Articles: Cooling

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Idle Mode

The results are highly satisfactory. Despite the average quality of the chassis, Thermaltake has done a good job: the two 120mm fans working at a 1300rpm speed keep the system case well ventilated. The temperatures of all the components are very low. The hard drives and the central processor feel especially well in there. As for the rather high GPU temperature, it is in fact typical for this series of graphics cards (an idle GPU temperature of 50°C is quite normal for them). By the way, the Idle mode in our tests can be equaled to working in office applications, watching a movie or listening to music, etc. This kind of load is very light, considering the overall performance of the system, and leads to a temperature increase of 1-2°C at most.

The only thing I couldn’t understand about the SViking was the meaning of the fan-speed controllers. When I tried to increase the fan speeds above the default 1300rpm, I only heard more noise, while the temperatures remained almost the same. But maybe this feature is going to help at maximum CPU loads?

CPU Burn Mode

Quite expectably the temperatures of the CPU and mainboard got higher the most. The GPU temperature went up, too, because of the hot air coming to it from the CPU cooler. Those 71 degrees centigrade on the CPU, at a low cooler speed, is a good result as you can’t load the CPU like that in real life.

The fan-speed controls didn’t bring anything again, except for more noise. The maximum I could get by setting a higher speed for the system fans was a reduction of the CPU temperature by 2°C which was a dubious achievement, considering the much higher level of noise.

The results for the gaming mode are somewhat different as you can see in the next diagram.

VGA Burn Mode

The temperatures of the CPU and mainboard are much lower than in the CPU Burn mode, but the temperatures of the GPU and the graphics card’s PCB have got higher. This is all quite natural since the graphics card carries the main burden here. The rather high GPU temperature is due to sheer lack of air for ventilation – by opening the front door I made the temperature of the graphics card go down by 10°C! I don’t think the problem with cooling the graphics card can be solved without totally remaking the air inlet in the front panel. And I don’t think someone who buys this system case is going to remove one of its main decorative elements. On the other hand, this problem is unlikely to arise with less powerful graphics cards.

The maximum I got in the HDD Burn Mode was 38°C. This is an acceptable and safe mode of operation for any modern hard disk drive.

All in all, this system case is a good product. It can ensure stable operation of a modern computer on a condition that the room temperature is not higher than 25°C. But if there’s no air-conditioner in your apartment, I wouldn’t recommend you to use such system cases for building top-end computers. The overall quality of manufacture falls short of the class of products this system case seems to belong to, considering its price.

Our Verdict: Thermaltake SViking

Highs: Good hard disk drive rack; great preinstalled system fans; informational display on the front panel

Lows: Fan-speed controllers proved to be useless in our tests; not very good quality of components and manufacture; questionable exterior design; cramped internal space; high price

Conclusion: A nice system case for a midrange computer, if you like its exterior. But still I think the price is unreasonably high

Thermaltake SViking VA4000BWS average retail price - $110, without a power supply

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