Benchmark Results and Conclusion
We tested the New Ark 90 with our Intel Core i9-7900X test platform. For comparison, we used the be Cooler Master MasterCase H500M, Cougar Panzer EVO RGB and NZXT H700i to give you a good idea where this case stands against others that are of similar size and feature sets. We ran tests with the New Ark 90's stock configuration, as well as with the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB.
Testing the chassis as-shipped, CPU core temperatures on our i9-7900X processor running at 4GHz were lackluster, though acceptable, at 63 degrees Celsius over ambient. Markedly higher than every other comparison case, temperatures dropped by a full 5 degrees Celsius when we reran our tests with the smaller MasterLiquid ML240R RGB installed in the front of the chassis. This points to the benefit of mounting a cooler in this location to draw in colder outside air.
To test our theory, we reconfigured the stock 280mm Captain all-in-one to draw air into the chassis. Temperatures decreased by 4 degrees Celsius. Therefore, we can say Deepcool's choice to focus on looks over functionality definitely affects thermal performance. And it doesn't stop at CPU cooling performance.
The odd all-in-one cooler fan placement also adversely affected GPU performance. The lack of cool outside air normally provided by intake fans mounted in the front of the case resulted in higher than normal GPU temps. Retesting this chassis with the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB installed in the front of the case brought graphics card temps back down to acceptable levels.
We took sound level readings with two off-the-shelf dB meters from two different angles. In default configuration with fan speeds set at 1,100 rpm (between the minimum 500 and maximum 1,800 rpm), our test system registered 30.2dBA at idle.
Under load, sound output increased to a surprisingly loud 37.5dBA. Of course, running your fans on the lowest setting gives you better acoustic performance at the detriment of cooling performance and vice versa. When we reran our tests with the MasterLiquid ML240R RGB at 1,100 rpm, our results dropped to 32.3dBA under load and 29.9dBA at idle.
Cooling efficiency and noise levels are both ways to measure performance. Determining acoustic efficiency, also referred to as cooling-to-noise ratio, is a matter of averaging all five of our tests to determine a base value.
What you see here is the result of overall poor thermal / acoustic performance coupled with a $300 asking price. The results aren't pretty.
Bizarre design choices make it even more difficult to recommend the New Ark 90. In fact, end users can save as much as $100 by selecting a much less expensive chassis, such as the Riotoro CR500 TG, Lian Li PC-011 Dynamic, or Cooler Master MasterCase H500P and adding your choice of RGB-lit all-in-one cooler. Not only does this save money, but it also eliminates the headaches associated with the New Ark 90's oddball hard drive placement, poorly thought out design and lack of upgrade options.
In the end it boils down to a very cool idea that suffers from poor implementation and execution.
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