Lian Li PC-Q08 Mini-ITX Mini Tower Case

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Test Results: GeForce 9300 IGP

IGP test system (lower drive cage replaced with spacer).

IGP System Measurements (Load)
System Fan Speeds
17 dBA
20 dBA
23 dBA
18~19 dBA
System Power
CPU Temp
GPU Temp
Ambient temperature: 23°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
CPU fan speed: 8V.
Dark gray boxes indicate testing failure.
*Equipped with SST-ST60F-SG power supply.

Like the Sugo SG07, the PC-Q08 couldn't manage to cool the integrated GeForce 9300 graphics adequately on our test board when running Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously without additional airflow. With the system fans off, the GPU temperature reached 95°C at which point testing was stopped (the display signal usually cuts out at around that temperature).

With the system fans at 7V and 9V, the system stabilized but the GPU temperature was still quite high, 5-6°C hotter than the SG07. The PC-Q08 also could not match the SG07's noise level; the Silverstone's giant 18 cm downblowing fan provides much better board and CPU cooling.

The overall acoustics were fairly smooth at 7V/1m, though there were some slight tonal elements noticeable at closer distances.

Our IGP test system measured ~20 [email protected] on full load with the stock fans at 7V.

Noise Level with Multiple Drives

IGP test system with three hard drives.

Test Drive Noise Summary
1-10 (10 = no vibration)
Idle Airborne Acoustics @1m
WD Caviar Green 750GB
14 dBA
Seagate DB35.3 250GB
15~16 dBA
Samsung F3 EcoGreen 2TB
15~16 dBA

To test the PC-Q08's suitability as a quiet server, we loaded it up with three quiet hard drives to see what effect it would have on the system's acoustics.

IGP System Measurements (Idle)
Drive Configuration
SSD only
SSD + 3 test drives
16 dBA
20 dBA
System Power
Ambient temperature: 23°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
CPU fan speed: 8V.
System fan speeds: off.

The addition of three drives increased the noise level of the IGP test system by an appropriate 4 [email protected] while system power consumption increased by only 14W. The drives chosen have fairly good acoustics, so the overall sound of the system remained smooth for the most part.

Our IGP test system measured ~20 [email protected] with three hard drives installed and the stock fans turned off.

We noticed the system was generating some pretty heavy resonance. Do to its rhythmic nature, it was difficult to pick up through frequency analysis, but the vibration effects were clearly audible in our noise recording. This recording starts with 5 seconds of ambient noise followed by alternating 5 second segments of the test system with the side panels compressed manually, and the test system undisturbed:

If you listen closely you will hear the system sounding fairly smooth and innocuous with our bare hands squeezing the case side panels, then when the side panels are left in their natural state, the rhythmic pulsing of the hard drives interacting with the case; the difference is actually dramatic.

Given the anatomy of the case, it is not hard to see why the HDD vibrations have this effect. The side panels are secured at six tiny points along the edges, and not supported at all in the corners, making it prone to shaking. The drive bays are broken up into three removable parts so that when the hard drives vibrate, they don't just shake a single cage, but the other two sections that are loosely secured to it as well. If the bottom cage is removed in favor of the spacer to allow longer video cards, the vibration gets even worse as the spacer only supports the main drive cage on one side. There is a lot of metal-on-metal contact and nothing inside to help aside from the rubber grommets. Finally, even though the outside panels have a generous 1.5mm thickness, the entire chassis is made of aluminum, which has only about 30% of the density of steel. (For it to have the same mass as 0.8mm thick steel, the panels would have to be 2.4mm thick.) Higher mass and/or density in case panels does make a difference. We've noted often in the past how aluminum cases tend to resonate more in response to HDD and fan vibrations. (See section on Aluminum on p.2 of Case Basics and Recommendations.)

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