Sadly, our previous micro-ATX kit suffered a loss, as the GTX 560 Ti 1GB card broke. We eventually opted for the AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB as its replacement. Although not a stock card (these are rare with this particular model), the ability to lock its fan speed even under full load makes it suitable for comparative thermal testing, and will highlight cases that do not provide adequate airflow to the GPU. For now, we'll only be testing the SG09 against the TJ08-E, the previously best performing case, but will add in results from other micro-ATX cases as and when we have them.
Apart from the graphics card, our new micro-ATX test kit is practically identical. It contains an Intel Core i7-875K CPU, which has been overclocked from 2.93GHz to 3.4GHz using a vcore of 1.175V and a CPU PLL of 1.86V. This is an admittedly modest overclock, but as some cases that we have trialled previously made the CPU run at a Delta T of 54°C, it's reasonable for a micro-ATX case.
The CPU is cooled by a Gelid Tranquillo with a Noctua NF-S12B ULN 120mm fan. This is a low-airflow fan, so it will highlight cases with poor cooling for the CPU. We also lock the fan speed on the graphics card to 25 per cent in order to prevent the automatic speed control from interfering with the results, making them inconsistent.
We record the temperature of the CPU using RealTemp, noting the temperature of the hottest core, and use GPU-Z to log the temperature of the graphics card. Having recorded the ambient temperature in front of the main air intake of each case, we're then able to calculate the delta T - the difference between the ambient temperature of our lab and the temperature of the hardware.
To load the system, we use a combination of the Unigine Heaven DirectX 11 benchmark and the smallfft test in Prime 95. We loop each test for a minimum of 30 minutes, or until the temperatures reach a plateau, and record the highest temperature in the log files.
Intel Core i7-875K CPU overclocked to 3.4GHz
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2R
RAM: 2 x 2GB OCZ 1,866MHz DDR3
Drives: 1 x 160GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9
Heatsink: Gelid Tranquillo with a Noctua NF-S12B ULN fan