-) Reply
  • johan851 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I felt like that little dig at the end of the article was neither relevant or correct. Thinkpads are still great, and what's that got to do with cases? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    One Thing I would have liked to see:

    Completed cable management. Show me a finished computer with the cables all ziplocked down and looking clean. I just bought a Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 and did this and it's the best build I've done over the years. It really makes the PC look nice. Sufficient space behind the motherboard makes a huge difference, as do the pass through holes for the cables.
    Reply
  • Donniesito - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    I agree with this also. However, I don't use zip-ties for cable management. Years ago I learned the awesomeness that are velcro zip-ties and I've never looked back ;-) Reply

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