Testing Methodology

For testing Mini-ITX cases, we use the following standardized testbed with and without dedicated graphics cards to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

Mini-ITX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-2120
(65W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Graphics Card Intel HD 2000 IGP
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
CPU Cooler SilverStone NT07-1156 with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply Included 90W AC Adapter

Each case is tested with just the Core i3's integrated graphics as well as with a discrete graphics card when possible. The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running four threads (three with a dedicated GPU) 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.

Assembling the Antec ISK 110 VESA Noise and Thermal Testing
POST A COMMENT

53 Comments

View All Comments

  • bobbozzo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    On page 1, "drive moderate-to-low voltage hardware" should probably be changed to "drive moderate-to-low wattage hardware". Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    My (fanless) firewall is an Atom motherboard running in a Morex T3310 case, which appears to be about the same size.
    It comes with a 60 or 80-watt external power brick and 80-watt internal DC-DC power supply.

    It only holds one 2.5" drive.

    It does not VESA mount.

    From your description of the Antec, the Morex may be easier to assemble, and may be a little better looking.

    The grill mesh is very fine on the Morex, so it's possible airflow would be worse.
    Reply
  • Belard - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    The photos show a VESA mount and a dual drive cage.

    But the heat is enough of a problem with just a single drive.

    It would be better to make it slightly bigger to have proper cooling.
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I was talking about my Morex case. Reply
  • londiste - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    i could get a fairly busy itx motherboard (based on the pictures, at least as busy as yours) into the case without taking out the power circuitry board.

    however, when trying to hide as much cables as possible away from the perforated side, and trying not to cover the ventilation slits in the side at the same time, i did have some trouble getting the side panel back on.

    i have to say that the power brick gets uncomfortably warm after heavy load already with my puny g620. i used to run the same system with a 80w picopsu and 60w brick which stayed considerably cooler...
    Reply
  • nethermancer - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I have one of these attached to the back of a 22" monitor and I cannot see the enclosure during normal use. This makes it like an All-in-one PC and my daughter really likes the small footprint in her room. I used an AMD A6-3500 triple core CPU and it really flies with an SSD and 4GB RAM. Could have done with a beefier PSU and allowed me to use a decent quad core CPU though. Antec managed a tiny 350W PSU on their minuet 350 case so why not here? Reply
  • Lonyo - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Well I would expect they should be able to get a 150w PSU in there, but then what exactly are you going to do with a 150w system in such a small case? It would probably burn up.
    Plus 90w is probably actually enough for a quad core CPU, as long as you aren't running it with any other hardware (which you can't).
    Reply
  • MrMilli - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Why does something like this need to be this expensive? There's barely any use of material, especially compared to full size towers. Reply
  • SodaAnt - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    It includes VESA mounting hardware and a power supply. Reply
  • MrMilli - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    VESA mounting kit: $5
    Delta PSU: $15

    So that doesn't explain the cost.

    You can buy decent mini towers including PSU for less than $50. Why does this need to be $80?
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now