SilverStone Temjin TJ-07

Cases|Damping
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THERMAL AND NOISE TESTING

The six fans in the TJ-07 provide many potential configurations, depending on the specific needs of the system and the whims of the user. We have no doubt that the TJ-07 is capable of cooling just about any system that is installed in it — its large size, and numerous fresh air intakes almost guarantees it. Whether it can do so quietly is the relevant question for SPCR.

Our testing was designed to answer these question:

  • How well does the TJ-07 contain noise?
  • How much does the airflow design allow fan speed to be minimized?
  • How quiet can the TJ-07 be without any serious modifications?

Our test system was fairly modest; we wanted to ensure that the TJ-07 could handle an ordinary system before moving on to something more challenging.

Test System

  • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ — TCaseMax reported a TDP of 50W, and a maximum case temperature of 59°C
  • ASUS A8R32-MVP motherboard — based on the ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset
  • Scythe Ninja heatsink, no fan — the best low noise cooler we know of
  • Corsair XMS Xtreme PC-4000 DDR RAM — 2 x 1024 MB
  • ASUS EAX1600XT Silent — passive graphics card
  • Samsung Spinpoint SP0802N 80 GB 1-platter drive
  • LG DVD-RW drive
  • Seasonic S12-380 — 380W version of the quietest fanned power supply we know of
  • Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound

Testing Tools

Ambient conditions were 22°C and 20 dBA.

A number of quick tests were run initially to determine the best configuration for cooling.

Where possible, the build-in fan controller on the motherboard (QFan) was used to regulate fan speed. However, only the two rear fans had the appropriate headers to plug into the motherboard. We ended up hardwiring the top fans to specific voltages as required.

For each test, CPUBurn and RTHDRIBL were both run simultaneously so that the cooling capabilities of the case were stressed as much as possible.

SilverStone Temjin TJ-07
Configuration
CPU Temperature
System Power (AC)
Noise Level
#1
Top Front (120mm)
12V
Overheated
150W
31 dBA@1m
Top Back (120mm)
Blocked
Rear Top (92mm)
Off
Rear Bottom (92mm)
~1000 RPM
#2
Top Front (120mm)
12V
47°C
152W
31 dBA@1m
Top Back (120mm)
12V
Rear Top (92mm)
Off
Rear Bottom (92mm)
Off
#4
Top Front (120mm)
7V
60°C
157W
24 dBA@1m
Top Back (120mm)
7V
Rear Top (92mm)
Off
Rear Bottom (92mm)
Off
#5
Top Front (120mm)
7V
44°C
149W
25 dBA@1m
Top Back (120mm)
7V
Rear Top (92mm)
Off
Rear Bottom (92mm)
~1000 RPM

Configuration 1

Our initial configuration used the top front and the rear bottom fans together to draw air through the center of the system, across as many components as possible. The back half of the top grill was blocked off to prevent any short-circuits in the airflow.

Unfortunately, this was a better idea in theory than in practice, as the CPU quickly overheated in this configuration. We also discovered that the two rear fans sounded quite nasty, with a heavy buzz that may have been amplified by the panel that they were screwed to. This noise was present even when the fans were spinning slowly; lowering the fan speed reduced the volume but not the intensity of the noise.

Configuration 2

The second configuration was a reaction to the first: The rear fans were disabled completely, and the two top fans were run at full speed. Not surprisingly, this configuration was too noisy to consider seriously, but the cooling improved dramatically.

Configuration 3 (not in the table)

The next step was obvious: Reduce the 120mm fan speeds to an acceptable level. Both top fans were undervolted to 5V, and the system was powered up. We were quite impressed with the resulting acoustics at first. We didn't think the top fans would undervolt so well. However, even with the processor idling in Cool 'n' Quiet, the temperature kept rising... and rising.

Wondering why, we took a careful look at the system, and realized that neither of the two fans had started at 5V. Oops.

Configuration 4

So, we tried again, this time undervolting the two top fans to 7V. This time we made sure the fans started, and, sure enough, there was a small amount of airflow rising from the top panel.

We were shocked to discover that the system measured 24 dBA@1m. Normally, 24 dBA@1m is a little above the ambient noise level in the lab and can be tuned out easily enough. However, the subjective quality of the noise made it sound considerably noisier than what we usually expect to hear at 24 dBA@1m. Instead of being just a little above the ambient noise level, the noise from the system could be heard fairly clearly in the next room.

The quality of the noise was terrible, characterized by a deep throbbing thrum with a ringing overtone. The noise character could be changed (usually for the better) by pressing down of various parts of the case to damp the vibration, which indicates that much of the noise character was resonance from the aluminum panels. Considerable improvements to the noise character could be heard by pressing down on the top mesh, which the fans were screwed to, and the side panels, which damped a significant amount of hum. Sometimes, an audible difference could be heard after doing something as simple as shifting the angle of the case or picking it up and putting it back down.

This configuration was about as quiet as we expected to get using the stock fans, but the cooling was only marginal. The CPU peaked at ~60°C, which was actually above 59°C maximum temperature specified by AMD for our chip.

Configuration 5

Because of the questionable cooling in Configuration 4, we decided to try turning on one of the rear fans again — spinning slowly — to see if that would improve things. Boy did it ever! The CPU temperature dropped by ~15°C under load, to a reasonable 44°C.

With the rear fan spinning at 1000 RPM, the measured noise level rose only a little. Once again, the different measurement did not reflect our subjective impression of the change. Not surprisingly, the noise was quite similar to Configuration 1, although the overall volume was lower.



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