Silverstone Fortress FT03 microATX Tower

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TEST RESULTS: Asus EAH6850 DirectCU

To simulate a more demanding, gaming type of system, our second test configuration uses an HD 6850 graphics card from Asus. The 6850 uses about 100W more than the 5450, creating a hotter, more stressful environment.


Our test system with an Asus EAH6850 DirectCU.


System Measurements (Asus EAH6850 DirectCU)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
5V
7V
7V, case horizontal
GPU Fan
Speed*
1700 RPM
2430 RPM
1790 RPM
CPU Temp
22°C
68°C
62°C
60°C
HD Temp
30°C
36°C
35°C
34°C
GPU Temp
41°C
90°C
89°C
85°C
GPU VRM Temp
47°C
94°C
89°C
84°C
SPL@1m
21 dBA
26~27 dBA
25 dBA
24 dBA
System Power
88W
265W
264W
261W
*set as low as possible to maintain a GPU temperature of ~90°C.
CPU fan set to 9V.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

When idle, the addition of the EAH6850 had only a small acoustic impact, increasing the noise level by a single dB and imbuing the system with a slightly harsher sound. With the system fans at 5V, the GPU fan had to be set to 2430 RPM to keep the core temperature at a maximum of 90°C. The resulting noise level was high at 26~27 dBA@1m. Speeding up system fans to 7V proved to be advantageous, dropping the graphics card fan speed to just under 1800 RPM. The CPU temperature lowered by 6°C and the graphics card VRM dropped by 5°C. System noise improved by 1~2 dB as well.

One of the FT03's most highly touted features is its rotated motherboard orientation. However, with our test system, laying the case down lengthwise actually gave us better results. The GPU temperature dropped 4~5°C with its fan at the same speed. The EAH6850 DirectCU doesn't have an exhausting cooling system like those found on most high performance reference coolers so the vertical orientation ended up being detrimental to its performance.


Our EAH6850 test system on load measured 25 dBA@1m with the CPU fan set to 9V and the system fans running at 7V.

On load with the system fans at 7V, our EAH6850 test system sounded pretty good. The rush of air from the GPU cooler spinning at ~1800 RPM did a decent job of masking the hum from the center fan and hard drive. The acoustic profile of the system was mostly broadband with the exception of a spike center at 300 Hz; it wasn't super quiet but certainly tolerable.

Asus EAH6850 DirectCU Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
Silverstone Fortress FT03
Lian Li PC-V354
System Fan Speeds
7V
9V (one front fan moved to rear)
GPU Fan Speed
1790 RPM
1740 RPM
CPU Temp
62°C
60°C
HD Temp
35°C
26°C
GPU Temp
89°C
89°C
GPU VRM Temp
89°C
76°C
SPL@1m
25 dBA
26 dBA
System Power
264W
274W
CPU fan set to 9V.
Ambient temperature: 22°C
(results adjusted accordingly)
PC-V354 equipped with a Cooler Master M700 power supply, FT03 with a Seasonic X-650.

The FT03 performed much better with the hotter graphics card. After being decisively defeated by the PC-V354 using a Radeon HD 5450, the FT03 delivered much closer results with the EAH6850. FT03 managed to keep the GPU at 90°C with 1 dB less noise, but with a significantly higher GPU VRM and hard drive temperature.



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