Testing Methodology

For testing Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in its stock configuration and a Zotac GeForce GTX 580 in cases that support it to get a feel for how the case handles heat and noise. Due to the power supply clearance constraints of the TU200, we're using a slightly different power supply than our usual.

Mini-ITX/Micro-ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-530 (73W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac H55ITX-WiFi
Graphics Card

Intel HD Graphics (IGP)

Zotac GeForce GTX 580 (244W TDP)

Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS8000A with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply Corsair Professional Series Gold AX850 80 Plus Gold 850-Watt PSU

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 SilverStone FT03.

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:

Assembling the Lian Li PC-TU200 Noise and Thermal Testing, IGP
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  • Iketh - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I too would love to see a case like this without an optical drive bay, or even a 3.5" cage. Look at all that unsused room behind the optical bay! At least one 3.5" drive could be screwed to the top of the case in that area. A 2.5" SSD can practically be placed ANYWHERE in a case, they're so small!

    Imagine the size of the case if the optical drive bay and the 3.5" cage is removed, and how much better airflow would be. One spot for a 2.5" and one for a 3.5", that's all I'd need in a case in this segment.

    Oh and if I gave you any ideas for your case design in this post, be sure to stamp a "by IkethTech (tm)" next to it in inside the case :)
    Reply
  • rbsc - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Excellent Points.

    May I also suggest the following:

    *Mount the hard drives (2 max) to the doors.
    *Add 4x USB to the back.
    *Refine the handle to be removable. Grommets could be placed there if not needed.
    *Specify the TDP limits on both CPU and GPU.

    Also it is unclear if the tolerances for CPU cooler height were specified in the documentation, but that would've been useful when I was building my PC31. Luckily I took a guess and the cooler but barely fit the enclosure.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    on the TU200, you can't mount drives to the doors, cause the doors are just snap-on.. if you add any weight, they might just pop off during transport and dangle on the hard drive cable (shudder) Reply
  • nubie - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Yep, I agree on most of these points.

    I wonder if you could take this case and disassemble it and trim it down to the size you would like?

    I don't know if I am a fan of full-size power supplies in an ITX case, but if you are using a dual-slot GPU anyway, why not.

    Perhaps flipping the case upside-down so the GPU gets a decent intake would be a good idea too. Of course then you may hear the fan if it is annoying.

    I just realized the problem with removing the front bays and the CD. The GPU is likely to be the deciding factor in the depth of the box anyway, although you will lose some height be getting rid of the 5.25 bay.

    As always, there is never a perfect pre-manufactured case for every person, this one gets mighty close though.
    Reply
  • gaiden2k7 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    hey guys i just wanna post my old project w/ a Lian Li Q07 that was modded to be a homeserver, it needs to be updated b/c i recently remodded again but i was able to make some use of that optical drive bay and everything else.

    http://www.overclock.net/case-mod-work-logs/566798...

    with some research you can fit alot of components inside a case like this :)
    Reply
  • jebo - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    "Imagine the size of the case if the optical drive bay and the 3.5" cage is removed, and how much better airflow would be. One spot for a 2.5" and one for a 3.5", that's all I'd need in a case in this segment."

    *Exactly*. Somebody with a GTX580 probably doesn't want 5 hard drives in their system. You have two market segments for these cases. Small servers and LAN/gaming boxes. It seems trying to serve both with one case doesn't work.

    Remove the ODD, put space for one 3.5" drive and one 2.5" drive and we'll be set.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Or just make it a slim line optical drive bay, like the Silverstone cases. Most people don't use the drive enough to need a full size monster, but it's still useful.

    On the drive bay side, just gimme two 2.5" mounts. One for a SSD, and one for a travel rated spinner. This case is clearly targeted at mobile lan systems, not file servers. Who would put four 3.5' drives in a road warrior?

    At any rate, glad to see performance mITX parts one way or the other.
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    Hi,

    If I may chime in.

    Did you see the SilverStone Sugo SG05? I'd say it's less voluminous.

    I got myself one of them with their 450W PSU (unfortunately you can't use a standard one, it's a way for them to make more money I guess) and their is room for a double slot 9.5'' graphic card. Instead of a - almost - useless 3.5'' ODD bay it has a slim drive bay.

    At the time I was considering a Lian Li Q07, like the one modded by gaiden2k7.
    But case's "weird" form factor detered me. Question of price I guess too... but at the end I cost me an arm cause I bought the Sugo SG05 with the regular 300W and was dumfound when I cound't plug the extra alim cable for the GTX 460 - ended up buying this 450W. I believe a year ago or so SIlverStone started shipping some SG05 with the 450W.
    So it could be a good bet.

    The SG06 already existed but some reviews shown it was apparently not as good as the SG05.

    I was happy with the temperatures, air flow and - no - noise.
    I'm using a i5 760 with stock rad (but no OC).

    Hope that's bringing some interesting info to the lads looking to build an ITX gaming rig.

    The Sugo SG05 home: http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=210

    PS: note sure you'll still easily find this model though cause it's quiet "old" according to the IT world.
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    *useless 3.5'' ODD*

    I meant 5.25''!!!
    Reply
  • lapinou - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    One review of the good old SG05 http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/758 Reply

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