Luxa2 LM100 Mini: "Exquisite & Desirable" m-ITX HTPC Case

Cases|Damping
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TEST RESULTS

With Arctic Cooling Alpine 7 Pro CPU heatsink

Our initial attempts to create a stable, yet quiet system with this test configuration met with significant problems. We found that the biggest challenge was keeping the Northbridge cool, as the GeForce 9300 IGP generates a considerable amount of heat on load. Our hope was to keep the system stable while generating a SPL of 20-24 dBA@1m, but it simply wasn't possible. Several times the GPU exceeded 95°C resulting in a system shutdown. The machine wouldn't turn back on until the temperature dropped. For this reason we consider a GPU temperature of 90°C or higher as a failure. Early on we found that we got better thermal results (2-4°C) if we raised the case off the ground by an extra inch or so. As the bottom of the case is its only source of ventilation, the extra breathing room made an impact. The temperatures recorded were with the extra elevation.

System Measurements (CPU + GPU Load): Alpine 7 Pro
CPU Fan Speed
Case Fan Voltage
SPL @1m
SPL @0.6m
CPU Temp
GPU Temp
1600 RPM
Off
20~21 dBA
N/A
66/71°C
90°C+
9V
24 dBA
N/A
66/71°C
90°C+
12V
29 dBA
34 dBA
63/67°C
85°C
2000 RPM
Off
26 dBA
N/A
65/70°C
90°C+
9V
28 dBA
31~32 dBA
65/70°C
87°C
12V
30 dBA
35 dBA
61/67°C
83°C
Ambient temperature: 24°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA

Using the modest Alpine 7 Pro CPU cooler at 80% speed (1600 RPM), we experienced high temperatures when the system was placed on full load. CPU temperatures were in the high 60's to low 70's which was acceptable, but the GPU temperature exceeded 90°C. The case fans had be cranked all the way up to deliver what we would consider a stable GPU temperature (though 10°C cooler than the shutdown temperature is still unsettling). With the CPU cooler running at full speed (2000 RPM), the case fans had to be set to 9V at the very least.

Unfortunately, the fan speeds that resulted in (barely) stable operation produced too much noise, easily exceeding 30 dBA@0.6m, far from quiet on a desktop. The resulting acoustic character was not bad though, mostly broadband with a loud hollow-sounding 'whoosh.' The combination of components and the thick enclosure mellowed the noise of the one wobbly case fan and the whine from the CPU cooler at high speeds. The fan speeds could be reduced to quieter levels if the system were to be used only in 2D operation or if the board inside had a less power hungry IGP.

The power supply also added some noise to system but at the stable levels, it was easily drowned out by the rest of the fans. We momentarily stopped all fans at various times during testing and found the SPL it produced started out at 17 dBA@1m and gradually increased as the unit heated up to about 21~22 dBA@1m maximum. The power draw of our system topped out at about 74W AC measured from the wall.

Comparison: LM100 vs. SG05 vs. SG06 (Alpine 7 Pro)
Case
CPU Fan Speed
SPL @0.6m
CPU Temp
GPU Temp
SG05
1200 RPM
24 dBA
62/66°C
68°C
SG06
1200 RPM
27 dBA
60/64°C
64°C
LM100
1600 RPM
34 dBA
63/67°C
85°C
LM100
2000 RPM
35 dBA
61/67°C
83°C
Ambient temperature: 24°C
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA
Case fans running at 12V.

The Sugo SG05/06 with its large intake fan and vast ventilation area is superior to the LM100 both thermally and acoustically. Operating with a much lower CPU fan speed, the SG05 and SG06 posted slightly better CPU temperatures and vastly superior GPU temperatures while generating a lot less noise than the LM100 under stress conditions.



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