Once we’d finished the painless task of installing our test hardware, we set about the task of putting the Hoplite through its paces. To do this, we fired up our usual stress test suite of Prime95 and a loop of the 3DMark06 Canyon Flight test, and sat back to see what temperatures the case would produce.
Unfortunately for Enermax, the Hoplite didn’t fare well when it came to CPU temperatures. With the intake fan set to its minimum speed, we saw the processor hit a maximum absolute temperature of 79o
C, which equates to a Delta T of 55o
C. This puts the Hoplite towards the bottom of the table, and means it's less effective at cooling a CPU than cheaper cases such as the Cooler Master CM 690 II
and the Antec One Hundred
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At the low fan speed, the case's GPU cooling was also among the poorest that we’ve seen, with only the Corsair Graphite 600T
(at minimum speed), the BitFenix Survivor
and the NZXT H2
(at minimum speed) faring worse. Its Delta T of 46o
C was also a full 10o
C worse than the best result we’ve seen.
The primary reason for these poor results is that the components simply weren’t getting enough air, due to the way the front intake fan is stifled. This may not matter if you're using a high air-flow CPU cooler, as this could potentially pull more air through the meshed front panel. However, our Gelid Tranquillo equipped with a Noctua NF-S12B ULN equipped simply wasn’t capable of this task - it's designed to be a worst case scenario test, after all.
Click to enlarge
Dialling the front intake fan up to full speed via the fan speed controller did little to change the Hoplite’s fortunes, though. Even with the fan spinning faster, its airflow was still restricted. As a result, we saw precisely no change in the Delta Ts. What we did gain, though, was some extra noise, as the fan makes an audible medium-pitch hum when running at full speed. This was also accompanied by a rustling sound, thanks to the turbulence created by trying to force so much air through the tiny holes in the hard disk cage.
The Enermax Hoplite has a number of features in its favour; it’s relatively good looking, it’s easy to build a PC inside it and it can just about accommodate a slim-line double 120mm-fan radiator in its roof. Unfortunately, though, these positives aren’t enough to offset the fact that the cooling on offer is poor, especially for a case that costs just shy of £100.
As a result, we can’t in all good conscience recommend the Hoplite, especially when other cases such as the Fractal Design Define R3
are cheaper and offering superior cooling abilities while running quieter. That said, the Hoplite certainly shows potential, and we’ll be interested to see if Enermax can build on this as its range of cases continues to evolve.