Silverstone Raven Two

Cases|Damping
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BASELINE NOISE

Noise measurements were made of the case with the stock fans mounted normally and spinning inside at various speeds. The air cavity resonances inside a case amplify fan noise, as do any vibrations transferred from the fans into the case, so these measurements can be regarded as the baseline SPL levels for the case. Adding components can only increase the noise.

SilverStone Raven Two Baseline Noise
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case
12cm fan
18cm fan front
18cm fan mid
18cm fan back
SPL
(dBA@1m)
9V-750rpm
low
low
low
19
full speed
low
low
low
20
any speed
high
low
low
23
any speed
off
high
low
23
any speed
low
low
high
23
any speed
high
high
low
26
any speed
low
high
high
26
any speed
high
low
high
26
any speed
high
high
high
28~29

The perceived noise was moderate even with all the fans at full speed. There was some low frequency emphasis due mostly to cavity resonance, but the overall effect was smooth and benign. This was a marked contrast to the sound of the main 180mm fans when they were tested and listened to on their own outside the case.

Aside from the damping effect of the dust filters and honeycomb grills, there is one other important factor in the overall noise performance of the Raven Two: The simple fact that the main fans are buried inside the case, rather than exposed more openly on the back or front panel. Especially on a carpeted floor — like in our anechoic chamber — the 180mm fans must benefit from their position, the direct sound paths to users' ears being always blocked. A quick test was done to see if placing the Raven Two on a reflective surface would effect any change in noise. A 3' x 2' x 1" thick piece of particle board was placed beneath the case and SPL measurements were performed. There were no clear differences with or without the board, measured or heard. However, in a generally more reflective (read: ordinary rather than anechoic) room, placement on a hard tile or wood floor could mean higher noise levels than we found with the Raven Two.

It is worth repeating some details provided by SilverStone about the 180mm fans:

We spent quite a lot of time solving the problem of keeping the 180mm fans quiet in the "blowing up" position. Sleeve bearing fans are generally quieter than ball-bearing fans but when they are positioned to blow air up, they vibrate a lot. A custom spacer developed to fit between the C ring and the bearing cover was the solution for us.

THERMAL TESTING

Here's a recap of the system used for thermal / noise analysis. (It was already cited, but many pages ago.)

System Components:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

For testing, the CPU heatsink fan and top 120mm case fan voltages were controlled with an external variable DC power supply. The 180mm fans were controlled with their own high-low switches, and the fans on the video cards were left to be automatically controlled by their internal thermal fan controllers.

A. Minimalist High Performance System

This consisted of all the components listed above with the exception of the PCIe graphics cards. The onboard video was used instead. It was a piece of cake for the Raven Two to cool quietly. The overall noise was very smooth and quiet. The fan on the Seasonic X650 never came on.

Raven Two: Minimalist High Performance System
State
Idle
Full CPU + GPU Load
18cm fans
low
low
CPU + Top Fans
7V
7V
SPL @1m
18 dBA
18 dBA
CPU Temp
32°C
45°C
SB Temp
29°C
34°C
HD Temp
30°C
31°C
AC Power
n/a
178W
Ambient temperature: 22°C

B. With One ATI HD4870

This system was also cooled effectively enough with the same fan speed settings as the minimal system above. The overall noise was very smooth and quiet at idle, a little louder than the above. At full load the fan on the video card clearly became the dominant noise source. Its speed was still modest enough not to be terribly loud. The fan on the Seasonic X650 came on at some point during the load testing but it was so quiet as to be completely inaudible.

Raven Two: Single HD8470 System Test
State
Idle
Full CPU + GPU Load
18cm fans
low
low
CPU + Top Fans
7V
7V
SPL @1m
20 dBA
23 dBA
CPU Temp
32°C
47°C
SB Temp
29°C
43°C
HD Temp
30°C
31°C
GPU Temp
72°C
80°C
GPU Fan
1030 RPM
1170 RPM
AC Power
n/a
270W
Ambient temperature: 22°C

C. Crossfire Dual-HD4870 System

This system is pretty close to the about as hot as you can go using single GPU video cards. Admittedly, if you're a real gaming fool, two dual-GPU cards could bump the total power draw another 200W at the AC plug. was also cooled effectively enough with the same fan speed settings as the minimal system above. The fan on the Seasonic X650 was spinning at load but its noise was not really audible over the graphics card fan and the case fans.

Both of the 120mm fans (on the CPU heatsink and the top panel) were run at 9V in anticipation of the increased heat. We started the test with all the 18cm fans on low. The load test was rerun first with one of the 12cm on high, then two.

Raven Two: Crossfire Dual-HD4870 System Test
State
Idle
Full CPU + GPU Load
18cm fans
low
low
front+back: low
mid: high
front+mid: high
back: low
CPU + Top Fans
9V
9V
9V
9V
SPL @1m
21 dBA
26~27 dBA
28 dBA
29~30 dBA
CPU Temp
32°C
48°C
47°C
44°C
SB Temp
32°C
65°C
57°C
55°C
HD Temp
30°C
32°C
31°C
29°C
GPU1 Temp
74°C
87°C
86°C
84°C
GPU1 Fan
1030 RPM
1930 RPM
1810 RPM
1760RPM
GPU2 Temp
72°C
83°C
82°C
82°C
GPU2 Fan
940 RPM
1670 RPM
1600 RPM
1550 RPM
AC Power
n/a
500W
499W
498W
Ambient temperature: 22°C

The noise at idle remained quite smooth and benign, as neither of the two video card fans spun quickly enough to be noisy. Under load with all the 18cm fans on low, the CPU temperature remained surprisingly low, as did the GPU temperatures. The southbridge temperature climbed to a fairly toasty 65°C, and the HDD stayed very cool. The noise was dominated by the sound of the video cards, which raised overall noise to 26~27 dBA@1m, but the overall character of the sound was smooth, mostly broadband turbulance.

Without the noise of the video cards at load, the starting configuration system would remain at 21 dBA@1m. This is audible but very quiet. There is no reason to replace the stock fans, which are very smooth and quiet as implemented in the case.

To see how much cooling would be improved, the middle 18cm fan was switched up to high. Our earlier baseline tests showe that this configuration raises the SPL to 23 dBA@1m. The video card fans at idle did not move it much higher. Under load, the overall SPL was about a decible higher than with all the 18cm fans on low, the increase in 18cm fan noise being counterbalnced by a sligh decrease in the noise of both GPU fans. All temperatures dropped a bit, the SB temperature dropped a healthy 8°C.

With the front and mid 18cm on high, there were even greater drops in temperature, for the price of a 3 dBA increase at idle over the previous configuration. While overall noise was increased by 2 dBA at load, the subjective result was a touch less tonal due to the slower speed of both GPU fans.

COMPETITIVE COMPARISON

The Raven Two's performance is compared with several other cases tested with the same components (except for the power supply) in the table below. The SilverStone Fortress FT01 was omitted because it was only tested with one 4870 graphics card. Only the Raven Two data with one of the 18cm fans on high is cited in the comparison (to keep the table from getting any more cumbersome to read). It edges or matches the closest competitor, the Antec Twelve Hundred, in every parameter. (With two 18cm fans on high, the Raven Two is still about a decibel quieter, while just about every component runs several degrees cooler.) It should also be noted that the sound of the fans in the Raven Two is very smooth, better than the Antec fans, and need no replacement. The Raven Two is the clear winner here.

CrossFireX Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
SilverStone Raven Two
SilverStone Raven
Antec P183
Antec Nine Hundred Two
Antec Twelve Hundred
Noise Level
28 dBA
29 dBA
35 dBA
38 dBA
31~32 dBA
CPU Temp
47°C
56°C
58°C
53°C
46°C
SB Temp
57°C
60°C
69°C
64°C
61°C
HD Temp
31°C
30°C
39°C
31°C
29°C
GPU #1
86°C
86°C
99°C
93°C
87°C
GPU #1 Fan
1810RPM
2060 RPM
3030 RPM
2910 RPM
2110 RPM
GPU #2
82°C
78°C†
89°C
85°C
84°C
GPU #2 Fan
1600 RPM
920 RPM†
2400 RPM
2440 RPM
1910 RPM
Ambient temperature: 22°C (results compensated in necessary).
*P183 & Twelve Hundred tested with Antec CP-850; Nine Hundred Two and Raven with Cooler Master Silent Pro M700W; Rven Two with Seasonic X650.
†This video card was not at 100% load in the Raven test.

Keep in mind that this comparison is valid specifically for the components tested. Cooler systems probably favor cases that have fewer fans and vents, and more effective noise insulation (ie, the P183, with stock fans replaced), which allows lower baseline noise levels to be achieved.



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