gaming PC review: case, CPU and GPU cooler, PSU case fans

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gaming PC review: case, CPU and GPU cooler, PSU case fans

Post by Tetreb » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:11 pm

Hi, my camera isn't very good, so I only took images to show how my setup fits inside the case. There is a mess of fan cables at the bottom. I need a fan controller, since the Noctua 140mm case fans don't start up at low voltage.



Components used are:
Revoltec Sixty 3 case
PhenomX6 1055T 125W (overlocked 3.5GHz, overclocked “nortbridge” 2.5GHz, undervolted by 0.1V to 1.3V)
EVGA GTX480 (undervolted by 0.1V to 975mV)
Corsair AX750 PSU
Noctua NH-C12 CPU cooler, Arcitc Cooling Accelero Xtreme Plus II, Noctua 140mm fans

This test ought to be a review of my gaming PC, so I won't go into how well it fares in Prime95 or Furmark. I used Skyrim, where I looked for about 20 minutes in one direction with 98% GPU and about 33% CPU load – that's the highest I could find.
During normal playing the average load would be much lower, and at 98% GPU the framerate was a bit low for my taste due to micro-stuttering. My normal settings tax it about 90% and it's smooth and a bit cooler.

Unless stated otherwise I describe noise levels while there is complete silence inside my flat at night. There is no carpet, and the flat is fairly cool, one of those where you still can relax inside during a hot summer day.


I wanted to push filtered air into the case to avoid pockets of hot trapped air. I lost a mainboard due to that before. Also I hate dust inside the case. I didn't put dust filters on all the spots yet, but only a small amount of dust settled on the components. I have no carpet and a cat however, so I think it's a good result. :) There are filters at the front intake, next to the graphics card and below the PSU.

The CPU fan sucks air away from the board. That way the CPU itself gets maybe 4°C or so degrees hotter, but I find blowing the hot air onto the mainboard and graphics card a worse idea and the CPU is still cool enough.

The GPU has an Arctic Accelero Xtreme 2 and 30% or 40% does not make 1°C difference, my case fans help here too.
(During installation of the heatsinks I panicked a bit because the manual stated I had 15 minutes before th glue cured - fortunately this was not the case. I almost messed up and glued the VRMs to the wrong spots.)

The PSU was mounted with its intake inside the case when I made the picture. Under high load it got too loud, so I turned it upside down

The case fans loose the ability to push air far away if they're closer than an inch to the intake vents - instead there would just form turbulence. Its cable managment is rudimentary, but I like the compactness. I find it to be affordable, compact, lightweight and well ventilated. There is room for a 140mm fan at the front, a 140mm at the back, two at the side and two at the top and maybe one at the bottom, but the PSU could be in the way for that one. This gives you plenty of configurations to play with. The drive bay, which goes straight from top to bottom, leaves room for very long graphics cards. The PCB of the GTX can go inside the cage and fitting the huge Arctic cooler was no problem either. I liked how I could shoehorn intake fans inside the drive bay, I guess 120mm fans would have left room for another 3,5" device.


Here I have some numbers for you. Note that I am using AMD CPU dimensionless core temperature numbers, not CPU temperature by the motherboard sensor. After Skyrim I let it cool down for about 45 minutes while writing this review.

Code: Select all

Component:      Skyrim torture         idle
CPU core:             50                32
CPU RPM:             920               370
Northbridge °C:       52                40
GPU °C:               68                50
GPU-PCB °C:           56                38
GPU RPM:            1290 (34%)       ~1000 (30%)

The CPU fan creates a vibration-resonace at ~600RPM, which disappears until about 1200RPM. Air rush can be heard at about 700RPM, I can't tell because at 600 the vibration is loud. Also a standing wave inside the width of my case can be heard if I turn up the fan.

The GPU is virtually silent apart from a faint PWM clicking at 30%. At 40% speed the air rushing through the fins becomes noticable.

The PSU is the most noticable on high load. Its noise is only a very moderate air rush still, comparable to a His HD5750.

The case fans run at about 600-700RPM (Zalman Fanmate 2 at lowest setting) also create a standing wave inside the width of my case, which can be heard if I increase the speed. The foam on the outside dampened the air rush noise. Some foam on the inside of the drive cage could help against the resonance surely. The CPU cooler seems to vibrate through the case, at idle it is the most noticable noise, but it only is an issue at complete silence.

That's all folks!

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