Silverstone Fortress FT02 Revisited

Cases|Damping
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TESTING

System Configuration:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

System temperatures and noise levels were recorded with SpeedFan and GPU-Z at idle and on load using CPUBurn (K7 setting) and FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and stability testing utility.

BASELINE NOISE


Top and bottom mounted fans.

The top fan was mostly smooth but had an occasional ticking sound that was hard to make out, akin to a wire being pushed slightly into the path of the fan blades every 5~6 seconds. The bottom fans had a more consistent clicking character, like other Air Penetrators we've seen before.

Stock Fan Noise Level
Fan Voltage
SPL @1m (dBA)
Top 12cm
12V
9V
7V
-
23~24
18~19
14~15
3 x 18cm (high)
12V
9V
8V
7V
37
32
28~29
25~26
3 x 18cm (low)
12V
11V
10V
-
24
20
15~16
Measuring mic positioned 1m at left/front of case.

Ideally, all the fans in a case should have similar acoustics. The only time this true in the FT02 is when all the fans are driven at 12V and the bottom fans are switched to low. At 9V, the top fan becomes noisier than the bottom ones. When the bottom fans switched to high, at 7V and above, they overpower the noise of exhaust fan top fan, even if it's spinning at top speed.

Combined Stock Fan Noise Level
Fan Voltage
SPL@1m
Top 12cm
3 x 18cm
7V
10V (low)
17 dBA
9V
11V (low)
22 dBA
12V
12V (low)
26~27 dBA
12V
8V (high)
30 dBA
12V
12V (high)
38 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case.

The combined baseline noise level covers an unusually wide range. Manual control (of voltage) is required to balance the noise generated the top fan and the bottom three fans. The combination of the top fan at 7V and the bottom fans at 10V on the low setting is a good starting point. This combination results in a total SPL of just 17 dBA@1m. All four fans running at full tilt results in an SPL of 38 dBA@1m — very loud by SPCR standards.

None of the fans are perfect, but together, muffled by the side panels with a system assembled inside, their negative characteristics become muted, especially at higher fan speeds when the random noise of air turbulence dominates. At lower speeds, some clicking is audible from a meter away, but it's fairly soft and innocuous. The combined noise is a low-pitched rumble, not becoming offensive until approximately 30 dBA@1m SPL.


With 12 cm fan at 9V and 18 cm fans at 11V (low), the SPL is 22 dBA@1m.



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