Silverstone Fortress FT03 mATX Tower: Redux

Cases|Damping
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TEST RESULTS: Radeon HD 5450

Our first test configuration features a low power passively cooled graphics card, a Radeon HD 5450. Our test configuration only gives us temperature data on the CPU and hard drive(s), so the HD 5450 gives us an extra data point from a different location within the case.

Radeon HD 5450 Configuration:
System Measurements (Load)
CPU Heatsink
Noctua NH-C12P
Noctua NH-U12P
System Fan Speeds
off
5V
off
5V
CPU Temp
74°C
61°C
67°C
56°C
HD Temp
36°C
36°C
36°C
36°C
GPU Temp
83°C
69°C
76°C
68°C
SPL@1m
18 dBA
20 dBA
18 dBA
20 dBA
System Power
154W
150W
152W
149W
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

In our Radeon HD 5450 test system, the NH-U12P delivered a sizable thermal improvement compared to the NH-C12P. This was particularly evident when the system fans were disabled and airflow limited, with the CPU and GPU temperatures both lowering by 7°C. With the system fans set to just 5V, the CPU received a 5°C reprieve while the GPU's cooling advantage was barely existent.

Radeon HD 5450 Configuration: Comparison (Load)
Case
Silverstone Fortress FT03
Lian Li PC-V354
CPU Heatsink
NH-C12P
NH-U12P
NH-C12P
System Fan Speeds
5V
5V
6V
CPU Temp
61°C
56°C
56°C
HD Temp
36°C
36°C
28°C
GPU Temp
69°C
68°C
65°C
SPL@1m
20 dBA
20 dBA
18 dBA
System Power
150W
149W
157W
Ambient temperature: 22°C
(results adjusted accordingly)
PC-V354 equipped with a Cooler Master M700 power supply, FT03 with a Seasonic X-650.

Now the FT03 results are much closer to that of the Lian Li PC-V354, though the smaller cube-like case still has a thermal and acoustic edge as the FT03 lacks direct hard drive cooling, and its center fan bracket is secured poorly creating more noise.

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.

Asus EAH6850 DirectCU Configuration:
System Measurements (Load)
CPU Heatsink
Noctua NH-C12P
Noctua NH-U12P
System Fan Speeds
5V
7V
5V
7V
GPU Fan Speed*
2430 RPM
1790 RPM
2430 RPM
1790 RPM
CPU Temp
68°C
62°C
62°C
58°C
HD Temp
36°C
35°C
35°C
35°C
GPU Temp
90°C
89°C
90°C
89°C
GPU VRM Temp
94°C
89°C
88°C
88°C
SPL@1m
26~27 dBA
25 dBA
26~27 dBA
25 dBA
System Power
265W
264W
263W
261W
*manually adjusted
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

In our Radeon HD 6850 test system, the NH-U12P performed better than the NH-C12P, but to a lesser degree than our HD 5450 configuration. CPU cooling was the main difference with the NH-U12P holding a 6°C advantage with the system fans at 5V, and a 4°C lead at 7V. The GPU core temperature wasn't affected at all, while the GPU VRM saw an improvement, but only with the system fans at 5V. It seems that a moderately powerful graphics card with an active cooler doesn't benefit much from the use of a tower CPU cooler in the FT03.

Asus EAH6850 DirectCU Configuration:
Comparison (Load)
Case
Silverstone Fortress FT03
Lian Li PC-V354
CPU Heatsink
NH-C12P
NH-U12P
NH-C12P
System Fan Speeds
7V
7V
9V (one front fan moved to rear)
GPU Fan Speed
1790 RPM
1790 RPM
1740 RPM
CPU Temp
62°C
58°C
60°C
HD Temp
35°C
35°C
26°C
GPU Temp
89°C
89°C
89°C
GPU VRM Temp
89°C
88°C
76°C
SPL@1m
25 dBA
25 dBA
26 dBA
System Power
264W
261W
274W
Ambient temperature: 22°C
(results adjusted accordingly)
PC-V354 equipped with a Cooler Master M700 power supply, FT03 with a Seasonic X-650.

The 4°C improvement in CPU temperature provided by the NH-U12P makes the FT03 a more legitimate challenger to the Lian Li PC-V354 using a NH-C12P. With both systems holding a GPU temperature of 89°C, the FT03 boasts a lower CPU temperature and noise level, while the PC-V354 has a big edge in hard drive and GPU VRM cooling. The Lian Li case seems to more well-rounded with enough airflow to go around for all its components.



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