BitFenix Ghost: Quiet ATX Chassis

Cases|Damping
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Test Results: Radeon HD 3300 IGP

System Measurements
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
CPU Temp
28°C
45°C
SB Temp
31°C
34°C
HD Temp
34°C
35°C
System Power (AC)
47W
153W
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
21~22 dBA
CPU and system fans set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Our IGP test system measured a modest 21~22 dBA@1m with all the fans at full speed, whether it was idle or put on load. On load, the CPU temperature rose by 17°C while the Southbridge barely heated up at all.

As our chosen CPU and PSU fan have good acoustics, the overall sound quality of the machine didn't change much with the system turned on. The hard drive did produce a noticeable hum and while it passed some vibration on to the rest of the case, the level was barely noticeable both physically and audibly.

IGP Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
NZXT H2
Fractal Define R2
CM Silencio 550
BitFenix Ghost
System Fans
rear, fronts @low
rear & front @12V
rear, front @12V
rear, front @12V
CPU Temp
51°C
51°C
51°C
45°C
SB Temp
38°C
38°C
41°C
34°C
HD Temp
37°C
34°C
31°C
35°C
SPL@1m
19 dBA
19~20 dBA
19~20 dBA
21~22 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

With our IGP test configuration, the Ghost produced significantly lower temperatures than cases in the same class and price range but lost on the noise front by 2~3 dB. You could easily call it a wash between all four cases; it's hard to distinguish case performance without higher power draw.

Test Results: Radeon HD 4870

System Measurements (HD 4870)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
CPU Temp
31°C
48°C
SB Temp
43°C
55°C
HD Temp
34°C
34°C
GPU Temp
75°C
87°C
GPU Fan
880 RPM
2020 RPM
System Power (AC)
116W
317W
SPL@1m
22 dBA
29~30 dBA
CPU and system fans set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

Adding a HD 4870 (150W TDP) to our test system heated up the Southbridge substantially, but the video card fan spun at only 880 RPM, so the system's idle noise level was barely affected. Load heated up the system significantly, forcing the GPU fan to increase to just a shade over 2000 RPM, drowning out every other component inside and driving up the noise level to 29~30 dBA@1m..

Typically we find a case fan speed sweet spot on our IGP system and use that as a starting point for our discrete graphics configuration. We then continue playing with fan speeds to try to cool the machine down to the point where the video card fan doesn't have to work as hard but this wasn't possible with the Ghost as its fans were already very quiet at full speed. With higher speed fans we could have undoubtedly produced a better performance:noise ratio.

The noise generated by the HD 4870 stock cooler has a soft hissing character than is more gentle on the ears than most of the top-down fans found on modern graphics cards. In the BitFenix case, the quality of noise wasn't much changed, and the level was still substantial.

HD 4870 Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
Fractal Define R2
CM Silencio 550
NZXT H2
BitFenix Ghost
System Fans
rear, front, side @12V
rear, front @12V
rear, fronts @med
rear, front @12V
CPU Temp
48°C
57°C
53°C
48°C
SB Temp
45°C
56°C
52°C
55°C
HD Temp
34°C
31°C
33°C
34°C
GPU Temp
84°C
88°C
87°C
87°C
GPU Fan
Speed
1710 RPM
2330 RPM
2110 RPM
2020 RPM
SPL@1m
26~27 dBA
27~28 dBA
27~28 dBA
29~30 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.

Again, the Ghost was louder but noticeably cooler than the competition, except for the Define R2 which beat it in almost every category. What's interesting is the main noise contributor, the GPU fan, was spinning lower on the Ghost than the Cooler Master Silencio 550 and NZXT H2 despite it having a higher overall noise level.

As the Ghost's stock fans are very quiet and all the other components are the same, it would appear the Ghost is an inherently louder case. Either the sound dampening isn't as good or the case the exposed fan positions on the top panel allow too much noise to escape — the top panels of the other cases in our comparison are solid or blocked off. This would also explain why the Ghost enjoys a sizable advantage in CPU temperature: The extra airflow enabled by the top vent.



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