NZXT H2 Classic Silent Midtower Chassis

Cases|Damping
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Test Results: Radeon HD 4870


HD 4870 test system.


System Measurements (HD 4870)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fans
low (stock)
medium (stock)
medium (rear, front & bottom)
SPL@1m
19 dBA
28 dBA
28 dBA
29 dBA
CPU Temp
34°C
56°C
53°C
52°C
SB Temp
47°C
55°C
52°C
51°C
HD Temp
34°C
35°C
33°C
31°C
GPU Temp
78°C
90°C
87°C
87°C
GPU Fan
950 RPM
2280 RPM
2110 RPM
1990 RPM
System Power
122W
344W
343W
340W
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Adding a reference HD 4870 added no measurable noise to the system when it was sitting idle as the stock cooler is more forgiving of higher temperatures, staying under 1000 RPM. The Southbridge chip took a 12°C hit just for being in the vicinity of the GPU and because a lot of its airflow was blocked. On load, the CPU and Southbridge approached 55°C, while the GPU hit 90°C with its fan spinning at close to 2300 RPM. The noise level was 28 dBA@1m which is high by SPCR standards, though it didn't sound all that bad.

Increasing the system fan speeds to medium helped cool down the GPU, allowing its fan to spin down to about 2100 RPM. This drop balanced the noise increase from the system fans resulting a SPL of 28 dBA@1m once again. This move also lowered overall temperatures by 2~3°C, making it effectively a noise-free upgrade in thermal performance. After that, we moved one of the front fans to the floor to see if the better ventilated bottom fan position would give us better results. It did, reducing temperatures slightly. However, without the door muffling this fan, the system noise level increased by 1 dB even though the video card cooler dropped in speed by 120 RPM.


Our HD 4870 test system on load measured 28 dBA@1m with the CPU fan set to 12V and the system fans set on medium.

Despite measuring 28 dBA@1m, the HD 4870 system did not produce any particularly annoying tonality resulting in a tolerable noise experience.

System Measurements (HD 4870): CPU + GPU Load
System Fans
rear, 2 x front
rear, front, bottom
Door
closed
open
closed
open
SPL@1m
28 dBA
30 dBA
29 dBA
31 dBA
CPU Temp
53°C
47°C
52°C
49°C
SB Temp
52°C
52°C
51°C
52°C
HD Temp
33°C
31°C
31°C
32°C
GPU Temp
87°C
85°C
87°C
87°C
GPU Fan
2110 RPM
1870 RPM
1990 RPM
1950 RPM
System Power
343W
337W
340W
337W
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
System fans set to medium (~8V).
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

So what is the effect of the airflow impedance caused by the door? With the system fans in their stock configuration on medium speed, our HD 4870 test system on load with the door open experience a drop in CPU temperature of 6°C while the hard drive and GPU cooled down by 2°C, even though the GPU fan slowed by 240 RPM. The system also sounded better this way despite the lack of a measurable difference. It sounded softer as the soft air turbulence from the intake fans became more predominant, while the graphics card fan, which isn't nearly as smooth, faded more to the background. With a front fan moved to the floor, the door being open only made a slight difference, with only the processor garnering noticeable improvement.

HD 4870 Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
Antec Sonata Elite
Zalman Z9 Plus
Fractal Define R2
NZXT H2
System Fan Speeds
rear @low
top, rear & front @7V
rear, front & side @12V
rear, front @med
SPL@1m
25~26 dBA
26~27 dBA
26~27 dBA
28 dBA
CPU Temp
55°C
44°C
48°C
53°C
SB Temp
53°C
50°C
45°C
52°C
HD Temp
32°C
32°C
34°C
33°C
GPU Temp
88°C
85°C
84°C
87°C
GPU Fan
Speed
1980 RPM
1580 RPM
1710 RPM
2110 RPM
CPU fan set to 100% speed
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.

With a hot graphics card requiring better cooling, the NZXT H2 doesn't fare quite as well as the other cases in this comparison. The Define R2 produced a substantially better Southbridge temperature, and allowed the GPU fan to spin slower by a whopping 400 RPM. The R2 utilizes a low speed side fan which certainly helped, but regardless, the overall results were a lot better. Even cases not built for silence like the Zalman Z9 Plus hand the H2 its lunch.



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