Articles: Cases/PSU

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Thermal Characteristics and Power Requirements

The PSU is located horizontally. In fact, the cases may come equipped with different types of power supply units. In our case there was a mysterious ISO-450PP power supply unit. It claimed to support 450W of power, 20A current along the 3.3V line, 32A current along the 5V line and 16A current along the 12V line. The PSU suits for +230V AC/DC. It features a switch at the back and a connector for the standard power cables: the 20-pin and the 4-pin ones. To tell the truth, this PSU didn’t make a very good impression on me at first glance: it featured only one single fan (at the back of the PSU), provided very weak current along the 12V line and offered very few power connectors: only five HDD power connectors and one floppy power connector. Two HDDs, two optical devices and a powerful graphics card will inevitably eat up the entire power reserve of the PSU, although it is actually just a half of all devices that can fit into this system case. Moreover, the pins in the hard disk drive connectors move freely, so that it turns out quite complicated to plug the twisted cables into the proper connectors.

However, as far as the cooling of the system case is concerned, everything is in order here. Being Intel’s long-term partner, Foxconn makes sure that they meet all Intel’s requirements in terms of CPU cooling standards. At the top of the left side panel there is a standard plastic vent tube, typical of most Pentium 4 cases. The tube can be removed or readjusted as needed. Besides, it is covered with a large grid metal filter that doesn’t really protect against dust but at the same time doesn’t hinder the air flow towards the CPU. In fact, you can replace it with something more efficient if you wish to any time.

There is a large and quiet 120-mm fan with a standard three-pin connector at the rear panel of the case. The power cable of this fan is long enough so you can connect it to any fan plug that is free on your board.

There is another spot for an additional 92-mm fan right under the front panel ports block and status LEDs. It sucks the air in through six small holes in the front panel and a wide slit in the front part of the case bottom.

To check if our suppositions about the cooling conditions inside this system case are correct, we assembled the following testbed inside the Foxconn TP-230 case (note that this is not the “hottest” configuration possible):

  • ASUS P4C800-E rev.2.0 (BIOS 1016) mainboard;
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz CPU;
  • Intel Box cooler
  • 2x256MB OCZ OCZ433512ELDCPE-K memory;
  • Sapphire ATI Radeon X800 Pro 256MB graphics card
  • Maxtor MaxLine Plus II 250GB HDD
  • 3.5" Sony MPF920-E floppy drive

All cables were placed in the most optimal way, so that they couldn’t hinder the airflow, all default fans were connected and the case was put inside the Sanyo MIR-253 incubator where we maintained a stable temperature of 25oC. The tests were run in two work modes: Idle mode (OS is loaded, system is idling) and Burn mode (FarCry, 1024x768, maximum image quality settings, the pre-recorded demo looping constantly). The warm-up time before the temperatures were measured was 40 minutes.

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