Results: Temperatures And Noise
The parts we picked for this build should get warm enough to push the DS' two slow-spinning fans, but not overwhelm them. Of course, if you're using a graphics card that dumps all of its heat back into your case, or a more enthusiast-oriented CPU, more cooling performance can be achieved by installing two optional fans in their places at the top of the case, or opting for a 240 mm closed-loop liquid cooler. Again, we're sticking with Aerocool's stock setup, though.
|Temperatures under Full Load|
|System Configuration||Top Cover Completely Closed||Top Cover with Mesh Opening|
|Ambient Temperature||20.5 °C||20.5 °C|
|CPU (Core i5-2500K)||61.6 °C||59.6 °C|
|GPU (Radeon HD 7950)||69 °C||69 °C|
|(Fan 56% = 2297 RPM)||(Fan 56% = 2283 RPM)|
|Hard Drive||28 °C||28 °C|
As we were expecting, temperatures remain in an acceptable range, despite the slow case fans. HIS' Radeon HD 7950 maxes out at 69 degrees Celsius at a fan speed of 2300 RPM due to its self-contained cooling solution, which doesn't offload its job onto the chassis' airflow. Intel's Core i5-2500K at an average temperature of 61.6 degrees Celsius across its four cores. Using the mesh top panel instead of the closed one yields a small improvement to 59.6 degrees Celsius.
If you're considering using this sort of system in an ambient environment of more than 30 degrees Celsius, consider installing those fans under the case's top cover. Really, it's too bad that Aerocool doesn't include a fan controller, giving the option of a second, higher fan speed. There's also the option to optimize a bit under the hood for better breathing. The first idea that comes to mind is pulling the external drive cage if it's not needed.
Aerocool's Dead Silence tries to live up to its name by maintaining low fan speeds. This isn’t completely successful, though. The rear fan rumbles along quite noticeably. A higher-quality fan would have been a better value-add. The front fan manages to provide airflow inaudibly with a bit of help from the front cover that absorbs some of the noise; it can only be heard once the cover is removed.
This case isn't completely silent, but still manages to perform modestly in our acoustic measurements. Switching out the rear fan would result in a noticeable improvement, though 37.7 and 38.0 dB(A) are solid numbers.
In order to get a better idea of how our installed components affect noise, we took two more measurements. The first only included the stock case fans, while the second included the entire system under full load. The graphics card fan dominates the latter measurement.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Case Fans Only||Whole System|
|Front (50 cm)||37.7 dB(A)||42 dB(A)|
|Diagonal Left Top (50 cm)||38.0 dB(A)||41.2 dB(A)|
|Diagonal Right Top (50 cm)||38.0 dB(A)||41.2 dB(A)|