Fractal Design Define R2 ATX Tower Case

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Test Results - Configuration #2 (HD 4870)


Case with test system installed (2 x HD 4870 in CrossFireX).

System Measurements (HD 4870)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
Active Fans
none
front, rear & side @12V
front & rear @12V
none
SPL@1m
18~19 dBA
26~27 dBA
28~29 dBA
32 dBA
CPU Temp
37°C
48°C
54°C
68°C
SB Temp
49°C
45°C
57°C
64°C
HD Temp
40°C
34°C
36°C
40°C
GPU Temp
79°C
84°C
87°C
91°C
GPU Fan
Speed
960 RPM
1710 RPM
1950 RPM
2330 RPM
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Aside from a large spike in Southbridge temperature, adding a HD 4870 had little impact on our test system when idle. The CPU heated up by about 6°C and the overall noise level increased by less than 1 dBA. On load, we tested with all the fans off, with the front and rear fans at 12V, and with the front, rear, and side 140 mm fans at 12V.

As the graphics card fan was the main source of noise and reacted to temperature, the noise level was lowest when all the fans were on. The side fan was by far the noisiest of the three, but it made the most impact, improving temperatures across the board. It caused the Southbridge to cool down tremendously and allowed the GPU fan to spin 240 RPM slower. The system was fairly loud with the GPU fan spinning at about 1700 RPM, and all the system fans blowing at full speed, the acoustic profile was smooth without any irritable characteristics.

Without the extra airflow from the side intake fan, the two low speed stock fans were not very effective in keeping the system cool. They were very quiet, but for a machine with a powerful graphics card, they are insufficient.


The system measured 26~27 dBA@1m at full load with all fans @12V.

Comparisons

HD 4870 Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
Antec 1200*
Define R2
Antec 902
Active Fans
top, rears @low
rear, front & side @12V
rear, front @low
SPL@1m
25~26 dBA
26~27 dBA
27~28 dBA
CPU Temp
46°C
48°C
49°C
SB Temp
49°C
45°C
50°C
HD Temp
31°C
34°C
31°C
GPU Temp
85°C
84°C
81°C
GPU Fan
Speed
1760 RPM
1710 RPM
1860 RPM
CPU fan set to 100% speed
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.
*Antec 1200 tested with Antec CP-850.

Compared to more open airflow cases, the Define R2 put up surprisingly stiff competition. From a thermal standpoint, it is on par with the larger Antec 1200, though the 1200 managed to do the same job while generating 1 dBA less noise. The R2 in turn, puts up a similar victory over the Antec 902. The results are perhaps closer than they should have been given that both Antec cases were tested without a side fan.



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