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Test Setup And Benchmarks

The Final Five: Gaming Cases Between $80 And $120, Rounded-Up
Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E): 3.30 GHz, Six Cores
O/C to 4.25 GHz (34 x 125 MHz) at 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 at 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 Speed 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
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 296.10 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF

We reused the test platform from our earlier Four ATX Cases For High-Capacity Water Cooling, Reviewed article, but at an overclocked setting more appropriate for air cooling. The test platform includes Asus’ P9X79 WS and a sacrificial C0-stepping Core i7-3960X.

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.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 Threads
3DMark 11Version:, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped
RealTemp 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), A-Weighting
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