Chenbro SR30169 Mini-ITX Server Chassis

Cases|Damping
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TEST RESULTS

System Measurements
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
CPU Fan
1500 RPM
2400 RPM (max)
System Fan
500 RPM
800 RPM
1100 RPM
CPU Temp
34°C
78°C
75°C
78°C
PCH Temp
36°C
55°C
55°C
53°C
HD Temp
42°C
43°C
47°C
46°C
System Power (AC)
43W
114W
113W
119W
SPL@1m
19 dBA
28 dBA
28 dBA
29 dBA
Ambient temperature: 21°C.

Sitting idle with the CPU and system fan at 1500 and 500 RPM respectively, the system was comfortably cool with the CPU and PCH temperatures in the mid '30s. The hard drive stabilized at a warm 42°C which is a little high for this system configuration. The overall noise produced by the machine was low, measuring 19 dBA@1m.

Despite only using a 65W processor, the load test overwhelmed the Noctua NH-L9i cooler, forcing us to run it at full speed to keep the CPU temperature below 80°C and causing the overall noise level to jump by 9 dB. The PCH heated up by almost 20°C due to a combination of the lack of airflow from the system fan and the relatively inefficient power supply not ramping up its fan.

Pushing the system fan to 800 RPM provided 3°C of relief to the CPU with no measurable added noise, but this strangely made the hard drive heat up. Moving to 1100 RPM generated odd results as well, cooling down the board by a couple of degrees but reversing the previous improvement to CPU cooling. After a certain point the flow of the system fan starts to interfere with the CPU cooler.

At idle with low CPU and system fan speeds, the system's acoustic character was relatively quiet and inoffensive. On load, the CPU fan became the main noise generator, drowning out all the other components. The 92 mm CPU fan running at top speed made the machine fairly noisy and the pitch was higher and somewhat grating.

Test Drive Noise Summary
Drive
Vibration
1-10 (10 = no vibration)
Idle Airborne Acoustics @1m
Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB
7~8
17 dBA
Samsung F3 EcoGreen 2TB
7
15~16 dBA
WD Caviar SE16 320GB
6
18~19 dBA
WD Red 3TB
9
13~14 dBA

The main draw of the SR30169 is its ability to hot-swap up to four hard drives, so we would be remiss not to test it with all the bays populated. For this purpose, we selected a group of hard drives similar to those used in a test of the Lian Li PC-Q18, a slightly larger (21 vs. 16.7 litres) mini-ITX case reviewed last year that has four side-mounted, internal hot-swap bays and room for two more 3.5" drives on a bottom tray. Though it was tested with a much better power supply and a more powerful CPU and cooler, it's the closest analog among the cases we've tested. (The earlier Lian Li PC-Q08 is quite similar to the PC-Q18, but lacks the newer model's multiple hot swap bays.)

System Measurements: Comparison (Idle)
Case
Chenbro SR30169*
Lian Li PC-Q18**
System Fan Speed(s)
500 RPM
5V
Drive Count
One
Four
One
Four
CPU Temp
34°C
39°C
-
24°C
SB Temp
36°C
37°C
29°C
HD #1 Temp
42°C
42°C
35°C
HD #2 Temp
N/A
35°C
35°C
HD #3 Temp
37°C
30°C
HD #4 Temp
33°C
36°C
System Power (AC)
43W
60W
54W
SPL@1m
19 dBA
23 dBA
19 dBA
21~22 dBA
Ambient temperature: 21°C.
*Relevant configuration differences: Core i5-3470S, Noctua NH-L9i at 2400 RPM, AcBel CE2 300.
**Relevant configuration differences: Core i5-2500K, Scythe Big Shuriken 2 at 1100 RPM, Cooler Master Silent Pro M700W

The PC-Q18 is equipped with two fans and has a better airflow scheme so it's no surprise it held a significant cooling advantage over the SR30169. Of course, the fact that we used a superior CPU cooler makes it an unfair comparison. In retrospect, we could have squeezed a Scythe Big Shuriken 2 heatsink into the Chenbro (with perhaps 1cm to spare), which would have closed the cooling gap between the two cases. Also, perhaps because the drives are buried further inside the PC-Q18, rather than being near the mesh front door of the Chenbro, the latter got slightly noiser with more drives.

That being said, the SR30169's drive cage seems to be more secure, as evidenced by an almost complete lack of vibration passed from the drives to the case. Like most Lian Li cases, the PC-Q18's drive bays are arranged somewhat loosely and when its bays were filled, the machine produced some audible hum. With the Chenbro case, we could not detect anything by ear, and only slight vibration was noticed through touch.

The extra noise put out by the additional drives was mostly innocuous so they didn't effect the overall quality of the noise. The one exception was the WD SE16 320GB, an older 7200 RPM drive which emitted a high pitch squeal at ~3.5 KHz.



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