Introducing Our 2012 Case Testbeds and Revised Methodologyby Dustin Sklavos on March 29, 2012 3:00 PM EST
Conclusion: More Reliable Comparisons
The ultimate goal of the revised testing hardware and methods is to prune the excess data that wasn't particularly useful before while substantially improving the reliability of the results produced during the testing process. Our Sandy Bridge testing platform may not be state of the art for too much longer, and NVIDIA is no doubt cooking up a suitable replacement for the GeForce GTX 560 Ti—outside of pricing, we could even argue that GTX 680 is that replacement—but these components should remain representative of the kinds of thermal and acoustic loads end users will be building their desktops off of for some time to come.
As always, we welcome any comments or suggestions on what you'd like to see from our case reviews. Keep in mind that our general goal is to review the cases as they ship from the manufacturer, so replacing all of the case fans with, for example, $20 Sanyo Denki fans isn't our intention—particularly when you're reviewing sub-$100 cases, adding $60 or more in fans is a bit extreme. If a manufacturer wants to market a case as being quiet or silent, then the onus is on them to provide acceptable fans for that goal.
In the meantime, I'm personally looking forward to accumulating fresh data sets using these new methods. With a year of testing from the previous platform, we have a better understanding of some of the weaknesses of our previous testbeds. While our earlier results are still useful in a broad sense, future case reviews (starting with the Corsair Obsidian 550D) should allow for better comparisons in a finer, more granular sense.