Fractal Design Arc XL Case

Cases|Damping
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TEST RESULTS: DUAL RADEON HD 4870 CONFIGURATION

Given the Arc XL's massive size, it didn't seem likely that anyone would purchase it for use with a single video card, so we jumped straight into our CrossFireX test configuration.

System Measurements (2 x HD 4870)
System State
Idle
CPU + GPU Load
System Fan Speeds
5V / 460 RPM
7V / 640 RPM
9V / 760 RPM
12V / 960 RPM
CPU Temp
35°C
51°C
49°C
46°C
SB Temp
60°C
69°C
68°C
67°C
HD Temp
33°C
33°C
31°C
29°C
GPU #1 Temp
80°C
92°C
91°C
90°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed (auto)
1160 RPM
2350 RPM
2300 RPM
2320 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
74°C
87°C
87°C
85°C
GPU #2 Fan
Speed (auto)
980 RPM
2050 RPM
2020 RPM
1950 RPM
SPL@1m
20 dBA
32~33 dBA
32 dBA
34 dBA
System Power (AC)
197W
540W
539W
537W
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

With the machine idle and the stock fans set to 5V, our system was relatively quiet, measuring 20 dBA@1m. Our GPUs aren't very aggressive with regards to fan control, so the fan speeds were kept down even with temperatures in the 70~80°C range.

Load tests were conducted with three different fan speeds, with the 9V setting (which isn't possible with the built-in fan controller) giving us optimal results. Running at 7V actually resulted in more noise as the video card fans spun faster to compensate for the reduced cooling. While 12V produced better temperatures, the noise jump from 32 dBA to 34 dBA was considerable given the logarithmic nature of the decibel scale.

We're fortunate that the HD 4870's we use have a mostly broadband acoustic profile, sounding a lot like white noise even at speeds greater than 2000 RPM. The stock fans have a decent sound as well, so the combined noise was loud but not entirely unpleasant on load.

We didn't detect any audible effects of hard drive vibration, but from time to time, a peak did appear on the spectrum at 120 Hz (corresponding to the 7200 RPM rotational speed of the hard drive's motor). It was a minor issue but worth noting given our previous observation of the looser drive trays compared to the Define series. If possible, we highly recommend using the more secure lower drive cage first.

CrossFireX Configuration Comparison (Load)
Case
SilverStone Raven RV03
Fractal Design Arc XL
Antec P280
Phanteks Enthoo Primo
Fans Speeds
top at 12V, bottoms at 9V/low
top, rear, front at 9V
top, rear, front on low
top, rear, fronts, bottom at 800 RPM
CPU Temp
41°C
49°C
45°C
46°C
SB Temp
66°C
68°C
64°C
67°C
HD Temp
34°C
31°C
28°C
30°C
GPU #1 Temp
87°C
91°C
89°C
91°C
GPU #1 Fan
Speed (auto)
2140 RPM
2300 RPM
2440 RPM
2370 RPM
GPU #2 Temp
81°C
87°C
84°C
85°C
GPU #2 Fan
Speed (auto)
1820 RPM
2020 RPM
1950 RPM
1940 RPM
SPL@1m
[right side]
31~32 dBA
32 dBA
32~33 dBA
33 dBA
CPU fan set to 100% speed.
All temperature results adjusted to 22°C ambient.

The Arc XL produced solid thermal/acoustic performance, matching up closely to Antec P280 as it exhibited higher temperatures all around but emitted slightly less noise. It should be noted that our CrossFireX configuration is particularly challenging, and only members of the SilverStone Raven/Fortress series have ever managed a sub-32 dBA result.



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