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 Fractal Design Define R4 Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • buildingblock - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    The move to 140mm fans for intake and exhaust is particularly welcomed, time to move on from the 120s. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    I'll agree with you once all the PWM fan makers start making fans in 140mm varieties. Right now, for great fans you choose between PWM and 140mm. That's not a choice that you should have to make.

    You'd think Corsair would be on the forefront of fixing this, seeing as they just released a premium fan line AND have cases that could use said fans. But no, they in fact released NO PWM fans at all.

    Until that day, 120mm needs to stay the standard.
    Reply
  • prophet001 - Friday, August 10, 2012 - link

    Here is a link to some 140mm PWM fans. I just used the Akasa Vipers in my build and they're great fans. They can move as much air as your need or they can throttle to very quiet levels. I highly recommend them.

    http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l3/g36/c365/s1507/lis...
    Reply
  • btb - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    I have both and R2 and R3 and really like them. The only thing I wish they would improve on is getting rid of the ugly top of the case, it detracts significantly from an otherwise very nice looking case. How big a percentage of the buyers of these cases do actually use the top exhausts? I'm guessing below 5%. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Well, the idea is to make space for a 240mm radiator or a closed-loop like the Corsair H100, but the problem is that clearance for radiators there just isn't good. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I think they need to use a Lian-Li style blanking plate, where it fits almost completely flush, leaving a smooth finish, but the user then has to supply a wire grill later. Reply
  • beginner99 - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    I use it! make sense to have airflow from bottom/front to top as hot air flows up naturally anyway. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    This article has disappeared from the homepage! I can't read it anymore :( Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Ah, NDA, NDA, thought so. It's all good! Reply
  • themossie - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Neither the "next page" or menu to choose article pages is working - they both return me to the Anandtech.com page.

    Other articles work fine.

    Is this just me, or is something wrong?
    Reply

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