Lian Li PC-101: Aluminum *Can* be Quiet!

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Thermals and noise comprise the core of most SPCR equipment reviews. Several system variants were installed and tested in the Lian Li PC-101. The base components are listed below. They are the same components used in our recent review of the Zalman HD160 home theater case, so that case will be used as a point of reference.

DFI RS482 Infinity MicroATX motherboard
This new ATI Radeon Express 200 chipset model from DFI has the most flexible and user-adjustable BIOS we've seen on any microATX board, comparable to the best of the full-ATX boards. It allows the CPU core voltage to be manually set without disengaging Cool'n'Quiet, which simply applies the manual voltage adjustment to the various CPU power states. It allowed the X2 4800+ to be undervolted by 0.1V throughout the testing, for very modest power consumption in every load. It has no fans.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ processor
Not long ago, this was AMD's current second fastest desktop processor, one small step down from the flagship FX-60. This dual-core sample has a rated TDP of 85W. Previous testing showed it easily undervolts by 0.1V or more, with resulting power draw at full load of just ~60W at the 2x12V motherboard socket.

OCZ Technology Gold PC4000 2 x 512MB DDR matched dual channel memory.

Samsung SP2504C 250GB SATA 3.5" hard drive
A quiet 3.5" desktop reference. It measures 21~22 [email protected]

Seasonic S12-330 PSU, new sleeved version
A very quiet 120mm fan power supply.

Other components included:

AOpen Aeolus PCX6800GT-DVD256 video card with Zalman VF900 VGA cooler at 5V. The SPL of this HSF at 5V measures 20 [email protected] It sounds a bit like a whispery rubbing of paper.

Zalman CNPS9500 CPU HSF
A heavy duty heatsink for a hot processor, this is an effective cooler even undervolted to 5V. It measures 23 [email protected]

The system installed...

...and the case reassembled.

Windows XP Pro SP2 was installed and fully updated, and our usual gamut of software tools installed:

  • SpeedFan 4.28 for CPU and other hardware monitoring.
  • CPUBurn for processor stress testing.
  • ATI Tool provides a steady high load to the GPU in a reduced window, allowing other tools to be in use at the same time.
  • RivaTuner allows the core temperature of the GPU to be monitored over time.

Other tools:

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