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) into Silent mode (the quietest mode on ASUS mainboards). If the system case has its own speed controller, the fans connected to it are set at the lowest speed, too, whenever possible. We do not change the default configuration of airflows determined by the 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 Antec Mini P180 is designed for microATX mainboards, so I used an ASUS P5G-MX mainboard for it. This mainboard does not support a FSB frequency of 1333MHz, so the E6850 processor worked not at its default 3GHz but at 266x9=2400MHz on it. Anyway, even at the reduced frequency its heat dissipation is comparable to that of modern dual-core Core 2 Duo E8xxx and E7xxx series processors manufactured on 45nm tech process.
The Antec Mini P180 comes without a power supply so I installed an Enermax MODU82+ EMD625AWT, a 625W power supply, into it. The Antec NSK6580B was tested together with its default Antec EarthWatts EA430D (430W) power supply.
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 following table lists the brief specs of the tested system cases: