SilverStone Temjin TJ-07

Cases|Damping
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MORE TWEAKS

Despite the poor sonic signature of Configuration 5, the improvement in temperature was enough to try upping the heat output of the system. The low-powered X1600XT was replaced with a more powerful video card: An AOpen Aeolus 6800GT with the stock heatsink replaced by a Thermalright V1-Ultra running at 5V.

Configuration
CPU Temperature (CPUBurn)
VGA Temperature (RTHDRIBL)
System Power (AC)
Noise Level
#6
Top Front (120mm)
7V
41°C
65°C
185W
32 dBA@1m
Top Back (120mm)
7V
Rear Top (92mm)
Off
Rear Bottom (92mm)
~1150 RPM
VGA Fan
5V

Configuration 6

Surprisingly, the CPU temperature actually dropped significantly when the hotter VGA card was installed. At the same time, the noise level increased dramatically because the motherboard fan controller increased the speed of the rear fan. Once again, the TJ-07 became too loud to be acceptable.

Fan Swap


Two Nexus fans at 7V were much quieter.

By now, it was quite clear how that the stock TJ-07 would be noisy no matter how the airflow was set up. The stock fans were simply not good enough to be acceptable in a quiet case, even when undervolted. Even when the measured noise level was fairly low, none of the subjective noise levels were good enough to recommend. We did one final test without using any stock fans. Instead, a pair of 120mm Nexus fans were, one in place of the top front fan and one mounted directly on the heatsink itself.

Configuration
CPU Temperature
(CPUBurn)
VGA Temperature
(RTHDRIBL)
System Power Draw
Noise Level
#7
Top Front (120mm)
Nexus @ 7V
49°C
77°C
192W
24 dBA@1m
Top Back (120mm)
Off
Rear Top (92mm)
Off
Rear Bottom (92mm)
Off
CPU Fan
Nexus @ 7V
VGA Fan
5V

Configuration 7

Although the measured noise level after the fan swap did not improve over the best that was previously measured (Configuration 4), the subjective improvement was substantial. All of the low throbbing, the thrumming and the buzzing disappeared, replaced with a deep rumble that was faint and muted in comparison. A low hum, most likely from the hard drive, was also audible. Careful listening also revealed the sound of the VGA cooler, but it was not a significant source of noise.

Cooling was not quite as good as with some of the earlier configurations, but as far as the CPU was concerned, still good enough. The VGA temperature was of a little cause for concern, as it jumped by more than 10°C, but even then it was well within its thermal limits.

However, the AC power draw increased by 7W over the previous test, and one of the "system" temperature sensors on the motherboard also rose by more than 10°C. These signs indicate that the system was probably not being cooled as well as it could have been. For us, the subjective improvement in noise was significant enough that the poor cooling could be ignored.

One final caveat. Although this configuration started out very quiet, when the system was left alone for a long period of time, a loud hum developed. The source of this hum was quite easy to pinpoint once the solution was found: Pressing down or moving the side panel in any way would get rid of it instantaneously. Obvious, the side panel was at fault. The noise it generated was not a resonance, but the direct mechanical sound of the side panel rattling against one of the interior panels, most likely the divider between the top and bottom chambers.

To be fair, this problem affected every other configuration as well. However, the effect became more noticeable after replacing the stock fans with quieter ones, as the hum was not longer masked by fan noise.

MP3 RECORDINGS

Only two of the seven configurations that we tried warranted recordings: Configuration 4 with the two top fans running at 7V, and Configuration 7 with the stock fans replaced with Nexus fans. They measured the same, but they are very different subjectively, and it is worth downloading these MP3 files to hear the difference.

One other recording was made to demonstrate the sound that the side panel made when it was vibrating. Aside from the side panel, nothing has changed from the noise in Configuration 7.

MP3: SilverStone Temjin TJ-07, Config 4 (Quiet Stock Fans): 24 dBA@1m

MP3: SilverStone Temjin TJ-07, Config 7 (Quiet Nexus Fans): 24 dBA@1m

MP3: SilverStone Temjin TJ-07, Config 7 (Quiet Nexus Fans with Side Panel Hum): 31 dBA@1m

Comparables:

MP3: Arctic Cooling Silentium T2 at Idle, 23 dBA@1m

MP3: P180 "Hot Potato" Configuration 4: 25 dBA@1m

HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE

These recordings were made with a high resolution studio quality digital recording system. The microphone was 3" from the front bezel of the case at a 45¬į angle, facing the intake side of the fan to avoid direct wind noise. It is best to download the sound files to your computer before listening.

To set the volume to a realistic level (similar to the original), try playing this Nexus 92mm case fan @ 5V (17 dBA/1m) recording and set the volume so that it is barely audible. Then don't reset the volume and play the other sound files. Of course, all tone controls and other effects should be turned off or set to neutral. For full details on how to calibrate your sound system playback level to get the most valid listening comparison, please see the yellow text box entitled Listen to the Fans on page four of the article SPCR's Test / Sound Lab: A Short Tour.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite our initial optimism, the TJ-07 was unable to follow in the quiet footsteps of its predecessor, the TJ-06. Perhaps if the entire case used the same thick aluminum in the uni-body frame, it would not suffer from the problems with vibration. However, as it stands, it is far too prone to vibration noise to recommend for use in a quiet system. We also had some gripes about the installation — namely that steel bushings were not used for the thumbscrews and that installing drives of any sort required removing both side panels.

This is not to say the case cannot be made quiet. Taking it apart and reassembling it with a thin resilient gasket layer in every joint would probably reduce the tendency to vibrate dramatically. A further addition of acoustic/mass damping materials on the inside of the side panels might even eliminate it altogether. However, these modifications will add both time and money to a case that's already the most expensive we've reviewed.

On the other hand, the TJ07 should be capable of cooling just about any combination of components. It is designed to provide fresh air to as many components as possible, and has many, many possible configurations. Its screw-based construction and its huge size make it of interest to modders who can tinker to their hearts' content.

In this respect, the TJ07 represents a somewhat outdated approach to computing: Performance comes first, never mind thermals. This is a case that could cool dual Pentium Extreme Edition processors — and even stand a chance at doing it relatively quietly. Unfortunately, such system are not common, the era of unfettered thermal increases appear to be behind us, and the TJ-07 is overkill for a low or midrange system.

It's somewhat surprising that more care or special consideration was not made for dual video cards. We didn't test with dual video cards, but the basic setup for video card coolinbg is not much different from the Antec P180, which also does not have special consideration for dual vidcards. Perhaps, like the P180, the TJ07 was designed prior to the launch of nVidia's SLI. Still, the plethora of fans in the case should be able to cool even a hot dual vidcard gaming rig

We would have given the TJ-07 a more positive reception a year ago when hot processors were much harder to avoid and "performance-per-watt" had not yet been coined. Today, with the upcoming release of lower-power chips from both Intel and AMD, a case with extreme cooling is much less compelling than in the past. For good acoustics, damping, soft-mounting, and sturdiness remain essential in a PC case. The TJ-07 delivers handsomely with its cooling capabilities, but it does not offer much of interest to silencers.

Many thanks to SilverStone for the Temjin TJ-07 Sample.

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Articles of Related Interest

Antec P180: The Whole Nine Yards
SilverStone Temjin TJ-06
Cases: Basics and Recommendations

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