testing regime is an old, ancient method of gauging the performance of a PC chassis. It’s long been a secret of the ancient Technology Monks who originally formed the bit-tech
community and has been passed down from editor, to editor over the years and entrusted to the mind of the journalist in charge of PC case reviews. From Wil Harris, it came to me. It’s kind of a Zen thing.
Of course, I’ve got more of a rebellious streak than most Technology Monks – so I’m going to divulge the testing methodology in full.
We look for three things when we review any PC case, no matter the construction, design or form factor; three things we think are critical to any chassis design.
The first is ease of installation. We recognise that, unlike most casual PC users who might only open their case once in their lifetime, the bit-tech
audience is a little more hardcore. The average bit-tech
reader will be in and out of his case like some incredibly rude analogy, so we want the case to be easy to work with. We should be able to get in, get out and remount critical components with a minimum of fuss.
Click to enlarge
To test this we use a set hardware specification that we install and uninstall from every system. It’s one we’ve worked with hundreds of times, so we know how it should be set up and we can spot any troubles quickly. Check the specification of the hardware below – it isn’t fancy like one of Tim’s 3-way SLI systems
, but it does the job.
Intel Pentium XE 955 (dual-core, 3.46GHz)
Sapphire Radeon X1600 XT Ultimate
MSI P6N SLI Platinum
2x 512MB Corsair XMS2-667
1x 250GB Western Digital WD2500 7,200RPM
Asus Silent Square Pro
The second test is noise-based, and simply involves listening to the case and trying to gauge if it’s too noisy to handle or quieter than the corpse of a church mouse in an abandoned basement. This test will prove be especially interesting for the Armoursuit too, what with those three massive fans in the door.
The last test we do on any system is the most complex of all – the Thermal Performance Test of Doom and Fire! Here, we use a collection of specific programs to stress certain components in the PC, all the while monitoring the temperatures in the case, on the GPU and the CPU. These results are then measured against the ambient temperature and serve as an excellent way to compare one case to another.
The first thermal test we do is an idle test, which involves running nothing but the OS and watching how the system handles at minimum load. After that there’s the CPU/RAM blend test which uses bespoke software to bombard the CPU and RAM complex calculations. This test is designed to increase the temperature of the processor specifically.
The final stress test is the GPU exam – arguably the most important to the type of gamer that the Lian Li Armoursuit PC-P80 is marketed to. For this we use a freeware program called RTHDRIBL – or, Real-time High Dynamic Range Image Based Lighting demo.
If you only care about the basics then all you really need to know about the program is that it’s very pretty and taxing on the graphics card, but if you want to know more then you can head to the official site
where you can download the full version.
So, now you’re up to date on the secret ways of the bit-tech
Tech Monks, flip to the next page and check out the results.