|Lian-Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Dragon Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 25 May 2010|
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Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P50R Testing & Results
Testing the cooling performance of a case is not that difficult, but it is time consuming. It takes a long time for component temperatures to reach steady state. They'll get to within a degree or two within 10 minutes, but they continue to climb, almost imperceptibly, for 3-4 times that long. It's not that any one component is getting that much hotter; it's the combined effect of all the components feeding off one another that causes the slow rise to the final maximum temperature.
For the load tests, I used a mix of applications that I've used for benchmarking in the past and I'm familiar with how they stress individual components. No one application gives the maximum load for all components, so the load temps reported here are the maximum each piece of hardware reached during the testing. For comparison, I have results from the exact same hardware, installed in a CM Storm Sniper Black Edition case.
Both cases were tested with the same hardware and software configuration. Cable management was optimized for each case, based on the internal layout and features available. Note for those looking back in the archives: I used a different set of hardware the first time I tested the SilverStone FT01BW, so the results from that test are not comparable.
Test Support Products
I've had several cases in house recently with side panel fans installed, or the capability to install them. In every case, the side fan improved the cooling of the video card, so I was a little concerned that the Lian Li PC-P50R would be at a disadvantage. The actual test results show that either I worry too much, or I was over thinking this one.
All temperatures are reported as measured, in degrees Celsius, and the ambient temperature for all tests was 26C. (We were having a Spring heat wave on the day I tested.) I did both sets of tests on the same day, swapping the hardware from one case to the other after the first set of tests was done. Let's look at the results:
The idle results for the Lian Li PC-P50R are about 2 degrees centigrade hotter than the CM Storm Sniper BE for the Northbridge and the GPU. This is really good performance on the part of the Lian Li case, given the 100+ CFM of ambient air flowing into the Sniper case from the 200mm side fan blowing at its 100% setting. Notice the excellent performance of the CPU cooler; it's keeping the CPU just 3 degrees over ambient, at idle.
The load results are really excellent, and I had to run the test several times to convince myself that the smaller Lian Li case, with only one 120mm intake fan was really performing this well. The GPU results are much better than I ever imagined I would see without airflow directly in from the side, near the video card cooler. The twin 140mm fans on top apparently are doing a good job pulling in fresh air through the various vents in the case below.
If there is a downside, it is noise. The smaller fans produce more of it as they spin up to higher RPMs, trying to push as much air as their larger counterparts. None of the included fans is really what I would call high speed; the two 120mm fans in the front and rear spin at 1200 and 1500 RPM, respectively. The two 140mm fans on top only go around at 1000 RPM, which is lower than many of the 140mm case fans on the market. I think it's probably the lack of obstructions more than anything else; there's very little to impede the airflow and the same goes for the noise from the fan blades. Some of the noise is also coming from the CPU cooler and video card, I can't pin all the blame on the case fans.
Well, I hope I learned my lesson this time. I had imagined that the PC-P50R would be an average, run-of-the-mill performer for cooling, based on its unassuming complement of fans and solid side panels. It just goes to show the value of critical testing, over the guesses and conjecture that can cause us to make up our mind about a product before giving it a fair chance.