Antec Signature S10: A Second Coming?

Cases|Damping
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TEST RESULTS

System Measurements (Best Results):
CPU + GPU Load, 80°C Target GPU Temp
System Fan Speed Setting
2 x 80%
4 x 80%
6 x 60%
GPU Fan Speed*
1210 RPM
(44%)
1050 RPM
(41%)
1120 RPM
(42%)
CPU Temp
60°C
56°C
60°C
MB Temp
43°C
42°C
40°C
SSHD Temp
35°C
35°C
35°C
System Power (AC)
354W
355W
357W
23 dBA
22 dBA
22 dBA
*set as low as possible to maintain target GPU temperature on load.
CPU fan at 800 RPM, hard drive fan at 600 RPM.
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

For brevity, I present a summary of my extensive testing with the best noise results for each of the three fan configurations. All three are fairly strong performers but the four fan setup produces both the lowest noise level and temperatures. At 80% speed, this configuration is so efficient, the video card fans have to spin at only slightly above the minimum speed allowed by the GPU's BIOS. Keep in mind this is only a one GPU system, so the additional fans are not necessarily a waste, just not optimal for our specific set of hardware.

The noise emitted by the four fan configuration is only bordering on quiet, but the quality is relatively good. The system sounds innocuous for the most part with no tones or clicking audible from one meter away. Though it measures only 1 dB lower than the two fan configuration, its acoustics are more substantially improved as the lower GPU fan speed results in more pleasant pitch.

Filter Removed

The S10, like almost every case that enters our lab, comes equipped with fairly restrictive dust filters. Obviously it's no fun having to dust out the interior every month or so, but the more blocked off the vents are, the worse the performance, so a balance has to be struck. This test uses the optimal system fan speeds from earlier with the main filter removed to check the performance difference.

Temperature Difference (Front Filters Removed):
CPU + GPU Load, 80°C Target GPU Temp
System Fan Speed Setting
2 x 80%
4 x 80%
6 x 60%
CPU Temp
-3°C
-2°C
-4°C
MB Temp
-2°C
-2°C
-2°C
GPU Temp
-3°C
-3°C
-5°C

The results show significant thermal improvement when the front intakes are left open. The configuration with six fans running at 60% shows the greatest effect with the GPU receiving a 5°C benefit while the CPU runs 4°C cooler. The MB temperature also lowers by 2°C, no matter how many fans are running.

Multiple Drives

Given the S10's unusual drive cooling arrangement, it seems appropriate to test it with more than one drive. Complementing the single Seagate SSHD in our system are four 5400 RPM WD Reds, two 4TB and two 6TB models, the types of drives perfect for mass storage.

The acoustic difference is dramatic when the system fans are off with the extra drives driving up the noise level from 15 [email protected] to 18~19 [email protected] A strong tonal peak emerges at 90 Hz, corresponding to the additional drives' 5400 RPM motors. They resonate at a fairly high frequency so they don't emit the rhythmic waxing and waning effect that sometimes accompanies drive resonance. The vibrations are probably better dampened than most cases but it's still clearly audible even from one meter away.

System Measurements (Best Results):
CPU + GPU Load, 80°C Target GPU Temp
Drive Configuration
SSHD only
SSHD + 4 x WD Red 4/6TB
SSHD Temp
35°C
35°C
HDD Temps
N/A
33~36°C
System Power (AC)
355W
370W
22 dBA
22~23 dBA
CPU fan at 800 RPM, hard drive fan at 600 RPM, 4 x system fans at 80%, GPU fans at 41%
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

As for cooling, the number of drives doesn't seem to make a difference. Adding the four WD Reds has no effect on the temperature of the original SSHD, and every drive in the configuration is reasonably well-cooled, staying at 36°C or lower while the system is on full load. Furthermore, with all internal fans spinning at higher speeds, the measured noise level difference is almost negligible.



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