Testing Methodology

For testing Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in a stock configuration as well as with add-on graphics cards to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise. As we've retired our Micro-ATX board from the testbed, Micro-ATX enclosures will be using the Mini-ITX testbed.

Mini-ITX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-2120
(65W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Graphics Card Intel HD 2000 IGP

Zotac GeForce GTS 450 Eco
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
CPU Cooler SilverStone NT07-1156 with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone ST45SF 80 Plus Bronze 450W SFX

Each case is tested with just the Core i3's integrated graphics as well as with a discrete graphics card. The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running four threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU, and OC Scanner (maximum load) is run when the dedicated GPU is installed. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. If the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

We try to maintain an ambient testing temperature of between 22C and 24C. Non-thermal test results aren't going to be directly comparable to the finest decimal point, but should be roughly comparable and give a broader idea of how the enclosure performs.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

  • Thank you to Puget Systems for providing us with the Intel Core i3-2120.
  • Thank you to Zotac for providing us with the Z68ITX-A-E motherboard and GeForce GTS 450 Eco.
  • Thank you to Crucial for providing us with the Ballistix Smart Tracer memory.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • And thank you to SilverStone for providing us with the power supply and NT07-1156 heatsink/fan combo.
Assembling the Lian Li PC-TU100 Noise and Thermal Testing
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  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    More of the same. Wish they'd actually innovate. How about something like: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1750863&... Reply
  • mcbowler - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    or this http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1717132 Reply
  • barry spock - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Wow! Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    That's intriguing. What's the 3rd expansion slot for though? One of the handful of 3 slot cooler GPUs that have shown up or something else? Reply
  • WhiteAdam - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online. (Home more information)
    http://goo.gl/8jSFj
    Reply
  • chang3d - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    I've been following that NCase for a while now. I love its design and compactness.

    Assuming that Dustin will review it, I will guess that he will not like it too. The designer Necere himself did several temperature & noice benchmarks. And they are high. In fact, he doesn't even recommend watercooling the GPU with the H220 due to the fans have a lack of airflow. It is recommended to use a video card with a blower style cooler.

    If you are watercooling, only use the 120mm radiator kits. The case needs the other fan slot. So you'd be better off with a nice air cooler from Noctua, etc.

    Based on that, Dustin will have the same complaint here. And most likely another complaint because it's so small and tight.

    P.S. I will get an NCase. I'm not hating on it. I'm just saying Dustin likely will.
    Reply
  • meacupla - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    So, basically, too big for a compact mITX case, but too small for anything you'd want to put in a larger mITX case.
    Or, more succinctly, mediocre. Especially with the likes of APU and Haswell and their improved graphics that don't require the extra space.

    If only antec would give an updated version of their ISK310...
    Reply
  • epoon2 - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Antec is probably scared off from post PC era and abandoned their case position. Reply
  • thesavvymage - Thursday, May 30, 2013 - link

    honest question: what else does Antec even make? Seems to me they only make power supplies and cases... if they dont continue to innovate in cases because they are scared of a post pc era, what else would they even do to survive? Reply
  • epoon2 - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    This case looks like targeting to address small, low power usage customers. The heat/thermo tradeoff does not concern me... Reply

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