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THERMAL & ACOUSTIC TESTING
Thermals and noise comprise the core of most SPCR equipment reviews. A fairly
hot system was put together to stress the thermal performance of the Moncaso
without going overboard. The base components are listed below.
M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard
One of the first AM2 motherboards we saw, this is also one of the hottest
and most power hungry boards out there, thanks largely to the 32 full PCI
Express lanes that it supports. The target market is high end gamers, so it's
a bit of a mismatch for an HTPC case, but it does the job, and it's passively
cooled to boot.
Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor
This was the hottest, fastest non-FX processor that AMD produced when the
AM2 Socket was launched, and it's still the hottest AMD chips we've used to
date. The TDP is rated for 89W, and for once we believe it practical
measurements have showed that the difference in system power between
idle and load is almost 90W!
XMS2 2 x 1024MB DDR2 matched dual channel memory.
Samsung Spinpoint SP2504C
250GB SATA 3.5" hard drive
One of the quietest 3.5" desktop drives we know of. At idle, it measures ~21
dBA@1m. The drive remained unused throughout testing; it was installed under
the assumption that an HTPC needs at least one big media drive.
Seagate Momentus 7200.1
ST910021AS 100GB SATA notebook hard drive
The system drive. It's quieter than most 3.5" drives but noisier
than most notebook drives thanks to the speedy 7,200 RPM spindle speed.
GSA-H22N DVD±RW drive
Our favorite quiet power supply.
GeForce GF6800XT 128 MB video card with Zalman
VF900 VGA cooler at 5V. The SPL of this HSF at 5V measures 20 dBA@1m.
It sounds a bit like a whispery rubbing of paper.
nMedia IceTank CPU Heatsink
modified with a Nexus 92mm fan, controlled by the motherboard set to "Silent"
There are better coolers than the IceTank for sure, but its low profile has
made it our de facto standard for testing HTPC cases, which often don't have
room for the bigger, better heatsinks out there. The IceTank struggles with
low airflow, so it's fairly certain that the motherboard will crank it up
to full speed when the system is stressed.
Windows XP Pro SP2 was installed and fully updated, and our usual gamut of
software tools installed:
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