|SilverStone Fortress FT02 Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Thursday, 05 August 2010|
Page 7 of 8
Cooling Performance Tests
This case is all about cooling, so let's test it. The system I built in this case in the previous section was taken from an existing build in a Thermaltake Level 10 case. This 50 pound all aluminum monster takes the "separate cooling zones" design to its logical conclusion, with completely enclosed areas for the motherboard, power supply, optical drives, and hard drives. It's the most expensive production computer case I know of, but now that the initial frenzy has died down, you can get one at Newegg for only $799.00.
Surprisingly, the two cases are virtually the same length, front-to-back, although the Level 10 is much taller. Thermaltake brags about the Level 10's cooling ability, but the enclosed motherboard area depends on a single 140mm intake fan and 120mm exhaust fan for ventilation. Subtle extra air intakes are sculpted into the case over the CPU and video card areas. The stock FN181fans in the SilverStone Fortress FT02 case are rated at 100CFM at the low 700RPM speed, and 130CFM at the higher 1000RPM speed.
I used Everest Ultimate 5.5 to load the processor with the "Stress CPU" and "Stress FPU" tests. The results are presented as "thermal difference" (the difference, in degrees Celcius, between the processor temperature and the ambient temperatures). I overclocked the Intel 980x processor to4.16gHz with a 160mHz BCLK and 1.35 volts.
With the SilverStone case, I ran the tests twice: once with the fans set to "Low" and once with the fans set to "High". And the results are...
Thisis a decisive win for the FT02. It's to be expected, really:as you can see in the build photo, the CPU cooler sits right above the two rearmost fans, each blowing cool outside airstraight up. The airflow over the memory in the FT02 is excellent, too
Next it was time to test the temperatures of the GTX480 graphics cards. Two of these beasts running stress tests in SLI mode will strain the cooling capabilities of any system. For this test I left the video card's fan controls on "auto" and used Furmark to stress both cards; and as before, I ran the tests in the Fortress FT02 with the case fans on both "Low" and "High" settings, and I also noted the idle temperatures of the cards before starting the tests.
The temperature differences here aren't quite as dramatic, but are still noticeable, with the idle and load temperatures of the cards running three to five degrees cooler in the FT02 case. SilverStone lists the 180mm fan noise as 18dBa at low speed and 27dBa at high speed; I found the audible difference barely noticeable, and you might wish to simply leave the stock fans on "High" all the time. One thing I did notice during this test was the amazing amount of hot air boiling out of the top of the case, probably enough to deform plastic items you might place there. Of course this same heat comes out the back of a normal case design, but it's a lot more noticeable here.
Next, I ran the same tests with the GTX480 fans manually set to 100%, as might be the case in an overclocking or benchmarking scenario. Here, the differences were much more pronounced, with the FT02 posting temperatures that were 9.3 and 4.3 degrees better with low case fan speed and a stunning 12.3 and 5.3 degrees better with the case fans on high.
So the SilverStone Fortress FT02 really does provide significantly better cooling, at least as compared to the Thermaltake Level 10. But then there are the downsides to consider...