Raidmax Viper: A Modern Budget Tower

Cases|Damping
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Test Results: Radeon HD 4870

System Measurements (HD 4870)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
7V
9V
12V
CPU Temp
34°C
54°C
54°C
52°C
SB Temp
49°C
54°C
54°C
53°C
HD Temp
32°C
31°C
31°C
31°C
GPU Temp
77°C
86°C
86°C
85°C
GPU Fan
890 RPM
1930 RPM
1880 RPM
1850 RPM
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
27 dBA
27 dBA
30 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 23°C.

Adding an HD 4870 created a more thermally challenging situation for the Viper. While relatively cool and quiet when idle, full load brought the CPU and Southbridge temperatures into the mid to high 50's and the GPU fan spun up to 1930 RPM, keeping the GPU core at 86°C. Increasing the system fan's speed to 9V only affected the GPU, allowing the fan to slow down slightly without increasing the core temperature. The overall noise level was raised to 27 dBA@1m which is respectable for this configuration. Pushing the system fans to full speed wasn't worthwhile, having a small thermal affect and great acoustic cost.


Our HD 4870 test system measured 27 dBA@1m on load with the system fans at 9V.

The HD 4870 stock cooler produces a noticeable but soft hissing noise that would be considered inoffensive by many, so while the system was 6 dB louder than the integrated graphics configuration, the noise level wasn't too unpleasant.

HD 4870 Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
LanCool PC-K59
Raidmax Viper
Antec Solo II
CM Silencio 550
System Fans
top, rear, front @7V
rear, front @9V
rear, front @12V*
rear, front @12V
CPU Temp
45°C
53°C
45°C
57°C
SB Temp
54°C
53°C
47°C
56°C
HD Temp
30°C
30°C
34°C
31°C
GPU Temp
84°C
85°C
82°C
89°C
GPU Fan
Speed
1780 RPM
1880 RPM
1880 RPM
2330 RPM
SPL@1m
26~27 dBA
27 dBA
27~28 dBA
27~28 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.
*Nexus 120 mm fan added as bottom intake.

Housing our HD 4870 configuration, the Viper edges out airflow-starved cases like the Silencio 550 both in thermal and acoustic performance. Against a more formidable foe in the Solo II, the Viper manages to be a tad quieter, but with much higher temperatures. We also threw in the LanCool PC-K59 for comparison as it represents a budget enthusiast tower that can currently be had for not much more than the Viper. The more spacious and better-cooled LanCool case proves to be superior in all areas, most noticeably in CPU temperature. The Viper just doesn't have enough fans and ventilation to compete; It might have fared better if the ridiculously loud side fan was placed on the case ceiling as an extra exhaust instead.



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