Articles: Cases/PSU

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Test Results

The next table shows the temperatures of components in the system case.

GMC R-4 Bulldozer, °C

Hard disks are numbered from left to right. That is, HDD1 is the closest to the power supply.

This system case is no good at cooling. Every component is rather hot, especially the HDDs. It seems that the fan at the bottom of the front panel only makes things worse because the airflow goes past the HDDs. Moreover, the side-panel fan produces an additional influx of air. The CPU feels better as the result (the advantage would be more conspicuous if we used a boxed cooler) but the excessive pressure inside the case makes the vent holes near the HDDs useless. In fact, the HDDs find themselves in a blank, unventilated corner. It is there that the intake fan would be appropriate!

The choice of fans is questionable, too. They are all right in terms of quality and do not rattle with their bearings, but their speeds are odd. For example, the front-panel fan has a speed of only 1200rpm and is nearly silent whereas the 120mm fan at the back panel works at 1600rpm and rustles audibly. The minimum speed of the side 80mm fan is 1800rpm. This is not very noisy but the specific configuration of vent holes makes the fan audible, even though it is not as loud as the back-panel fan. Its controller works in an odd way, too. When I pressed its button, the tachometer only reported a ridiculous 50rpm increase in speed.

To sum everything up, the system case is rather noisy, but acceptable. On one hand, three fans is quite a lot for its price, but the fans are not ideal and, for all their noise, cannot cope with cooling the HDDs properly. Therefore, if you value silence, you may want to replace the side and rear fans with quieter models. The front fan can be left as it is.

Now let’s compare the case with an open testbed.

The compact case is worse than the open testbed even in idle mode although the components are far from dangerously hot, except for the HDDs. Considering that a compact computer is usually used for simple tasks like web-browsing or typing text, you shouldn’t have any problems.

The R4 Bulldozer cannot cope with the HDDs when the latter are under load. Of course, it is unlikely that someone will install two 10,000rpm HDDs into this system case, but the temperature of over 50°C is dangerous indeed. We’d recommend using 5400rpm HDDs in this system case because they produce far less heat. You may also want to install only one HDD rather than two.

The system case copes well with high CPU load. It is not as good as the open testbed but the CPU temperature was safe and the CPU cooler didn’t increase its speed.

The Bulldozer R4 is good under the gaming load, too, except for the increased temperature of the HDDs which seem to get a lot of heat from the hot graphics card and CPU even though our graphics card has a blower that exhausts most of the hot air out of the system case. We’d recommend using graphics cards with such coolers (unless you want to use an integrated graphics solution) because the system case is not good in terms of ventilation and getting all the hot air from the graphics card is going to be too much for it.

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