Testing Methodology

For testing ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

Full ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-875K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 3.8GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D-E Pro
Graphics Card Zotac NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (244W TDP)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS9900 MAX with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Gold 750W 80 Plus Gold

A refresher on how we test:

Acoustic testing is standardized on a foot from the front of the case, using the Extech SL10 with an ambient noise floor of ~32dB. For reference, that's what my silent apartment measures with nothing running, testing acoustics in the dead of night (usually between 1am and 3am). A lot of us sit about a foot away from our computers, so this should be a fairly accurate representation of the kind of noise the case generates, and it's close enough to get noise levels that should register above ambient.

Thermal testing is run with the computer having idled at the desktop for fifteen minutes, and again with the computer running both Furmark (where applicable) and Prime95 (less one thread when a GPU is being used) for fifteen minutes. I've found that leaving one thread open in Prime95 allows the processor to heat up enough while making sure Furmark isn't CPU-limited. We're using the thermal diodes included with the hardware to keep everything standardized, and ambient testing temperature is always between 71F and 74F. Processor temperatures reported are the average of the CPU cores.

For more details on how we arrived at this testbed, you can check out our introductory passage in the review for the IN-WIN BUC.

Last but not least, we'd also like to thank the vendors who made our testbed possible:

Thank You!

We have some thanks in order before we press on:

Assembling the Fractal Design Define R3 Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • MakingMonkeys - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    Its on sale on newegg right now for 80$
  • coffeeman12 - Monday, December 26, 2011 - link

    Holy smoke the Drive bays are in one cage! how stupid is that???????

    you kidding me, how could the designers be so stupid and make a 8 drive bay one cage!
    there should be 4 bays of 2, or at least 2 of 4.
    one cage is retarded. if I buy a graphics card which is to long I can't remove one cage!
    the case is nice.. but I think they need to rework with the inside.
  • Narhinik - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    I bought my R3 couple of days back (USB 3.0 version) and I have to say I'm really happy with it.

    I didn't have any problems with the interior design/cable management that would have been caused my the case. Some of the power cables from my PSU just were too short.

    This is actually one of the cheapest cases available in Finland and I would recommend it to anyone who is going to build a new PC.

    P.S. My Asus GTX 580 DCII fits like a glove in this case whereas there are lots of cases it doesn't fit. (PC component markets are quite small here so it's wise to order parts abroad)

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