Test Results And Conclusion
Before we discuss how our finished build performs, you’ll probably want to see how it looks. Our NH-U12S CPU cooler almost reaches the side panel, which is a good look even though it means that builders have little more than Zalman’s official 160mm cooler height limit.
We retain the hardware configuration from previous big cooler reviews to maintain result consistency. Here’s how the Z9 Neo’s specifications compare to other cases in today’s test.
*Shared on 3.5" tray **w/o Center Cage ***By 5.25" Adapter Tray ^Slot 1-4
Test System Components
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 347.52|
|Chipset||Intel INF 184.108.40.2067|
|Prime95||v27.9, AVX FFT length 8K, continuous for at least 2 hours|
|RealTemp 3.70||Maximum Temperature, All Cores Averaged|
|Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter||Tested at ¼m, corrected to 1m (-12db), dB(A) weighting|
The $140 comparison cases won’t have an easy job in the value comparison, but they are the next-cheapest models in our recent reviews. Perhaps it’s time for us to get a few more “in the middle” review samples.
The Z9 Neo has several feature advantages over the MasterBox 5, yet four-pin ATA-style fan power connectors are a major disadvantage since motherboards cannot control the speed. It matches the MasterBox 5’s cooling at full speed, even though it has several additional fans.
The Z9 Neo does a far better job of isolating full-tilt graphics fan noise than the MasterBox 5. The MasterBox 5 catches up when the graphics fan idles down, appearing to indicate that the Z9 Neo is also stifling the extra noise of its extra fans.
Resetting the average performance to zero percent, we see that the Z9 Neo has a 5.6% better-than-average cooling to noise ratio. The MasterBox 5 was also above average, but only by half that amount.
Cooling-to-noise is also a better indicator of overall performance than cooling alone, and Zalman’s advantage there gives the Z9 Neo a 4% value advantage over the same-price MasterBox 5. A look at the balance of features, with dual mid-sized radiator support, extra fans and more ports also tilts the value scale a little into the Z9 Neo’s favor, in spite of its use of ATA-style fan power connections.
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