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Heat, Noise, And Heat Vs. Noise

Four 10-Slot Cases For Four-Way SLI, Tested And Reviewed
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The best way to compare the performance of similar parts is to use the same test bed for each. Unfortunately, our test bed simply isn't elaborate enough for one of the cases being evaluated. A look at the thermal results consequently requires some explanation.

Rosewill, Enermax, and Thermaltake presented variations on a theme, with Thermaltake using the power supply’s intake fan to do the same job as Rosewill’s and Enermax’s top-panel fan. As such, a power supply with a bottom-mounted 140 mm intake would likely have boosted Thermaltake’s cooling a little. The Antec HCP-1200 used in this test has flow-through cooling with an 80 mm rear fan instead.

This is also the point where we must buck the myth that bigger is better in regards to keeping case temperatures low. Airflow is the key to keeping a CPU cool, and some of the cases with the highest air velocity at the CPU cooler are fairly small. In the case of Azza’s Fusion 4000, open space above the lower system’s motherboard most likely reduced the exhaust fan’s ability to create velocity at its CPU cooler. Had a mini-ITX motherboard been mounted in this case’s upper portion, it may have acted as a diverter to increase velocity in this critical part. Thus, this case should really be tested in the dual-system or dual-radiator configurations for which it is designed.

The few reviewers who have called Rosewill’s Thor V2 a quiet case are obviously not testing four GeForce GTX 580s at full fan speed. Though the difference is small, it does allow slightly more graphics noise to escape when compared to its competition.

What the noise chart doesn’t show is pitch, and that’s a shame because Thermaltake’s Armor+ VH6000BWS emits an annoying groan from its side-panel fan. We found that simply sticking a napkin on half the fan was enough to stop its soft (yet conspicuous) tone.

To compare cooling and noise, we first made a percent scale of each system’s actual performance. Dividing the total average temperature of all systems by each system’s average temperature creates a scale that awarded a higher performance “score” for lower temperatures. Dividing the average noise level of each system by the total average noise level of all systems creates an inverse performance score for low noise. Finally, dividing the heat “score” by the noise “score” creates an “Acoustic Efficiency” number where the average is 100%.

Of course, nothing is 100% efficient. Subtracting the 100% baseline from the resulting calculations gives chartable values that reflect how much more or less efficient a case is relative to the average of all cases. The Thor V2’s cooling prowess puts it at the top of this chart in spite of its slightly worse noise suppression.

The Armor+ VH6000BWS again suffers from our choice of power supply, since its intake vents are nowhere near the CPU cooler, and would be best paired with a power supply that has a 140 mm intake on its bottom. The Fusion 4000 suffers in the same way, though it has far more room for additional fans.

Display all 41 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    tarekwm , November 18, 2011 4:24 AM
    4 way sli is too damn excessive! but anyway nice builds
  • 1 Hide
    metallifux , November 18, 2011 4:39 AM
    The enermax looks like a carbon copy of the CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 18, 2011 5:23 AM
    damn those cases look huge, in a good way.
    i am pretty sure i could live in the top apartment compartment of the azza case. it has in built cooling, water supply if one is using water cooling, a bottom grill window and so on. ;D
  • 8 Hide
    joytech22 , November 18, 2011 6:01 AM
    I just wish I could find the Azza Fusion 4000. >:\

    I could really take advantage of the dual mobo feature.
    Just stick a i5-i7 Mini-ITX system in the top for thin clients, servers for gaming at lans etc..

    Then use the more powerful bottom system with a KVM switch and use whichever you want for whatever task you intend to perform. :) 

    That's what I would do anyway.. I might get thumbed down but that's my use.
  • 0 Hide
    pro-gamer , November 18, 2011 6:25 AM
    wow!!! azza 4000 is best solution for four way sli/cfx
  • 9 Hide
    ksampanna , November 18, 2011 6:32 AM
    I know it's not a cpu/graphic card review, but come on ... 980X & 4 580s beg for performance numbers
  • 4 Hide
    Dacatak , November 18, 2011 6:38 AM
    I would also love to see some benchmarks for those four 580s.
  • -1 Hide
    DRosencraft , November 18, 2011 6:49 AM
    Does anyone actually know a place in the US you can get the Azza? I can't seem to find one.
  • 0 Hide
    buzznut , November 18, 2011 7:03 AM
    I think the Enermax case is really sharp. The Thor isn't bad looking but the Armor is god awful. I don't like the aesthetics of the Azza case, but I bet the top portion could be put to use as a housing for a pretty wicked water cooling setup! That's what I'd do anyway.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 7:49 AM
    The toms guys are without ideas. Why not make a competition looking for de pc cheapest-fastest?
    Spaniard
  • 0 Hide
    metallifux , November 18, 2011 8:01 AM
    Quote:
    I think the Enermax case is really sharp. The Thor isn't bad looking but the Armor is god awful. I don't like the aesthetics of the Azza case, but I bet the top portion could be put to use as a housing for a pretty wicked water cooling setup! That's what I'd do anyway.


    carbon copy of the CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced

    http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=18722
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , November 18, 2011 8:07 AM
    metallifuxThe enermax looks like a carbon copy of the CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced
    Only the looks
    metallifuxcarbon copy of the CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced http://www.pccasegear.com/index.ph [...] s_id=18722
    Great, I'd love to see you put two power supplies and a 9-10 slot configuration in the 8-slot single PSU case!
    SpanihardThe toms guys are without ideas. Why not make a competition looking for de pc cheapest-fastest?Spaniard
    If you'd actually READ any of the previous Tom's Hardware case roundups, you'd know that your suggestion is a rather old idea.
  • 0 Hide
    darkstar845 , November 18, 2011 8:51 AM
    Just a question, can the antec 1200w PSU handle all four GTX 580 at full load?
  • -1 Hide
    joytech22 , November 18, 2011 9:54 AM
    darkstar845Just a question, can the antec 1200w PSU handle all four GTX 580 at full load?


    I'm pretty sure it would.
    They would draw maybe 200-250W each?
  • 0 Hide
    blibba , November 18, 2011 12:51 PM
    Can we get some full load temps on the quad SLI?
  • -1 Hide
    CaedenV , November 18, 2011 1:16 PM
    darkstar845Just a question, can the antec 1200w PSU handle all four GTX 580 at full load?

    200W for CPU, mobo, ram, HDD and fans, which should be enough for a good build, but not enough for a large RAID array or anything

    Rally Toms? No performance charts for Quad SLI? And what about running Quad SLI on a new SB-E with all of those beautiful PCIe Lanes to spare! Nothing would make my day quite like seeing how sadly my single 570 stacks up to 4X580 lol.

    Also, as I said in the initial case review; those are all beautiful cases except for the Thermaltake... just what where they thinking?
  • -1 Hide
    CaedenV , November 18, 2011 1:18 PM
    LOL, I guess I should not have used the less than and more than signs in my post above! I meant to say that the 580's take a little less than 250W, meaning you have roughly 1000W for graphics, leaving 200W for the rest of the system
  • 0 Hide
    lockhrt999 , November 18, 2011 2:09 PM
    metallifuxcarbon copy of the CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced http://www.pccasegear.com/index.ph [...] s_id=18722


    I was going to say the same thing.
  • -4 Hide
    spookyman , November 18, 2011 2:19 PM
    Why would I spend $1000 for an old processor?

    How about seeing the Sandy Bridge-E setup? That would seem more appropriate for a modern quad sli set up.
  • 0 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 18, 2011 2:29 PM
    Bought the 10-slot Armor+ last year & been loving it ever since. Best case I ever had. I want to get another one for my next build.

    PROS: Things I do love about this case:
    1. It's built solid
    2. Plenty of room, easy to build in (it's huge!!)
    3. Love how the door open's, so easy, works flawless
    4. wanted 10 slot case for future upgrades
    5. vents in the front keep out the dust very well, and easy to clean
    6. PSU support bar so PSU doesn't flex your case (not that it would, thick metal)
    7. plenty of storage (drawer on top, and in front, + I added one)
    8. Love the usb ports, power (reset is too small) on top, perfect place, easy to access.
    9. ect. ect. ect.

    CONS: There are a few things about it that I don't like:
    1. The side window, I prefer a plain window so I can see inside.
    2. Don't like the card latches, pulled mine off.
    3. Wish there were more holes in the m.b. tray for cpu backplate and wire routing.
    4. Would have been nice to have Watercooling slots near the bottom (i drilled mine)

    But these are only negatives for me, other people might like these features.

    Again, this is the best case i've ever had. And I am planning on getting another one. My next build I am gonna take my time building, and I'm planning on modding the crap out of this case. Just waiting till tax time to roll around again. Anyways, anyone interested here is a video of my system and my gaming room. :) 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zfs97z5zOk
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