Testbed and Methods
The system case was tested as it was, i.e. without additional adjustment of the speed of the system fans. The assembled and closed system case was tested at a constant ambient temperature maintained by an air-conditioner. When assembling the computer, I took care as far as possible to lay out the cables and wires in such a way that they did not hinder free circulation of air inside.
The system case was filled with the following components:
- Intel i925XE mainboard
- Intel Pentium 3.0GHz CPU (2MB L2 cache, the boxed cooler with a copper core)
- 2 x 512MB Kingston KHX5400D2/512 DDR2 SDRAM
- ATI RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition 256MB graphics card
- Two Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 200GB hard disk drives
- NEC ND-3540A DVD-RW drive
The choice of the platform is not random. The reviewed system cases are not targeted at overclockers and we were curious to see just how the system would perform with its default fans and without any modifications. We installed two hard drives for comparison’s sake – one into the aluminum soundproof container and the other into the 3.5” bay. This will show us how the aluminum box copes with the cooling of the enclosed hard drive.
There were four test modes:
- Idle Mode
- CPU Burn – two copies of the CPU Burn utility running simultaneously
- HDD Burn – two sets of files (a 7GB folder with numerous small files and a 40GB folder with movies) are being copied from one partition on the hard drive to another
- VGA Burn – Unreal Tournament 2004 is running at the maximum graphics quality settings
We read the CPU and the mainboard temperatures by means of Motherboard Monitor 188.8.131.52 and the GPU and the graphics card’s PCB temperatures with RivaTuner. The temperature of the hard drive was reported by HDD Thermometer.
The room temperature was 20°C and remained constant throughout the test.
The temperatures were all read after they had fully stabilized.