We are preparing procedures for tests of PC cases, feel free to join!

Preparations for airflow tests

Reviews of PC cases will be one of the main pillars of HWCooling. Significant part of the tests will be dedicated to airflow, of course. We would like to present you our initial concept of the test procedures. Our goal is to bring you information that you are really interested in, so let us think aloud together and improve what we can.

We want to build on the procedures that were used in the test of Akasa Euler MX. That is, the basis will be the Mini-ITX platform – Gigabyte GB-Z270N-Gaming 5. Thanks to this small board, it will be possible to compare a big-tower with a tiny case that barely allows to use Intel box.

One of thermocouples is on the VRM heatsink, and the other is in the cooler of Intel Z270 chipset

We are planning to use two CPU coolers with adjusted RPM to achieve the same cooling performance with each. Zalman FX70 with Noctua iPPC NF could be a good choice for towers. It is not the most efficient direct active cooling, but it has its advantage in this case. NH-L9i would be an alternative for desktop type cases considering its low-profile top-flow. However, its performance is a bit lower. If it is not possible to achieve similar performance as with Zalman with a reasonable noise level, we will replace it with Thermalright AXP-100RH. But that one is higher and there might be some problems in small cases.

We have Core i5-7600K (with Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut) ready, and we will adjust the settings to achieve a consumption of 100 – 130 W at most. It will depend on NH-L9i. All cases would be tested first without a graphics card (due to models that do not support dedicated GPU), and then we would make additional tests in the second round.

Modes of system fans

Owners of exceptionally powerful configurations may be interested in cooling with maximum flow, but most of you will probably appreciate some quiet modes. That is why we consider to categorize them, from very quiet 31.5 dBA, to 36 dBA which is already a relatively intense airflow.

The position of the noise level meter from a case would always be the same and equal in all axes, including the directional angle (45 °). The sensor could be pointing diagonally at the top left corner of the case, as it is shown in the picture. Proper distance might be 50 cm – a similar distance as between ears and a computer. During the noise test, the components will be installed, but they will not be running. Only externally regulated fans.

That would be all with supplied fans. Let’s look at our reference fans. Tests with the same fans are especially important when it comes to PC cases because in cheaper (but otherwise quite fine) models are fans often replaced. Therefore, we consider to use 120mm fans. Good candidates are Noctua NF-A12S ULN. First round would be with the same number as the particular case is equipped with and the second round would be with 2+2. We will aim towards the minimum noise level possible (we expect approx. 31.5 dBA).

So much for our plans. Feel free to leave your feedback in comments. We will be grateful for it.

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Complete analysis of the final wind tunnel for fan testing

The introduction to this article has been rewritten several times. The original versions resorted to describing the adverse events that caused the long-announced fan testing to be so dramatically delayed. But the text was always dreadfully boring… the important thing is that everything managed to make it to the start. But before the starting gun, come take a thorough walk around the track where the measurements will take place. Read more “Complete analysis of the final wind tunnel for fan testing” »


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