Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX Case

Cases|Damping
Viewing page 6 of 7 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

TEST RESULTS: Test System with Intel HD 3000 Graphics

System Measurements: HD 3000 IGP Test System
(One Hard Drive)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan
Low
Med
CPU Temp
30°C
52°C
51°C
PCH Temp
28°C
40°C
38°C
HD Temp
33°C
34°C
34°C
System Power (AC)
37W
132W
134W
SPL@1m
21~22 dBA
23 dBA
CPU fan at full speed.
Ambient temperature: 21°C.

Sitting idle with the CPU fan at full speed and system fans set to low via the included controller, the interior was comfortably cool and the machine's noise level was a respectable 21~22 dBA@1m. Putting the system on full load brought the CPU and PCH temperatures up by 22°C and 12°C respectively while the hard drive only heated up by a single degree. Our power supply is very quiet, not ramping up its fan at this load so there was no difference in noise level. For this configuration, increasing the system fan speed was completely unnecessary as switching it to medium gave us only minute thermal improvements.

System Measurements: HD 3000 IGP Test System
(Four Hard Drives)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan
Low
Med
CPU Temp
31°C
55°C
53°C
PCH Temp
29°C
42°C
40°C
HD Temp #1
36°C
38°C
37°C
HD Temp #2
31°C
32°C
31°C
HD Temp #3
34°C
34°C
34°C
HD Temp #4
31°C
32°C
31°C
System Power (AC)
53W
149W
149W
SPL@1m
23~24 dBA
25 dBA
CPU fan at full speed.
Ambient temperature: 21°C.

At idle with the system fans set to low speed, three extra drives didn't really change the overall climate inside, barely heating up the CPU and motherboard, though the it did bring up the first drive's temperature by 3°C. Still, thermals were excellent across the board and the noise level was only 2 dB higher. On load, the we recorded a similar temperature rise to the single drive test and three of the drives stayed below 35°C. This time increasing the system fan speed had more of an effect in this slightly hotter environment but the gains were marginal.

The four drive system was only louder by 2 dB, but the vibration level was more impressive. With a single drive there were some minor tremors but nothing noticeable was picked up by the mic or our ears. With four drives, the system produced some resonance but it was completely inaudible once we got further than one foot away. Using our test components, cases with poor structural support for the hard drives often produce high tonal peaks at 90 and 120 Hz (corresponding to 5400 and 7200 RPM drives respectively) but for the Node 304 these were minor. Dampened drives hanging on their sides to a rigid support structure appears to an excellent strategy for taming the vibration generated by spinning hard disks.

System Measurement Comparison: HD 3000 IGP Test System
(Four Hard Drives, Idle)
Case
Lian Li PC-Q18*
BitFenix Phenom**
Chenbro SR30169***
Fractal Node 304**
System Fan Speed(s)
5V
800 RPM
500 RPM
Low
CPU Temp
24°C
33°C
39°C
31°C
SB Temp
29°C
33°C
37°C
29°C
HD #1 Temp
35°C
40°C
42°C
36°C
HD #2 Temp
35°C
31°C
35°C
31°C
HD #3 Temp
30°C
37°C
37°C
34°C
HD #4 Temp
36°C
31°C
33°C
31°C
System Power (AC)
54W
53W
60W
53W
SPL@1m
[Single Drive]
21~22 dBA
[19 dBA]
23 dBA
[20 dBA]
23 dBA
[19 dBA]
23~24 dBA
[21~22 dBA]
Ambient temperature: 21°C.
*Relevant config differences: Scythe Big Shuriken 2 at 1100 RPM
**Relevant config differences: Noctua NH-U12P at 1100 RPM
***Relevant config differences: Core i5-3470S (vs. Core i5-2500K), Noctua NH-L9i at 2400 RPM, AcBel CE2 300 (vs. Cooler Master Silent Pro M700W)

Against other mini-ITX cases housing our four drive server configuration, the Node 304 measured the loudest but the difference was small compared to the BitFenix Phenom and Chenbro SR30169, and the Node 304's noise increase from the one to four drive configuration was modest. Also, vibration effects were substantially worse with the Lian Li PC-Q18 and BitFenix Phenom, to the point where this factor was more annoying than the airborne acoustics. The Node 304 also boasted the second lowest hard drive temperatures.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

Cases|Damping - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: