A Note on Our New Bench Platform
This is all detailed heavily on the previous page, but it's important to note again here since few people read the methodology pages.
We're working with a new test bench for case testing. The old one -- a 3570K build, and GN's first test bench -- has now been retired from case testing duties. Our previous case reviews are not comparable in thermal and noise data to the reviews on this platform. The components are completely different. Every component has changed. We've also more carefully refined our use of the thermocouple readers, probes, and software logging, which means an overall improved test case execution (in addition to an improved bench).
Corsair 570X & 270R CPU Temperature vs. S340 Elite, In Win 303, Rosewill Cullinan
The 570X at 1550RPM is unsurprisingly the best-cooled enclosure on the newly built case bench. It's large and it's got three intake fans, positioning it atop the charts with its max fan RPM for 50.2C delta, or 2.6C idle. Dropping the 570X's fan speed to 1050RPM increases our temperatures by nearly 2C load, but the noise benefit is worth it here -- as you'll see later. The temperature gain, strictly looking at the CPU, is not significant to the CPU's performance.
Moving on to Corsair's $60-$70 case, the 270R at 1300RPM max fan speed produces a 52.8C load temperature for the CPU. The 270R only has two fans -- one in the front, one in the rear -- and uses the most basic intake/exhaust setup. An RPM change to roughly 1050 increases our temperature by about 2C.
NZXT's S340 Elite is considerably worse than the 570X when both are at their max RPMs. This isn't necessarily significant for the CPU, but we have proven time and again that increased case ambient can severely impact GPU Boost performance. We'll look at that in a moment. Regardless, the CPU temperature is around 55.8C load, resultant of NZXT's decision to use strictly exhaust fans in the top and rear of the S340 Elite. They're doing this for dust reasons, but it's not great for thermals.
Rosewill's Cullinan isn't much better, and that's with four fans -- but not all fans are made equal, and Rosewill's are more suffocated in the front than the other cases. But then there's the In Win 303, which we tested with its stock configuration -- 0 fans. With our new test bench, its overclock, and our axial fan GPU, the In Win 303 heats up rapidly and incinerates components without intake fans. The CPU is hitting 100C, and the GPU thermal throttles at 81C when looking at non-delta values. The case is obviously best paired with a fan.
Corsair 570X & 270R GPU Temperature vs. Rosewill Cullinan, S340 Elite
Moving on to GPU temperatures, we see Rosewill's Cullinan leverages its rear exhaust fan to help dispense of some of the heat that collects around the backplate of the Gaming X. This brings the Cullinan's temps down to 49.19C, showing the advantage of a dual-fan axial cooling solution in a standard ATX case. Our previous case bench used a blower fan and reference cooler, which really suffered in some scenarios. It was also a bit abused after a year in the bench.
We use FurMark for these burn ins, which abuses the VRMs to generate significant heat. This test approach means that it is important for cases to be able to dissipate the heat emission that radiates off the back of the PCB, which an exhaust fan supports. That's what you're seeing here.
Anyway, with the fixed GPU fan speed and FurMark burning the VRMs, we see a 49C dT for the Cullinan. The 570X is at about 51C, the 270R at about 52C, and the S340 Elite at about 54C. We're seeing a 3C delta between the 570X at 1550RPM and 1050RPM.
Add about 21-22C roughly for ambient, and you'll get an idea of the GPU diode temperature in a cool house.
Corsair 570X & 270R Ambient Case Temperature (Internal)
Our next chart is ambient case temperature.
We decided to add this chart after running extreme burn-in scenarios on the EVGA FTW cards, which we'll be publishing this week. In those tests, we found that increasing ambient to about 40C had a significant impact on the VRM cooling in a way that wasn't reflected with 22C ambient open air temperature. To this end, we've learned that ambient case temperature -- not just diode temperatures -- is important to the cooling of components which can only be measured by direct thermocouples and not by software. Again, like the VRMs.
The 570X blows the S340 Elite away with a 10C difference in case ambient temperature, and that -- as we've learned with EVGA -- is a significant difference. Efficiency loss and thermal headroom limitations on the card come into play.
The 270R does well. The Cullinan is OK -- it's still a bit suffocated by the intake, and we position our case ambient probe about 3" from the intake, so that it is between the CPU fan, GPU fan, and case fans.
And that's also a hot spot for the S340 Elite, which we'll soon be reviewing in a separate video.
Corsair 570X & 270R Noise Level Testing (dBA)
Moving on to noise briefly, these tests are taken with a decibel meter at 20" from the front of the case. The noise floor of the room is about 26dBA, and we take a delta to get our numbers on this chart. Keep in mind that decibels are logarithmic, so delta noise isn't calculated the same way as temperatures.
These tests are conducted with the GPU fan at 50% and the CPU fan at 1100RPM -- which is the speed it uses for all our tests.
The 270R at 1050RPM is the quietest, thanks to its usage of only two fans, with one stuck behind a front panel that eats noise.
The S340 Elite is next, and about equal to the 270R when its two fans are also at 1050RPM. We then move to the 570X at 1050RPM, and see a 35dBA output -- pretty similar to the first two. Rosewill's Cullinan and its four fans run at 36dBA, thanks to a low RPM, and that's followed by the 270R at 1300RPM (or 36.6dBA).
The S340 Elite runs louder at 1300RPM, and part of that is because both its fans are directly against the top and rear panels. They're also just a bit louder, at 38.1dBA.
The 570X at 1550RPM is nearly a perceptual 2X increase in volume from the 270R at 1050RPM, but is still manageable.
For reference, the average phone's text tone at max volume seems to be around 80dB, based on our loose tests. Conversation is about 65dB.
Corsair 570X & Corsair 270R Review Conclusion
Let's start the conclusion with the 270R: This is the easier case to discuss. The 270R, at its $60 price-point for a non-windowed variant, is one of the easiest pick-ups at its price. The $70 alternative starts to enter into competition with the long-treasured NZXT S340, the CM MasterBox, and Fractal Define S. The In Win 303 sort of counts, but you'd have to buy a few fans -- so that instantly puts the 303 closer to the 400C in price.
We like the 270R. Even at $70, where the competition is tougher, it's a good solution. The 270R cools adequately on all fronts, is fairly quiet even at its higher RPMs -- there's a good chance that your components will be louder than the fans -- and it's easy to build in, other than small gripes with the expansion slot screws. NZXT does a better job with cable management in its $70 S340, but Corsair's case does better with cooling. To each their own.
And the hard one: The 570X. We're not sure what to make of this case's visuals, to be honest. We've asked a few staffers what they thought of the case, and it's largely been mixed. Andrew, the man behind the camera, used the words "modern construction" and suggested that the LEDs seemed unnecessary. I somewhat agree. On the other hand, we've had people say that the LEDs are necessary to make the case work, since it appears sort of plain otherwise.
It does sort of look like Corsair just bolted a bunch of glass to a frame, and that's because that's exactly what they did. Not to say that this is a bad thing, it's just a personal/subjective thing, and we're not much in the business of commenting on that. If you like that look—great! Go for it. If not, well, there are plenty of other options at the high-end. Be Quiet!'s Dark Base 900 comes to mind, Corsair's older 760T, Thermaltake's P3 and P5, and plenty of others.
The 570X is easy to build in and has a pretty good controller, despite being limited to hardware switching. The first unit we received had issues with lighting, but a replacement controller did resolve those problems. We don't factor this against the case's review, as it was swiftly resolved and seems to be a one-off issue. Just worth mentioning in case someone else encounters this in the future.
Regardless, the only real concern with the 570X is going to be dust. We obviously didn't have enough time to let dust accumulate, but all that glass means (1) it's going to be visible, just like all the finger prints on each side, and (2) the forced intake in small spaces means targeted dust accumulation. Run those filters under water (and let them dry) a few times a year, and it should be a non-issue. Just remember to take care of the case, for sake of temperatures. This isn't really unique to Corsair's 570X, anyway.
The 270R is easy to recommend. For its $60-$70 price-point and assertive posture against nearby competition, we are awarding the Corsair 270R with our Editor's Choice award. The 570X is well-built, and if only for the SSD sleds and split-level board tray, we're giving it our Quality Build award. There's too much good competition at the $180 price-point to receive Editor's Choice merits, but it's still well-built.
If you'd like to research nearby options to the 270R, we'd suggest Corsair's own 400C (reviewed here) and 600C (reviewed here), the NZXT S340 ($70), CM MasterBox (~$65), and Fractal Define S. The 270R would be our go-to choice for budget rigs that deserve a bit more than a 200R.
Test Lead: Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke
Video Producer: Andrew "ColossalCake" Coleman