Cooling and Noise
Now that we have assembled the entire system, let’s check the quality of the system cooling and the level of noise the operational system would generate normally.
To make it run quieter and to improve the cooling Soltek applied three technologies. The first one is Soltek’s brand name technology called IcyQ. The idea behind it is that the air streams are directed inside the case in a more optimal way due to proper location of the cooling elements. How does this entire thing work? Cool outside air gets in through the vent holes at the bottom and sides of the case, and it cools down the memory modules and the hard disk drive on the way to the CPU cooler.
When it passes the CPU, the fan of the PSU sucks the air inside the power supply unit and then blows it outside the case through the PSU back panel. The remaining hot air is removed from the case by a special fan located next to the CPU through a wind tunnel.
This way, there is very even air flow created, which is intended to reduce the temperature of the system elements significantly. Well, let’s find out if this is true or not.
The configuration of the system we assembled for our thermal experiments was similar to what we will use for performance tests later on. Here are the components we used:
- Athlon 64 (Newcastle) 3500+ CPU;
- ATI RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB graphics card;
- OCZ PC4200 memory, 2 x 512MB;
- Qbic EQ3901M Barebone;
- Cooler supplied with the barebone system.
To “warm up” the system CPU we ran S’n’M utility, which loads it up to 100%. To “warm up” the entire system we also ran 3DMark05 benchmark set. All temperatures were monitored with the help of Soltek Hardware Monitor utility and SpeedFan tool bundled with the barebone system. Before we discuss the actual results of our thermal tests, I suggest taking a closer look at the above mentioned monitoring software.