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Test Settings

Quiet Gaming Cases, Part 2: Corsair, Fractal, And Gigabyte
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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 6C/12T @ 4.25 GHz (34 x 125 MHz, 1.40 V Core)
CPU CoolerCoolink Corator DS 120 mm Tower
MotherboardAsus P9X79 WS: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express, Firmware 0603 (11-11-2011)
O/C @ 125 MHz BCLK
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-2200
Benchmarked at DDR3-1600 CAS 9 defaults
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 580: 772 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-4008
Maximum Fan for Thermal Tests, SLI
Hard DrivesSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM
ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 296.10 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.3.1020


We reused the test platform from our earlier gaming case series, complete with the same overclock settings, adjusting our thermal expectations rather than the platform’s voltage levels. A sacrificial C0-stepping Core i7-3960X on Asus’ P9X79 WS heats the CPU area.

We normally choose a heat sink for its low noise and cooling performance, but Coolink’s Corator DS delivers the moderately low temperatures and moderately high noise results needed to properly evaluate the airflow and noise-dampening capabilities of these cases.

Blowers are the biggest cause for noise complaints in gaming PCs, so we tossed in Nvidia’s reference GeForce GTX 580 with an excruciatingly-noisy 100% duty cycle for our load test. We let the fan rotate down to its minimum angular velocity for idle noise measurements.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 threads
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped
Real Temp 3.40Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/2 m, corrected to 1 m (-6 dB), dBA weighting
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