Benchmarks & Final Analysis
[Note: This is a different test platform from the one used in our other ATX case reviews, so we re-tested the BitFenix Nova to keep the comparison fair. This is indicated by the "test #2." Readers who are good with numbers should be able to make comparisons that way between the cases tested here, and those tested at our other lab.]
As you might expect from a chassis with a single 120mm exhaust fan and a tempered glass side panel, the Eclipse P300 performed poorly during thermal testing.
Temperatures on our budget quad-core i5-7500 processor running at 3.8 GHz ran as high as 68°C under load with ambient temperatures as low as 25°C during testing. Graphics card temperatures suffered the most from the lack of an intake fan. GPU temps were upward of 83°C, a full 58°C over ambient temperature.
Thanks to the tempered glass side panel, a front fascia with no forward-facing vents, and a single case fan, this chassis generated very little noise at just 33.4dBA under load. At idle, the Eclipse P300 was extremely quiet at 29.6dBA.
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. Phanteks Eclipse P300 generated very little noise partly by eliminating intake fans. Sure the tempered glass side panel helps, because it reflects sound back into the chassis, but we believe the the addition of one or more intake fans would almost certainly negatively impact these acoustic results.
Unfortunately, the higher temperatures compromises the Eclipse P300's value score in our performance-to-price comparison, despite its low asking price. Its competitors also have low asking prices. And they also perform better.
Our value results are a bit misleading, even now. Most people who buy this chassis will undoubtedly want to add at least one or more intake fans to the system build. Obviously, that is going to add cost. And while those fans will enhance cooling performance, it will come at the expense of overall system noise. If Phanteks were to add a fan and hold the price steady, it might be hard to pass up. For now, there are better choices.
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On the other hand, a case manufacturer may supply a case to hit a certain target price point ... but, as in this case, they also provided (4) additional fan mounts. So, in order for me to evaluate the viability of this case, when you choose too compare it with two other cases, both of which have (2) fans installed, I'm left typing "Eclipse P300 Case Review " in the web search window looking for a review that is relevant and comes the cases on equal footing.
Yes, out of the box testing is relevant, but w/o a standardized platform (2 intakes / 1 exhaust) for apples and apples comparisons, it doesn't tell me anything I need to know. And yes, we want more inatkes than exhaust because w/o that, the resistance from the air inlet filters will mean less air in that out. And that means not only dust carrying in dust but that dust will most likely be carried in by PSI and GFX card exhaust thru the rear case grilles.
Will most likely purchase phanteks cases from here on out.
My one and only complaint is with the power button design. It is very common for it to get stuck when pressed and cause boot errors. This is because it is elongated and if you push off center, it can catch. I have to always press it with both index and middle finger to ensure it goes down evenly. This entry level tower looks to have the same button design. Don't let that deter you though...just be aware. The MANY pros out-weigh the one con.
Also, since when is i5 a budget CPU? C'mon...