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 SFX ST45F 450W

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 FT03 Mini Noise and Thermal Testing, IGP
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  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I am all for the shift to smaller form factors. ATX is just so unnecessary for 99% of people. mATX still has it's merits of course, but ITX is a solid option for anyone but those seeking to be on the bleeding edge.

    I too like this case. I like the standing look, as opposed to the typical, more horizontal stuff hah. I think it makes a lot of sense, cases use up less space when standing up right? I mean there's a reason we don't use those server rack cases for desktops =P.
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I agree completely with the conclusion. You already know if you want it or not. I do, even though the exhaust area doesn't make complete sense to me. It looks as if it can be reduced greatly, the space between the exterior and the rear of the frame/psu/etc. Maybe the air can be exhausted towards the sides more to accomplish this. Or.. the alternative is to use that space more wisely, allowing for longer graphics cards ;-). Reply
  • Conficio - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Why not move the buttons next to the slot loading drive and the USB cables as well.

    Then put on top a subwoofer and add some wireless speakers for the stereo. That would peak my interest. I could imagine some good co-branding going with speaker manufacturers.
    Reply
  • seanleeforever - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    is it too much to ask for to have a case similar to G4 Cube? this knock off is a start but damn is it ugly.
    i don't normally care about Apple product, but their aesthetic is light years ahead of any PC case manufacture.
    Reply
  • RandomUsername3245 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Troll much?

    Are you complaining about the lack of an apple logo, the Silverstone's aluminum construction vs. the G4 Cube's plastic, or perhaps the rectangular vs. square sides?

    If you look at the assembly pictures, it would be pretty hard to shrink the longer dimension to make the case a cube shape and still fit all the hardware. Perhaps you should go look at Shuttle barebones systems -- they're probably more your style.
    Reply
  • HernanTech - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I fully support what "the troll" said. It seems that no one across the Pacific ever gets it right stealing from Apple G4 Cube design. How hard can it be? Just make it look semi-decent and small for Christ's sakes.

    You go down to an ITX board because of the diminutive advantage, not because you want a Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor special. And Silverstone, being Taiwanese, should understand that Asians have a penchant for shrinking everything down rather than to blow everything up.

    This is why I couldn't bring myself to look at their SG05 and SG06. Because they're just too huge and too awkward looking. In the end I settled for something else, Apex's MI-800. That happened last year. If I were any smarter, (or should I say, psychic) I'd have waited a few months for Apple to release their 2011 Mac Mini, which came with all the firepower I needed, even for gaming. Incidentally, that thing is even smaller than a PS2 console! Talk about midget. It's like those guys up in Cupertino want to turn into Japanese, or something.

    What's wrong with you, Apple? You should make your ITX class computer big and unwieldy, if for nothing else, then to preserve your big, fat, hulking American image.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Your racial profiling aside, you seem to be arguing on an enthusiast site reviewing an enthusiast case that the manufacturer should make it more like an OEM computer. I'd like to see someone try to fit GTX 680 class hardware into the perpetually-overheating G4 Cube case, let alone a Mac Mini sized machine.

    The point I'm getting at here is while I agree with the sentiment that this is not as nice looking as Apple hardware, your criticisms regarding the form factor are misguided.
    Reply
  • GotThumbs - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Point well taken.

    There is a HUGE difference between an OEM lowcost/proprietary built system and what we have seen in this review. The whole reason for this site we (maybe not all...HernanTech?) come here. We are a group of individuals who are NOT easily content with what OEM's slap together for the unaware masses.

    If you are a fan of Apple Cube...then get one. I couldn't care less about a system that has zero ability to be tweaked and upgraded to MY specific needs/requirements.

    HermanTech: Do all of us a favor and just please drink the cool-aid.
    Reply
  • xenol - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    The G4 cube had horrible ventilation. Yes, today's parts aren't as hot, but ventilation is still a good thing. Reply
  • HernanTech - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I guess you never had a G4 Cube. There is great ventilation, just not for the graphics card. Then again they never thought anyone would upgrade their Rage 128 to an ATI Radeon, or 3Dfx Voodoo 3, or hell, even Geforce 5500 PCI. (The last 2 are PC cards with BIOS flashed into Mac.) G4 Cube had a mother of a heatsink, and is fucking efficient (emphasize "fucking") in dissipating heat, as any Cube owner would attest. As such you don't need a fan.

    But should you upgrade that 450Mhz Power PC G4 processor to 1GHz, *then and only then* it's advisable to install a fan under the heatsink. Can imagine a CPU heatsink without a fan on a PC clone back in the day? It would get so hot...! You'd just go, DAMN. It's hot! But evidently not so on the G4 Cube.
    Reply

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