First, let’s check out the performance of each system case and see how the cooling of hard disk drives depends on their position. We will also discuss the noise factor.
The HDDs are numbered from top to bottom.
Cooler Master 690 II Advanced (RC-692) at min fan speed
In the Cooler Master case the front-panel fan is blowing at the two top HDDs but not at the two bottom ones. The difference is considerable even at the minimum speed of the fan: from 3 to 9°C depending on the compared pair and load. Yet even the hottest HDD keeps a normal temperature, never getting hotter than 50°C.
Cooler Master 690 II Advanced (RC-692) at max fan speed
Increasing the fan speed to the maximum helps win about 4°C. Unfortunately, this increases the noise, too. The default fans are far from silent even at the reduced speed (600 RPM for the 140mm model and 700 RPM for the 140mm model), especially the front-panel one which is only separated from the user by two layers of mesh. The fans become really audible at full speed. Most users won’t find this to be a problem, but people who prefer silent computers will be disappointed.
Zalman MS1000-HS2 at min fan speed
We put three HDDs into the rack with fan and one more HDD was fastened with rails into a 5.25-inch bay. All of the HDDs feel comfortable even at the minimum speed of the fans, indicating that the case is ventilated properly.
Zalman MS1000-HS2 at max fan speed
Setting the 92mm fan at its maximum speed helped lower the temperature of the HDDs by 5°C. They found themselves absolutely comfortable but the fan was not agreeable at full speed. Perhaps we were just not lucky with our sample which rattled audibly even at 1100 RPM. The 120mm fans left a good impression. Although not exactly silent, they were quiet at 1200 RPM and subjectively better than the fans of the Cooler Master.
When the system case was tested with the HDD rack fan turned off, the HDDs felt more or less comfortable in idle mode. When loaded, they began to heat up. When their temperature reached 55°C, we stopped the experiment as we had not meant it to be a stress test for the HDDs. So, we would not recommend you to use the racks of this system case without the fan if you’ve got more than one HDD in your system.