Articles: Cases/PSU

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Thermal Performance

So, here come the test results.

We chose a Pentium 4 560 processor deliberately as it is still a leader in heat dissipation level, being no cooler than Intel’s early dual-core CPUs. The graphics card also heats up the air inside the case despite its rather massive cooler. So, the main question we were asking ourselves was if such an advanced configuration could work normally in a system case of that small size. The picture is quite predictable in the Idle mode:

These are typical enough numbers. The CPU temperature may seem a bit high for Idle mode, but this is in fact quite a normal value for this CPU and this cooler (and the cooler is not at all guilty here). Our sample of the Intel Pentium 4 560 is never cooler than 45°C even when idle and on an open testbed, so the temperature shown in the diagram is quite a normal result.

Then we tested the system in the CPU Burn mode two times: with the vent in the top panel closed and open.

You see the numbers don’t differ much, while the noise from the CPU cooler is more audible when the vent is open. So, we think it’s better to keep it closed, if you use a Zalman CNPS9500LED at the maximum speed. We have no complaints otherwise; the temperatures of the other components are beyond danger.

And here are the VGA Burn results:

That’s just excellent.

As for the HDD Burn mode, the vent openings near the drives cage do their job well, so the temperature of the HDD was never higher than 37°C. Some full-size system cases provide worse cooling for the drive.

We’d want to add one note about the orientation of the power supply in the HD160. Although Zalman recommends to install it with the fan facing the air inlet in the right panel of the case, our tests show that you don’t have to follow this recommendation. As we have mentioned above, the power supply helps to drop the CPU temperature by about 2-3°C in the Burn mode when installed in the traditional way. This doesn’t have any effect on the temperature of the PSU itself and the speed of its fan, so why shouldn’t you take this opportunity? You may want to try both variants to see what suits better for your particular configuration.

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