For thermal and acoustic testing, we are using the following software and settings:
|CPU Clock||i9 9900k: 4.6 GHz (46x 100MHz) @ 1.1v|
|GPU Clock||RTX 2070 Super: Stock|
|GPU Driver||Nvidia GeForce 445.87|
|Case & CPU Fan Speeds||Stock Configuration 100%, Standardized CPU 100%, Case fans 50%.|
|GPU Fan Speeds||75%|
The three included RGB fans spin at a minimum speed of about 200 RPM at a 10% PWM signal, but will spin all the way up to 1450 RPM at full speed. This is a nice range, and at higher speeds, they sound like big fans, which is a good thing. They produce a pleasant noise without too much bearing grind or whistle.
For our acoustic tests, we run three scenarios: CPU full load, CPU and GPU full load, and an optimized idle. The CPU Full Load test runs the CPU and case fans at their maximum speed. For the CPU and GPU full load acoustic test we add the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super FE at 75% fan speed, because in practice it never runs at 100 percent and is far too loud when it does.
For the optimized idle, we run the GPU fan speed at 40 percent (the 2070 Super FE GPU does not have a Zero-RPM mode), and run the CPU and included case fans at the lowest speed they will spin at.
In the stock tests, with only the included fans, the 5000X RGB battles with the Lancool 215 and Lancool II Mesh for noise levels. It’s not particularly loud, but the more budget-friendly Corsair 4000X RGB is quieter, mainly thanks to fans that spin about 100 RPM slower. Of course, with a similar chassis design, this difference will reflect in the thermal results.
For the thermal tests, all case and CPU fan speeds are set to 100 percent. The i9-9900K is pegged at a 4.6GHz clock at 1.1v on all cores to ensure consistent power consumption across test scenarios, and letting the GPU run at 75 percent fan speed enables it to maintain its power target while maintaining one set reasonable fan speed, so that the temperature is the only variable.
And as predicted, thermally, the 5000X runs a little cooler than the 4000X in its stock configuration, with figures closer to that of the 4000D Airflow.
To correct for differences in case fans, for the standardized test we remove the standard case fans and replace them with Corsair ML120 or ML140 units. Up to three fans may be installed, preferably one at the default exhaust location and two at the front intake, in the biggest size the case supports. The above tests are then repeated, but because the Corsair ML fans have absurdly high maximum speeds, we run those at 50% duty for the tests as no case fan should ever need to run above those speeds.
The standardized test is the most brutal of them all, mainly because it doesn’t differentiate between cases. The side exhaust doesn’t get used, and it’s entirely up to the chassis’ construction to define acoustic and thermal performance. Here, the 5000X tips towards the quieter end of the scale thanks to its glass panels that reflect noise back into the chassis, rather than leaking it out, though at the expense of thermals, leaning toward warmer end of the scale.
Adding Side Intake
Of course, how valid are these standardized tests really without taking into account the side panel, and its added intake? We added three fans ML120 here, ran them at about the same speed as the intake case fans, and observed the changes.
Despite adding a bunch of noise (46.8 dB total system noise) the side intake did help reduce the CPU temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and the GPU temperature by about 4 degrees C.
However, I wasn’t happy with this result. It’s a disappointing improvement especially considering the increase in noise levels, so I removed the shroud on the inside. This helped reduce noise by another dB and added more airflow, dropping the temperatures a further 2 degrees – and it’s this configuration that makes most sense.
That being said, none of this is really a valid test for this case. You’re meant to use it with a nice big AIO at the top for better CPU cooling and adding exhaust, which together with an exhaust fan, added intake fans, and careful fan tuning will lead to better GPU temperatures and noise levels too. Alas, 360mm AIOs don’t fit in all ATX cases, so they’re not part of our standardized test suite.
Corsair’s 5000X RGB is, per usual Corsair fashion, well thought-out and a pleasure to use. It’s a complete package, and although pricey, the build quality, ease of use, and looks are all there. Some might call it a bit boring, but to me Corsair is the Ikea of PC hardware – it’s simple, easy to use, qualitatively good, and styled to match the majority of homes.
In that way, the 5000X does a lot of things right, adding tons of tempered glass, adding side intake to overcome the 4000X RGB’s limitations, better front IO, and all-in-all being a pleasant case to work and live with, and it goes a decent way to justifying its $205 price point, and if you’re pursuing a high-end build, it can be worth shortlisting.
But my main gripe with it is that it doesn’t come complete with the added three fans to make use of the side intake. And without it, I don’t see a reason to opt for this over the 4000X RGB. This case already costs a substantial $85 more than the 4000X RGB, and you have to spend another $30 as a user to get improved thermals out of it – that’s $115 more, and in my opinion, the improved thermal performance isn’t worth the cost, hassle, and noise for the vast majority of builds.
Because of this, I can only recommend the 5000X for high-budget builds where the added cost of these fans isn’t a concern to get great thermals paired with the sleek looks of glass on four sides. Rip out the side shroud, chuck in a few extra fans and a big AIO, and the 5000X provides a majestic enclosure for your precious hardware. If cost is a non-issue, then the 5000X is a great contender for sleek, dignified high-end builds – but I’ll be pointing most folks towards the 4000X RGB if they like the looks on offer and don’t want to spend as much.