Silverstone LaScala LC-04 HTPC Case

Cases|Damping
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ON THE TEST BENCH

Test System Hardware:

* Intel 875PBZ motherboard, with BIOS P027.
* Intel P4 2.4C CPU, at stock speed and voltage (1.525v, 66.2 Watts max)
* Alpha SPAL-8952 with included 80 x 15mm Sanyo-Denki fan
* (alternate heatsink) Zalman 7000AlCu. running at 6V.
* 2 x 256MB of Mushkin PC3200 Level II RAM running at 400MHz.
* ATI 7500 graphics card, passively cooled.
* 80GB Seagate Barracuda IV hard drive.
* Plextor PX-W4012TA CDRW drive.

Other details:
* CPU temperatures read from the internal thermal diode with Motherboard Monitor 5
* Ambient temperature was 21°C
* Idle temps were determined by starting the machine from cold and allowing the temps to come to a stable point.
* Load temperatures were generated by 30 minutes of two instances of CPUBurn.

Now comes the fun part. Let's fire this up and see how it runs.

I initially assembled it with no case fans other than the 80 x 15mm fan that was in the PSU itself. I was fairly skeptical that the PSU alone would keep things at a decent temperature, but I wanted to give the case a chance in its "stock" configuration. Even though I was using a somewhat cool, 66W P4 2.4C CPU and a passively cooled ATi 7500 videocard, idle temps were sort of warm, and the load temps were way too high. Here's a chart:

PSU fan only, no other active case cooling
Alpha 8952 HSF
idle
load
Processor temp
38°C
72°C*
Motherboard temp
36°C
52°C
HDD temp
39°C
48°C
* load test stopped at this point

70°C+ CPU temps and 50°C+ motherboard load temps are definitely not acceptable so I decided to play around with adding an 80mm fan as an intake on the left side of the case. There are mounting holes already in place so all I had to do was bolt a fan in place and hook up the power cable (via a Zalman Fanmate, of course) to the motherboard.

One concession I made was to mount the fan using an Antec Noisekiller fan mount kit. This includes a soft silicon rubber gasket and a set of silicon rubber washers to decouple the fan's vibration from the case.

I used both a Panaflo L1A and an NMB B19 fan for this experiment. I ran the Panaflo at 5V and the NMB at 7V to keep their noise levels below the noise of the CPU and PSU fans. Just this little bit of active airflow cooled things down nicely. These temperatures, while not earth-shatteringly cool, are definitely with in the safe limits for the CPU and other hardware, and are probably higher than you'd ever see in a normal system due to the very high load put on the CPU by running two simultaneous instances of CPUBurn.

5V Panaflo L1A case fan added
Alpha 8952 HSF
idle
load
Processor temp
34°C
61°C
Motherboard temp
34°C
45°C
HDD temp
36°C
44°C

I was getting acceptable system temps running the Alpha heatsink with the fan blowing up, so I decided to switch to a typical "blow down" type of heatsink. I mounted my Zalman 7000AlCu. in place of the SPAL-8952 and fired it up. I used the Zalman FanMate to run the fan at about 6V to keep the system's noise level as quiet as possible.

With the Zalman 7000, idle temps were a few degrees warmer but load temps were about the same as with the Alpha 8952. Another effect of the Zalman was that the HDD ran noticeably warmer than with the Alpha in the system. Apparently the additional intake airflow of the Zalman disturbed the case pressure enough to reduce the airflow around the HDD. My theory is partly correct in that even though the CPU temp remained unchanged, the overall case temps were higher with the Zalman blowing down, versus the Alpha blowing up.

Zalman 7000 + 5V Panaflo L1A case fan
 Zalman 7000
idle
load
Processor temp
37°C
62°C
Motherboard temp
38°C
46°C
HDD temp
39°C
48°C


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