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Quiet Gaming Cases, Part 3: Lian Li, Nanoxia, And SilverStone

Heat, Noise, And Heat Versus Noise

SilverStone’s Fortress 2 USB 3.0 tops our thermal performance chart as the coolest-running solution, due entirely to its excellent graphics cooling. On the other hand, it also exhibits fairly high CPU temperatures. Since heat pipes are designed to operate in a normally-oriented tower, SilverStone causes the heat pipes of most CPU coolers to behave differently by rotating the motherboard and CPU cooler 90°, while at the same time improving just about every other thermal condition.

The warmest cases in the above chart are revealed to be some of the quietest in the chart below. SilverStone’s cool-running FT02S-USB3.0 barely stays within our 42 dB(A) quiet case cutoff. We blame the orientation of the motherboard on this one. The top-venting GPU exhaust is much closer to our meter than the rear-vented exhaust of normally-oriented cases.

The first step in comparing temperature to noise is to turn a lower temperature result into a higher score. To begin, we average the temperature reading of all cases, and divide that number by each case’s average temperature to produce an inverse percentage-based thermal performance scale. Each case’s average noise level is then divided by the average for all cases, creating a direct percentage-based acoustic performance scale.

The term Relative in the Acoustic Efficiency chart refers to how each case relates, percentage-wise, to the class average of 100% efficiency. Since efficiencies greater than 100% are impossible, we simply move the baseline class average to 0% by subtracting the number 1 from each result.

Although it barely ducks in under our quiet case limits, the FT02S-USB3.0’s temperatures are low enough to put it on top of our heat-to-noise comparison.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.