We’ve seen bold claims of cooling superiority for big cases, yet the largest full-tower case in today’s comparison barely edges out the smallest one. NZXT’s performance is especially impressive, since the Hades is too compact to support its side fan and our CPU cooler simultaneously.
In fact, the NZXT Hades actually beats the Element V at minimum fan speeds, and we think we know why: the Hades case is wrapped tightly around the CPU cooler, forcing its exhaust fans to draw air through it, rather than around it. The inverse would explain why the widest case in today’s roundup, Cooler Master’s Storm Sniper, has the worst low-fan speed results.
Cooler Master and Zalman tie for the quietest case fans at 25dB, yet neither of these does a particularly good job of blocking the excessive noise of our CPU cooler. For that, we again look to Thermaltake’s Element V and again find an easy explanation: by placing the Element V’s side fan and related ventilation holes below the CPU, Thermaltake allows only reflected noise to escape.
The SPL difference between directional and reflected noise can be significant, which is why this writer always places his PC to his left, so that ventilated side panels face away from his head. Yet, doing so makes it impractical to use cases with doors that swing to the right, such as NZXT’s Hades.
Good cooling and modest noise reduction allow Thermaltake’s Element V to easily pass other solutions in cooling-to-noise comparisons.