Our newest video leverages years of data to make a point about the case industry: Thermal testing isn't just to find a potential item of nitpicking or discussion -- it has actual ramifications in frequency response, power consumption/leakage, and even gaming performance. The current trend of case design has frighteningly spiraled into design trends that are actively worsening performance of systems. This is a regular cycle, to some extent, where the industry experiments with new design elements and trends -- like tempered glass and RGB lights -- and then culls the worst of the implementations. It's time for the industry to make its scheduled, pendulous swing back toward performance, though, and better accommodate thermals that prevent frequency decay on modern GPUs (which are sensitive to temperature swings).
This is a video-only format, for today. Although the content starts with a joke, the video makes use of charts from the past year or two of case testing that we've done, highlighting the most egregious instances of a case impacting performance of the entire system. We hope that the case manufacturers consider thermals with greater importance moving forward. The video makes the point, but also highlights that resolving poor case design with faster fans will negate any "silent" advantage that a case claims to offer. Find all of that below:
Hardware news for the last week includes discussion on an inadvertent NZXT H700i case unveil (with “machine learning,” apparently), Ryzen/Vega APU, Vega partner card availability, and Coffee Lake availability.
Minor news items include the AMD AGESA 184.108.40.206 update to support Raven Ridge & Pinnacle Ridge, Noctua’s Chromax fans, and some VR news – like Oculus dropping its prices – and the Pimax 8K VR configuration.
Find the video and show notes below:
Our review of Cooler Master’s H500P primarily highlighted the distinct cooling limitation of a case which has been both implicitly and explicitly marketed as “High Airflow.” The case offered decidedly low airflow, a byproduct of covering the vast majority of the fan – the selling point of the case – with an easily removed piece of clear plastic. In initial testing, we removed the case’s front panel for a closer look at thermals without obstructions, finding a reduction in CPU temperature of ~12~13 degrees Celsius. That gave a better idea for where the H500P could have performed, had the case not been suffocated by design, and started giving us ideas for mesh mods.
The mod is shown start-to-finish in the below video, but it’s all fairly trivial: Time to build was less than 30 minutes, with the next few hours spent on testing. The acrylic top and front panels are held in by double-sided tape, but that tape’s not strong enough to resist a light, sheer force. The panel separates mostly instantly when pressed on, with the rest of the tape removed by opposing presses down the paneling.
Radiator placement testing should be done on a per-case basis, not applied globally as a universal “X position is always better.” There are general trends that emerge, like front-mounted radiators generally resulting in lower CPU thermals for mesh-covered cases, but those do not persist to every case (see: In Win 303). The H500P is the first case for which we’ve gone out of the way to specifically explore radiator placement “optimization,” and we’ve also added in some best fan placement positions for the case. Radiator placement benchmarks the top versus front orientations, with push vs. pull setups tested in conjunction with Cooler Master’s 200mm fans.
Being that the selling point of the case is its 200mm fans – or one of the major ones, anyway – most of our configurations for both air and liquid attempt to utilize the fans. Some remove them, for academic reasons, but most keep the units mounted.
Our standard test bench will be listed below, but note that we are using the EVGA CLC 240 liquid cooler for radiator placement tests, rather than the MSI air cooler. The tests maximize the pump and fan RPMs, as we care only about the peak-to-peak delta in performance, not the noise levels. Noise levels are about 50-55dBA, roughly speaking, with this setup – not really tenable.
For a recap of our previous Cooler Master H500P results, check our review article and thermal testing section.
The Cooler Master MasterCase H500P is the newest in the modular MasterCase series, but is inspired by the old high airflow (“HAF”) line of cases, mainly in the form of monster 200mm intake fans and a general “rugged and futuristic design.” We covered the H500P along with the Cosmos series refresh C700P at Computex back in June, and now the time for reviewing has finally come.
Cooler Master’s H500P exhibited significant and plentiful quality control concerns, questionable design decisions, and limited semblance to the meaning behind “High Airflow” in the “HAF” naming. The case has its ups, too, primarily in the looks and cable management deparatments -- but we’ll go through all of that in this review. For Steve’s (rather animated) take on this case, check the video.
We first went hands-on with the C700P and H500P at Computex this year, and since then Cooler Master has been building excitement for their releases in a way that’s rare for enclosures. The C700P is one of the newest in the Cosmos line, which also recently added the Cosmos II 25th Anniversary Edition. Our initial review of the Cosmos C700P was conducted at PAX -- later renamed to "preview," because some struggling publications lamented the use of the words "initial review" -- and covered the case inversion process and other installation features. This is a follow-up to that, finalizing the thermal and acoustics analysis.
Cooler Master has revised their website since we mentioned the C700P in our Thermaltake View 71 TG review, correcting the its weight: it’s actually 49 pounds, not 58. The CM website had initially suggested the case would weigh 26.2kg but, after double-checking, we can say that the 22.2kg weight is accurate. Not that it’s a big difference, at that point.
For Steve’s take on the case, check the video below. The team’s written review of the case will continue after the specs listing.
Manufacturers apparently read our Dark Base Pro 900 review and took our “truly massive” description as a challenge: the case Thermaltake has sent us is fully plated in 5mm panes of glass, weighing 18.9kg (41.66 lbs) altogether, and we’ve got even heavier ones waiting in line. The Thermaltake View 71 TG is not the Core V71, it’s a whole new product more related to the Corsair 570X that we reviewed: a high-end case designed to push the limits of just how much glass a chassis can hold.
We’re reviewing the Thermaltake View 71 TG with the Corsair 570X alternative in mind, along with the freshly reviewed Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 white edition. As usual, we’re looking at thermals and noise, with some additional testing done on optimal fan configuration with the View 71.
We’ve received a lot of requests from readers to review the Fractal Meshify C, and rightfully so. The case combines three things we’ve liked a lot recently: mesh front panels, tempered glass, and the Fractal Define C. We’ve been advocating cases with this style of cooling for a while now, like the SilverStone RL06, and so we had to put the Meshify through its paces in some real thermal tests.
Fractal’s naming system is getting a little cluttered: the Meshify C is 100% a Define C TG with an angular, “stealth-inspired” front panel that looks “like black diamond facets” (according to Fractal). It is a cool look, and it breaks away from the current trend of plain, flat front panels in a way that’s reminiscent of the Corsair SPEC-04. “C” is the model and Meshify is the series; Define cases focus on noise suppression, while Meshify cases (there’s only one so far) focus on cooling.
Our review of the Fractal Meshify C tests the case for thermals, noise suppression, and performance versus the Define C (and other cases). The Fractal Meshify C can be found on Amazon here, with the Define C here, just so we’re all on the same page.
This review will focus almost entirely on noise and thermals. There’s not much point to discussing ease of installation or build features, as all of those were already covered in our Define C review. The tooling is identical, nearly, it just comes down to the paneling. View our Define C review for the other half of the information.
The Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 - White Edition is an upgraded but functionally similar version of the Dark Base 900, the highest of the high end Be Quiet! enclosures. The tagline for this model is “outstanding flexibility and silence,” referring to the fact that the motherboard can be inverted, a feature we previewed at Computex a year ago. We first spotted the white edition at this year’s Computex, where Be Quiet! was showing off the limited edition white variety.
The newest version of the case differs only from previous DBP 900 cases in its color, but as we never reviewed the original Dark Base Pro 900, we’ll be going through the complete review and benchmark today. This Dark Base Pro 900 review includes thermal testing for standard and inverted layouts, ventilation/duct testing, noise testing, and assembly.
Antec is a venerable company, founded in 1986, but they’ve been an infrequent guest to GamersNexus. We did a quick summary of the Performance One when it launched in 2012, were intrigued by the more recent Razer Cube, reviewed Antec’s 1250 highly, and reviewed the GX700. But that’s it--until now. Like many other manufacturers, Antec is now experimenting with sub-$100 tempered glass in their new P8 mid tower.
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