Cooler Master Silencio 652S Tower Case

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System Configuration:

Test system device listing.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • Prime95 processor stress software.
  • FurMark stability test to stress the integrated GPU.
  • Asus GPU Tweak to monitor GPU temperatures and adjust fan speeds.
  • SpeedFan to monitor system temperatures and adjust system fan speeds.
  • Extech 380803 AC power analyzer / data logger for measuring AC system power.
  • PC-based spectrum analyzer: SpectraPlus with ACO Pacific mic and M-Audio digital audio interfaces.
  • Anechoic chamber with ambient level of 11 dBA or lower

Testing Procedures

The system is placed in two states: idle, and load using Prime95 (large FFTs setting) and FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and stability testing utility. This puts more demand on the CPU and GPU than any real life application. Throughout testing, system temperatures, noise levels, and power consumption are recorded. During the load test, the system and GPU fans speeds are adjusted to various levels in an attempt to find an optimal balance between cooling and noise while maintaining a GPU temperature of 80°C at 22°C ambient.

Baseline Noise

For our baseline noise tests, the system is left idle, the GPU fans are off completely by default, and the CPU fan is set to its minimum speed while the system fans are set to variety of speeds. This gives our readers a good idea of what the stock fans sound like at different speeds with minimal interference from other sources.

Initially, the system measures 17 [email protected] in this state which is a bit high, a result of a strong low-pitched hum caused by hard drive vibration. It's a steady buzz rather than the more annoying throbbing resulting from looser drive configurations, but it's still unpleasant. The bottom drive cage is held on securely but only from the bottom; There's nothing pushing against it from above or bracing it from behind. The plastic trays also do little to decouple the drives from the steel frame around it, as the sides press up directly against one another. Putting the the upper cage back in makes a substantial difference, reducing the noise to 15 [email protected] This however, blocks out quite a bit of airflow from the upper intake fan.

The top cage was removed and a thick rolled up piece of foam inserted between the bottom cage and the motherboard tray to try anc reduce the vibration-induced noise. This created more noise at 120 Hz (corresponding to the 7200 RPM speed of the drive's motor) than when both drive cages are in place, but the overall SPL is 16 [email protected], effectively splitting the difference between the stock options.

Baseline Noise Level
(idle, CPU fan at 400 RPM, GPU fans off)
Fan Speed Setting
Fan Speed
SPL @1m
16 dBA
540 RPM
17 dBA
780 RPM
19~20 dBA
910 RPM
24 dBA
1030 RPM
21~22 dBA
1150 RPM
26 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 [email protected]

The Silencio 652S is quieter than most triple fan cases, with the total noise measuring 26 [email protected] at full speed. With our system, the fans begin to have an effect on acoustics at about 500 RPM. Oddly, the machine actually has a lower measured noise level at 90% than it does at 80% speed. Unfortunately, the quality of the noise is poor.

Starting at about 700 RPM, the fans have a very dry, growling sound with multiple competing tones. As the fan speed increases, so does the pitch, making their negative qualities more prominent. For some reason, at 90% speed, there is a brief respite, as the most substantial ~300 Hz tone dissipates at this level, resulting in a drop in SPL of 2~3 dB compared to 80% speed. However, even with this improvement, they have an unpleasant droning character. The nasty tone also returns at 100% speed, so the benefit at 90% is an accidental anomaly. The stock fans simply sound bad at all but the lowest of speeds, a stark contrast compared to the relatively benign-sounding fans of earlier Silencio models.

Interestingly, this case's now discontinued predecessor, the Cooler Master 652 (non-S), sported two fans, a 180 and 120 mm variant, with a more traditional blade design.

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