The assembled system case is tested at a constant ambient temperature of 23°C maintained by an air conditioner. As we assume that most users prefer low-noise system cases, we set the speed of the CPU and system fans (those connected to the mainboard’s 3-pin connector) into Silent mode (the quietest mode on ASUS mainboards). We do not change the default configuration of airflows determined by system case design.
The following components are installed into the system case:
- ASUS P5E mainboard
- Core 2 Duo E6850 processor
- Zalman CNPS9500 AT cooler
- Four hard disk drives Western Digital Raptor WD740GD
- HIS IceQ3 Radeon HD 3870 graphics card
- 2GB DDR2-800 SDRAM Patriot PDC24G6400LLK
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2
The AeroCool M40 is designed for microATX mainboards, so we used an ASUS P5G-MX mainboard to test it. That mainboard does not support a FSB frequency of 1333MHz, so the E6850 processor was clocked at 266x9=2400MHz rather than at its default 3GHz. Anyway, few people will install a top-of-the-line CPU into such a small system case whereas other CPUs are comparable to what we have in this test (the dual-core 45nm processors of the Core 2 Duo E8xx and E7xx series will even have a lower heat dissipation, though clocked at a somewhat higher frequency).
The CPU temperature is read with ASUS PC Probe included with the mainboard. The temperature of the HDDs is measured with HDD Thermometer. The graphics card’s temperature is reported by its control panel. There are the following test modes:
- IOMeter (IOMeter’s Access Time test running on all the HDDs to load them fully)
- Prime95 (Prime95 running in In-Place Large FFTs mode to load both CPU cores fully)
- 3DMark06 (3DMark06 running at 1280x1024 with maximum graphics quality settings)
Every temperature is read after the system has worked for half an hour in the current test mode. The noise level is evaluated subjectively. The next table shows the brief specs of the tested system cases:
And this table shows the specs of the fans installed in the system cases:
Every system case is tested with the power supply it came to our test lab with. We do not tell you their name and model because the system cases will most likely come to retail with other PSUs or even without any PSUs.