Zalman Z9 Plus ATX Tower Case

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Test Results: 2 x ATI Radeon HD 4870 (CrossFireX)


2 x HD 4870 CrossFireX test system.


System Measurements (2 x HD 4870)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
Fan Speeds (top & rear / front)
7V / 7V
7V / 7V
9V / 7V
12V / 7V
SPL@1m
24 dBA
30~31 dBA
30~31 dBA
32 dBA
CPU Temp
29°C
51°C
47°C
45°C
SB Temp
47°C
62°C
61°C
61°C
HD Temp
33°C
33°C
33°C
32°C
GPU #1 Temp
74°C
87°C
86°C
86°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
870 RPM
1850 RPM
1780 RPM
1820 RPM
GPU #1 Temp
60°C
84°C
83°C
82°C
GPU #2 Speed
1000 RPM
1650 RPM
1590 RPM
1600 RPM
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Adding a second HD 4870 produced an extra 2 dB when idle, along with hotter temperatures. Both the Southbridge and top GPU were 5~6°C warmer in this configuration. On load, the overall noise level jumped up to 30~31 dBA, which is fairly loud by SPCR standards. We noticed that the GPU fans were drowning out the system fans, so we cranked the exhaust fans up to 9V with no net change in acoustics; the GPU fans slowed down slightly which may have lessened the noise impact).

Compared to the single graphics card configuration, the CrossFireX system's CPU ran hotter by 4°C, the Southbridge heated up by an additional 11°C, and the first graphics card's fan had to spin ~230 RPM faster to keep the GPU at a comparable temperature.

CrossFireX Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
Raven 2*
InWin Maelstrom
Zalman Z9 Plus
Antec 1200*
Fans Speeds
bottoms @low, top @9V
top, rear & side @9V
top & rear @9V, front @7V
top, rears, front, side @low
SPL@1m
26~27 dBA
30 dBA
30~31 dBA
31~32 dBA
CPU Temp
48°C
43°C
47°C
46°C
SB Temp
65°C
51°C
61°C
61°C
HD Temp
32°C
35°C
33°C
29°C
GPU #1 Temp
87°C
85°C
86°C
87°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
1930 RPM
1720 RPM
1780 RPM
2110 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
83°C
82°C
83°C
84°C
GPU #2 Fan
Speed
1670 RPM
1620 RPM
1590 RPM
1910 RPM
CPU fan set to 100% speed, 9V for Raven 2.
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.
*Antec 1200 tested with Antec CP-850, Raven 2 tested with Seasonic X650.

Once again, the Z9 Plus' thermal and acoustic performance was average, right in between the Antec 1200 and Inwin Maelstrom. With the help of a side-blowing intake, the Z9 Plus might have drawn closer to the InWin Maelstrom but as we explained earlier, the noise it produced was horrific.

AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.



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