Testing Methodology

For testing Mini-ITX 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. Again, note that while the GD07 can technically fit a full-size ATX motherboard, it's not tall enough to allow for our testbed's tower cooler. Because of the discrepancies that would make for in testing, plus the fact that media center cases are often mini-ITX designs, we have chosen to use our mini-ITX testbed rather than going with a specialized (e.g. not something you can compare directly to our other cases) ATX build.

Mini-ITX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-2120
(65W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Graphics Card Intel HD 2000 IGP

Zotac GeForce GTS 450 Eco (dedicated)
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 SilverStone NT07-1156 with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 750W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested with just the Core i3's integrated graphics as well as with a discrete graphics card. The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running four threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU, and OC Scanner (maximum load) is run when the dedicated GPU is installed. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. 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.

We try to maintain an ambient testing temperature of between 22C and 24C. Non-thermal test results aren't going to be directly comparable to the finest decimal point, but should be roughly comparable and give a broader idea of how the enclosure performs.

Thank You!

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

  • Thank you to Puget Systems for providing us with the Intel Core i3-2120.
  • Thank you to Zotac for providing us with the Z68ITX-A-E motherboard and GeForce GTS 450 Eco.
  • Thank you to Crucial for providing us with the Ballistix Smart Tracer memory.
  • Thank you to Corsair for providing us with the Corsair Link kit.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to CyberPower for providing us with the Samsung BD-ROM/DVD+/-RW drive.
  • And thank you to SilverStone for providing us with the power supply and NT07-1156 heatsink/fan combo.
Assembling the SilverStone GD07 Noise and Thermal Testing
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  • Chaitanya - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    Silverstone certainly makes some good enclosures. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    nice case indeed. i have the GD05 and it sure shows the craftsmanship.

    However, i found the this review uses ITX MB in a ATX Case to be... interesting yet pointless. who in their right mind would use ITX MB in this case?

    and for CPU coolers, you are just not exploring all the options (or even tried). allow me to copy and paste part of my reviews for GD05 (i have it config with 16G RAM +i7-2700+ SLI GTX 560TI)

    ...CPU cooler: cooler Master Vortex Plus. VERY IMPORTANT. this is the ONLY after market product that will fit EXTREMELY tightly in this case while giving you the option to have a disk drive. and with powerful setup, you know you need a cooler to replace stock intel cooler (as they are absolutely crap)....

    bear in mind, you WILL BE able to fit CM s524 in GD07 since it is a bigger case and you won't run in the problem of having the disk drive blocking additional CPU cooler clearance.
    Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    buy "you", i meant Dustin. Reply
  • Samus - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    FT01 owner 3+ years. Amazing case, doubt I'll ever replace it.

    After owning a number of Antec and CoolerMaster cases and replacing them every time I upgrade the motherboard, that has yet to happen with the SilverStone.

    My only complaint is the proprietary 180mm fan's that were included with the case (sleeve bearing) both failed after 2 years and although 120mm fans can be installed in their place, I opted for replacement FM181 Silverstone 180mm fans, which are very expensive $25/ea.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    Did you just not actually read the review? Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    yes Dustin, i did read the review. i don't any post comments before finishing reading. great review by the way.

    i understand where you are coming from: to have a standardized test bed, something to compare with. and since the ATX test bed uses H212 that is a bit to tall, you were forced to use ITX board.

    However... the fact remains that, for folks who plan to use ITX board or mini ITX, the are not going to get ATX case.... is there value to measure the noise/thermal of mini ITX in a full ATX case? maybe,but it probably makes as much useful data as measuring how much towing power does a Ferrari California have (i.e. no one cares). i think it would be much more useful should you use the ATX testbed with stock cooler because that is much more likely situation.

    on to the product itself. i see some of the problem with GD05 still reminds: unable to mount water cooling solution. also, could you comment on how many type of screws does this case have? the GD05 they had like 5 or 6 type of screws when it really should be 2 or 3.
    Reply
  • anirudhs - Wednesday, May 02, 2012 - link

    The config you have is a gaming PC rather than a media center/server. This case is not intended for your config. A CoolerMaster HAF912 at $60 will be more suited. Reply
  • mepenete - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    It looks like a great case overall, but for me the price tag is a bit much considering its just for an HTPC. Reply
  • Origin32 - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    And just last week I ordered an Aerocool M40 because there wasn't a better case to put my HTPC/Home Server in. And that thing only has room for 3 or 4 harddisks, and then you have to get a little creative already. FML Reply
  • cjs150 - Monday, April 30, 2012 - link

    I think you got it right, very good choice for people who use the media centre as a 24/7 server as well, but otherwise wholly unconvinced

    As a straight media centre it is way too big.

    Obviously everyone has slightly different views but here are mine:

    1. Blu ray drive is a must - should be vibration dampened. Do not mind if full sized or slim line, slot or tray.

    2. SSD + 2.5" HD is enough for me - I have a big NAS to download stored content to. Maybe 2xSSD would even better.

    3. One expansion slot is enough, 2 would be nice, 3 is unnecessary, 4 is overkill. For a media centre what would you put in the expansion slots? IGP should be good enough now, but some would prefer a discrete GPU, sound card is an obvious choice, may be a TV tuner but that is it.

    4. Silence is golden. 30db is already too loud because you can hear it during quiet sections on movie playback. Obviously not a problem if media centre is in different room.

    5. Heat has to be controlled - obviously this causes an issue with the silence is golden concept!
    Reply

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