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Temperature, Noise, and Acoustic Efficiency

Four More Sub-$100 Cases For Your Gaming Build, Reviewed
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The Enermax Ostrog GT gives us the lowest CPU temperatures in today’s test, but Zalman’s MS800 Plus keeps our graphics card coolest. Rosewill’s R5 takes second place in both measurements.

Even if Rosewill’s case fans produced twice the volume at full speed as they do at minimum speed, our graphics card and CPU fans would drown them out. That’s partly because Rosewill positions its side panel vents right next to our CPU and graphics fans, blocking little to none of their noise.

BitFenix wins the noise reduction race, leaving Zalman’s more-expensive MS800 Plus in position two. That sets us up for an interesting heat-to-noise comparison. And for that, we need a little extra calculation.

First we need a baseline. Nothing is silent and noise has no limits. So, we averaged the noise of all tests to create a group average. In our comparison chart, the average of today’s contenders is called a baseline, and the word "relative" refers to how much better or worse each case is than that baseline. Now that we have baselines, we can put noise and heat on a percent scale.

Dividing baseline temperature by a case’s average temperature gives it a higher percentage score for a lower thermal reading. Dividing a case’s average noise level by baseline noise level gives it a higher percentage score for a higher reading. Since a higher divisor produces a lower dividend, the case with either the lowest temperature or lowest noise level can lead this heat/noise calculation, and a case that has both lower temperatures and lower noise will surely win.

Since nothing can be more than 100% efficient, I offset the scale to zero by subtracting 100%. With its fans at full speed, Zalman’s MS800 Plus beats the group average by 10%. Enermax’s Ostrog GT takes second place with 7% above-average overall performance.

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