LanCool PC-K59 Midtower 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
System Fan Speeds
7V
9V
12V
CPU Temp
33°C
47°C
46°C
42°C
SB Temp
54°C
64°C
63°C
62°C
HD Temp
29°C
28°C
28°C
27°C
GPU #1 Temp
77°C
89°C
89°C
89°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
990 RPM
2300 RPM
2300 RPM
2300 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
64°C
84°C
83°C
83°C
GPU #2 Speed
1000 RPM
1820 RPM
1810 RPM
1800 RPM
SPL@1m
24 dBA
33 dBA
33 dBA
34~35 dBA
System Power
188W
508W
508W
507W
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Despite the addition of a second HD 4870, the noise level at idle of the CrossFireX system was just half a decibel higher. There was only one significant change in temperature, the Southbridge, which warmed up by 8°C as a result of its proximity to the GPUs.

On load we found that the sweet spot for the fans was 9V with the system emitting 33 dBA@1m. At this setting, it didn't produce any more measurable noise than 7V, but less than 12V. The thermal difference between these three speeds had almost no effect on the GPU though; the temperature and fan speed of the video card remained mostly unchanged.



Our HD 4870 CrossFireX test system measured 24 dBA@1m when idle and 33 dBA@1m on load.

The acoustics of the CrossFireX system were close to that of the single HD 4870 configuration, but higher in volume obviously. The jump from 26~27 dBA@1m to 33 dBA@1m was significant, but the noise character was similar, just higher in pitch. While not entirely unpleasant, headphones would be advised.

CrossFireX Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
In Win Maelstrom*
Zalman Z9 Plus*
In Win BUC
LanCool PC-K59
Fans Speeds
top, rear & side @9V
top & rear @9V, front @7V
top, rear, front @9V
top, rear, front @9V
SPL@1m
30 dBA
30~31 dBA
32~33 dBA
33 dBA
CPU Temp
43°C
47°C
46°C
46°C
SB Temp
51°C
61°C
63°C
63°C
HD Temp
35°C
33°C
30°C
28°C
GPU #1 Temp
85°C
86°C
89°C
89°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed
1720 RPM
1780 RPM
2050 RPM
2300 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
82°C
83°C
85°C
83°C
GPU #2 Fan
Speed
1620 RPM
1590 RPM
1780 RPM
1810 RPM
SPL@1m
30 dBA
30~31 dBA
32~33 dBA
33 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.

*Note: After analyzing the data we've collected over the last year or so, we've found that in the CrossFireX configuration, our HD 4870 cards have been putting out more heat and requiring higher fan speeds for the past couple of months. We speculate that this may have been caused by a driver update or the fan performance degrading over time (we push them very hard for long stretches of time in less than optimal conditions).

Whatever the reason, the HD 4870 coolers are now spinning 200~300 RPM faster at minimum to maintain the same temperature in recently reviewed cases, a much larger difference that we would expect considering the subjective level of airflow provided by said cases. As a result, older cases like the Maelstrom and Z9 Plus have lower noise measurements by 2~3 dB and thus we don't believe they should be used for direct comparison. We've greyed them out in the comparison table above to make that clear.

Our CrossFireX configuration in the PC-K59 ended up being comparable to the In Win BUC in thermal performance, but at the cost of a little extra noise. In the K59, the stock cooler of the HD 4870 in the upper PCI-E 16x slot ended up spinning 250 RPM faster to keep the temperature the same. It is likely that the BUC's large side panel vent gave it a cooling advantage, enough that it outweighed the level of extra noise escaping. This is interesting as the opposite was true of the same test system with just a single HD 4870.



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