We test assembled system cases at a constant ambient temperature of 23°C maintained by an air conditioner. As we assume that most users prefer low-noise computers, we set the speed of the CPU and system fans (connected via the mainboard’s 3-pin connectors) at Silent (the quietest mode in the mainboard’s BIOS). If a system case has its own speed controller, we switch it to its minimum speed, too. We do not change the default configuration of air flows determined by system case design.
The following components are installed into each system case:
- Intel Core i5 3330 processor (3 GHz, up to 3.2 GHz in Boost mode)
- Intel’s Socket 115x CPU cooler (with a copper core)
- Gigabyte GA-B75N mainboard (Intel B75, LGA1155)
- Kingston SH100S3/240G SSD (240 GB, SATA III)
- Two hard disk drives Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD (3.5”, 10,000 RPM, SATA)
- Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3K2/8G memory kit (2x4 GB, 1600 MHz, CL9)
- HIS HD 3870 IceQ3 Turbo H387Q512NP graphics card (Radeon HD 3870, PCIe, 512 MB)
- Seasonic SS-520FL2 power supply (520 W)
- Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)
We test system cases with their bundled PSUs if they have one.
If not stated otherwise, the HDDs are listed in the order of their placement from the top HDD bay downwards without any gaps.
The temperature of the CPU is measured with Core Temp 0.99.8. HDD, GPU and mainboard temperatures are measured with CPUID Hardware Monitor. The speed of the fans is measured with an optical tachometer Velleman DTO2234.
There are the following test modes:
- IOMeter (IOMeter’s Access Time test running on all HDDs to load them fully)
- Linpack (Linpack-based Intel Burn Test 2.5 runs in the stress test mode, loading both CPU cores; we show you the peak temperature of the hottest CPU core in the diagrams)
- MSI Kombustor (full-screen mode, DirectX 9 rendering, 1280x1024 with 8x MSAA, Xtreme burn-in; we show you the peak temperature of the hottest CPU core in the diagrams)
Every temperature is read after the system has worked for half an hour in the current test mode.
The following table shows the temperatures of the components if the system is assembled without an enclosure (“open testbed”).
The noise level is evaluated subjectively.