Lian Li PC-V354 MicroATX Mini Tower Case

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TEST RESULTS

As the choice of graphics card can have a heavy impact on both cooling and acoustics, we tested the case with two different graphics cards. A Radeon HD 5450, which is something that might be used in a basic system, server, or HTPC, and an Asus Radeon HD 6850, something you'd find in a midrange gaming system. The 5450 is a low power card with a large passive heatsink while the 6850 is more moderate in terms of energy use but is equipped with a fairly quiet and efficient direct-touch heatpipe cooler. The three system fans were connected to the case's fan speed controller, which in turn was powered by an external controller to precisely change the voltage.

Test Results: Radeon HD 5450


HD 5450 test system.


System Measurements
System Fan Speeds
Off (idle)
Off (CPU + GPU Load)
6V (CPU + GPU Load)
SPL@1m
16 dBA
18 dBA
System Power
50W
160W
157W
CPU Temp
24°C
67°C
57°C
HDD Temp
36°C
36°C
29°C
GPU Temp
42°C
75°C
66°C
Ambient temperature: 23°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
CPU fan speed: 9V.

In this configuration with no system fans running, the system was very quiet measuring only 16 dBA@1m. On load, the CPU hit a balmy 67°C, but the hard drive and graphics card were adequately cooled. A low-end, fanless video card doesn't represent much of a challenge to the PC-V354, at least not when housing the components we chose for the build. Setting all three of the case's fans to just 6V (the minimum required to start the top fan) resulted in only a 2 dB increase in noise. The thermal advantage was significant though, 9~10°C for the CPU/GPU and 7°C for the hard drive.


Our HD 5450 test system measured 18 dBA@1m on full load.

Test Results: Asus EAH6850 DirectCU


HD 6850 test system with one of the front fans swapped to the rear. There was about 1.9 cm between the edge of the graphics card PCB and power supply, and 12.1 cm between the graphics card and front fan grill.

Installing the HD 6850 required the removal of the bottom drive cage, so we moved the hard drive to the top. The graphics card being the noisiest and hottest component, the goal was to keep the system noise level as low as possible by altering the system and GPU fan speeds while maintaining a full load (Prime95 + FurMark) GPU temperature of 90°C.

System Measurements (Idle)
System Fan Speeds
6V
6V (one fan moved to rear)
GPU Fan Speed
1740 RPM
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
System Power
64W
CPU Temp
22°C
23°C
HDD Temp
32°C
28°C
GPU Temp
42°C
40°C
GPU VRM Temp
48°C
Ambient temperature: 23°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
CPU fan speed: 9V.

Given the thermal output of the HD 6850, we tested the system with the fans' factory configuration, and with one of the intake fans moved to the rear, making it an exhaust fan. The upper intake fan was chosen because we felt the graphics card needed more airflow than the hard drive.

At idle, both fan configurations sounded similar. The GPU fan automatically ran at its minimum speed, about 1740 RPM, resulting in a noise level of 21~22 dBA@1m. This was a fair bit louder than the same system with a HD 5450. After moving a front fan to the back, the hard drive temperature actually decreased despite the loss of an intake fan. The GPU also ran slightly cooler as well.

System Measurements (CPU + GPU Load)
System Fan Speeds
6V
9V
9V (one fan moved to rear)
GPU Fan Speed
3720 RPM
2860 RPM
1740 RPM
SPL@1m
34 dBA
29~30 dBA
26 dBA
System Power
273W
271W
274W
CPU Temp
61°C
58°C
61°C
HDD Temp
35°C
32°C
27°C
GPU Temp
91°C
90°C
GPU VRM Temp
76°C
74°C
77°C
Ambient temperature: 23°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
CPU fan speed: 9V.

In the stock fan configuration with the fans running at 6V and 9V, we weren't able to reach our 90°C goal without cranking up the GPU fan speed 1000~2000 RPM higher than the minimum. This made the system unbearably loud. A moderate reduction in GPU fan speed was possible when running the system fans at full speed, but the system noise level was worse than at 9V.

Moving a fan to the rear made a world of difference, allowing us to dial down the GPU fan speed to its minimum setting. At 26 dBA@1m, it was far from a quiet gaming machine, but it was decent given the performance level and size of the case.


Our HD 6850 test system measured 26 dBA@1m on full load. The system fans produced most of the noise, mostly low frequency, below 700 Hz.



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