For testing Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in a stock configuration as well as with add-on graphics cards to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise. As we've retired our Micro-ATX board from the testbed, Micro-ATX enclosures will be using the Mini-ITX testbed.

Mini-ITX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-2120
(65W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Graphics Card Intel HD 2000 IGP

Zotac GeForce GTS 450 Eco

Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
CPU Cooler SilverStone NT07-1156 with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 1000W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested with just the Core i3's integrated graphics as well as with a discrete graphics card. The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running four threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU, and OC Scanner (maximum load) is run when the dedicated GPU is installed. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. If the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

We try to maintain an ambient testing temperature of between 22C and 24C. Non-thermal test results aren't going to be directly comparable to the finest decimal point, but should be roughly comparable and give a broader idea of how the enclosure performs.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

Re-Introduction Noise and Thermal Testing
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  • cragAT - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    This is my current case. I only had two minor issues with the build. The first being the space available at the top of the case due to my wanting to install my secondary HDD in the 2nd drive bay (SSD is attached to the bottom of the case, makes for a very clean and cool interior, easy to overclock). The second issue was the lack of space behind the motherboard tray for extra PSU cording. I either need to upgrade to a SLI setup or switch to a Modular PSU for my next upgrade. I also love how the inside looks, black and red on white is a very pleasing color combination.
  • themie - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

  • rburnham - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    I have the previous version of this case, and it is wonderful. Being able to fit a Micro ATX board in there is great, especially considering the case is relatively small. Even at full load, I barely hear any noise coming out of there. The only complaint I have is that cable management is a little tough in places (as seen in some of the photos in this article) and there is no windowed version.
  • jabro - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    Great follow-up! I know you don't like to revisit past reviews, but this mini-review shows that it can be worth while in certain circumstances.

    You mentioned two changes for the "new" PS-07, thicker steel and better fans. Do these changes apply to both the black and white PS-07 models? (I believe that there was a difference in fan quality between the white and black models)

    Do you know if the TJ-08e is also being updated with a thicker steel design?
  • emilyhex - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    Looks great, I like the white.
  • just4U - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    me to.. I'd like to see one of the DVD/Blu-Ray makers come out with a White model though.. preferably like the old Panasonic slot loading (tray-less) models.
  • bobbozzo - Sunday, September 22, 2013 - link

    Even if you found a white drive, it probably would have a different finish (less glossy, ...)
  • marc1000 - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    I know that for testing purposes a big and hot GPU is more usefull thank any small one. but for any real-use scenario for people wanting a silent+small+fast system (in that order), installing one mid-range GPU from the current 28nm generations would be a lot better.

    just get any of them with a dual-fan open-air cooler and be happy, as this layout is FAR more silent than any blower-like cooler used in high-end GPUs. They also consume around 110W of power on average if you use vsync to limit the refresh rate (the 140~150W values are only on the most stressfull tests, something we do not do on the real-world for very long), so it will not throw too much heat in the chassis.

    I have a pretty crowded Micro-ATX case, just installed a Zotac GTX660 (the smallest possible) and it seems to be dead-silent - but I believe that any Radeon7870 with dual fans would be as silent as this one. Of course there is some noise on the system, but it is absolutely easier on the ears than the sound of coolers from the past.

    I know this doesn't apply to benchmarking, but I wanted to share some thoughts on micro-atx builds. I see no reasons to go full ATX other than "bragging rights".
  • DanNeely - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    One of the GPUs used in testing was a GT 450 which is an ~ 100W midrange card. (For thermal testing being obsolete isn't a problem and maintaining hardware continuity in testing is valuable.)
  • marc1000 - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    Good point, DanNeely! I was looking only at the gtx560 results! I believe the gt450 is really similar to gtx660 in thermal output! of course the performance delta is a world of difference, but I believe gpus with real-world draw around 100W are the perfect companions to micro-atx cases. and right now this class is really high-performing-midrange.

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