Update to Our Chassis Testing Methodology

Posted on December 12, 2012 7:00 AM by Ryan Perry

While writing an upcoming review I started to think about our current case testing system. When we decided upon it, we wanted a system that was flexible enough to fit into most cases, without compromising the components being used.

For example, a micro-ATX motherboard allows us to test not only full-tower and mid-tower cases, but also most mini-tower and HTPC cases. The CPU and GPU also need to generate enough heat in order to reach the point of failure if the airflow of a case isn’t up to par.

When it comes to the cooler that we use, that’s where I’ve begun to have my doubts. Corsair’s H60 all-in-one liquid cooler has worked very well in the past, but we now feel that it doesn’t allow us to give the cases that we review a fair shake. Each time we install it, we have to modify the stock cooling setup by removing the rear exhaust fan.

Right off the bat, we’ve affected the out-of-the-box cooling capability of a case since the fan used on the H60 likely has different specs than that of the included exhaust fan. This could either improve or worsen the temperature results depending on the amount of air that the replaced fan can move, as well as increase or decrease the amount of overall noise generated by the stock setup, which might be a deal-breaker for some.

To get a truer idea of how a case can cool, we’ve decided to swap out the H60 with an air cooler that has really impressed us in the past, Thermaltake’s Jing. It’s a dual-fan, tower cooler that is large enough to cool well without being so large that it could cause clearance problems in future reviews.

Update to Our Chassis Testing Methodology

So what does all of this mean? Well, since we no longer have to remove a fan to mount the cooler, the stock cooling setup in each case moving forward is going to remain in tact.

The heat from the CPU will no longer be vented directly outside the case either. Instead, heat will radiate from the fins of the cooler to the interior where it will be removed by the fans. If the air flow of a case is less-than-stellar, we should see a serious increase in temperature.

Finally, the Jing is nearly silent when running both fans at 100%, which is how they are set during all tests. By not adding extra noise to the system we can get a better read on whether or not a case is a screamer.

I fully stand behind the results of our previous testing because we have kept our methodology consistent, which is key to building a proper temperature database, but with this new setup we are able to fine-tune our testing and give readers the most accurate end-user experience possible.

As always, we welcome comments, questions and even criticism  Are we right for making this change? Is there part of this that doesn’t quite make sense in your eyes? Let us know.

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