Benchmark Results: Heat And Noise
With two 180 mm fans blowing directly towards the CPU and graphics card, SilverStone’s lead at high fan speeds doesn’t surprise any of us. Instead, the real surprise is how closely the far-cheaper Rosewill Blackhawk falls behind it.
Cooler Master’s HAF X isn’t too far back there either, though it’s technically tied with the Raven RV03’s low-speed setting for third place. The Dragon Rider’s performance also looks quite good in a race this close, especially when we consider that its enormous side fan had to be pulled out to clear our CPU cooler.
Thermaltake’s intake fan doesn’t appear to be very effective, since changing its speed had no effect on GPU temperature. Speeding up its top-panel exhaust did aid CPU cooling, but only slightly.
The average temperature of the above chart is 53° Celsius. For our upcoming Acoustic Efficiency chart, we divide that number by the average temperature of each cases to create a percent scale, with the Raven RV03s high-speed fan setting at 111% and the Chaser MK-I's low-speed fan setting at 88%.
The Chaser MK-I is our quietest review sample when it's switched to a low fan speed, but it climbs to the middle of the graph with its fans turned up. A big increase in noise is a poor trade-off for a miniscule increase in cooling performance.
SilverStone’s Raven RV03 isn’t far behind Thermaltake in low-fan quietness. The big increase in idle noise from the faster fan-speed settings would force us to choose low-speed mode most of the time.
Decibels use a logarithmic scale, so a 3 db increase in SPL is immediately noticeable. The HAF X allows nearly four added decibels of system noise to escape compared to the second-place Raven RV03.
Competitive in the cooling chart, Rosewill falls far behind most of the pack in noise isolation, exceeded only by the mesh-paneled Dragon Rider and full-speed Raven RV03 in this test of annoyance factor.
The average noise level for all of the above results is 37 decibels. We divided each case’s average noise level by 37 to determine a percent scale that awarded the quietest case the lowest number in our Acoustic Efficiency calculations, ranging from 91.1% for the Chaser MK-I to 107.7% for the Raven RV03 set to its highest fan setting.