For testing Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in a stock configuration as well as with add-on graphics cards to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise. As we've retired our Micro-ATX board from the testbed, Micro-ATX enclosures will be using the Mini-ITX testbed.

Mini-ITX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-2120
(65W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Graphics Card Intel HD 2000 IGP

Zotac GeForce GTS 450 Eco

Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
CPU Cooler SilverStone NT07-1156 with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 1000W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested with just the Core i3's integrated graphics as well as with a discrete graphics card. The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running four threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU, and OC Scanner (maximum load) is run when the dedicated GPU is installed. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. If the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

We try to maintain an ambient testing temperature of between 22C and 24C. Non-thermal test results aren't going to be directly comparable to the finest decimal point, but should be roughly comparable and give a broader idea of how the enclosure performs.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

Re-Introduction Noise and Thermal Testing
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  • Travis Jackson - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    The one gripe I have regarding these "snow white" cases is not actually with the cases at all, but with (what seems to be) ALL of the optical disc drive manufacturers - I've not yet found one where the ODD fascia was not some shade of "beige".
    I know it's a minor gripe, but if there were an ODD OEM that made a "pure white" fascia for their DVD & BluRay drives, even at a premium, with this kind of build, I would not buy anything else.
  • meacupla - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    "At the same time, they ignore the industry trends toward CLCs"

    That's a good thing, you make it sound like a bad thing. Closed loop coolers are a fad, and a bad one at that.

    CLC cool no better than a good heatpipe dual tower heatsink, their pumps are louder than they should be, the pumps can fail and they eventually leak.

    You talk about silverstone cases being overly complicated, to which I agree with, but why would you want to complicate it further with a CLC that is liable to failure?

    A custom loop is the only proper way to do water cooling and this is one case I wouldn't even consider for such a purpose, but if it were for compact SLI and air, this case is a top choice.
  • Piano Man - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    I think the one thing that seems to go missing here is the discussion of the actual dimensions of these Micro-ATX cases. The fact of the matter is that some "Micro-ATX" cases are the size of some smaller ATX cases, and that to me is just silly. Take the 350D that Dustin lauded. It's dimensions from NE are listed as 17.7" x 8.3" x 17.3" while the Temjin TJ08-E is 15.16" x 8.27" x 14.72". That's a big difference in size. Heck, there are some popular mini-ITX cases that are bigger than Temjin TJ08-E (I'm looking at you BitFenix Prodigy). What's the point of getting a SFF case when its just as big as a regular case? This is why I think the Temjin TJ08-E still, to this day, wears the crown as the best mATX case out there. It can take the most powerful GPUs and the biggest CPU Air Coolers out there, and fit it into a very well laid out and compact case. I got my Noctua DH14 in this thing just fine with 2 SSDs, 1 3.5" HDD, 2 Blu-Ray players, a 7950 and a custom sound card. And it still cools like a beast. You can't get that with these other guys unless you want a case that is almost the same size as a mid-tower.
  • antef - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    THANK YOU, so glad to see someone else finally mention this. So tired of all the mATX cases that are no smaller than regular ATX and reviewers not even mentioning it. There IS a reason we are looking at cases like this at all - because we want something small! I realized awhile ago what Dustin mentioned, I only need an mATX board, one video card, and one SSD and HDD to have a complete and powerful system, and the regular ATX towers are just a huge waste of space. I'm sure many people have similarly simple systems nowadays so I don't understand why mATX is not more popular, or why manufacturers insist on continuing to make them so big. I love that this case is the size that it is and I wouldn't want any bigger for any future builds.
  • just4U - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    Your right the 350D is bigger.. it could have easily been the size of the Temjin if they'd wanted it that way but than it wouldn't be able to fit all of Corsair's CLC options which is what they had in mind. But when you compare it to their other cases it's easy to fall in love with it. Like the Temjin I believe it sits at the top of the pack but for very different reasons.

    Silverstone can improve a lot on the Temjin design's far from perfect, so the fact that it sits at the top with the 350D is a feat in itself. I don't think it needs to factor in CLCs right now. Their still a nitch market meant for enthusiasts. Plus that would add to the size of the case. No .. just make it easier to work with, and do something about the SSD placement. and it will continue to be one of the best cases on the market.
  • rhskeks - Sunday, September 22, 2013 - link

    I had the corsair 350D but I returned it because it was just as big as some ATX cases out there. Also, I had a problem with its noise coming from the internal fans, as well as the ventilated top.

    In my opinion, the 350D is geared towards a very small niche market, to fill the needs of enthusiasts who are looking to water cool their m-atx system. This is the reason why it's selling so well, because there are no other m-atx cases to fill this very small segment market. I am not one of those enthusiasts; I simply couldn't justify spending another $150+ for a wc setup when a good air cooler keeps my system quiet and cool without adding more noise or powerdraw.

    One gripe about the Temjin is actually the location of the ssd. Because it is at the bottom of the case you have to have the sata cable on your psu to be long enough to cover the length from the ssd all the way to the DVD drive if you have one. It was simply impossible for my 400w psu to extend that far so I had to put the ssd in the hard drive cage to make it work. Other than this small gripe, it is a fantastic case with very solid build, and the little attention to details such as the air cooler support makes this my favorite case to date.
  • just4U - Sunday, September 22, 2013 - link

    It's interesting that you should say that rh. I moved my parts from a Temjin to the 350D after Anandtech reviewed the case. Most of the time I can't even hear it running and it is quieter than the Temjin /w it's 180mm fan.

    I tend to use power supplies by Corsair/PC Power and Cooling and Cooler MasterS series that all use ribbon cables that were long enough for the bottom SSD. It's simply a pain is all and I landed up doing exactly what you did when I moved to a bigger SSD.

    You didn't note the horrid number of screws for the Temjin and the fact that you should really get as many things as you can all in before mounting that MB. Those are minor things though.. from the back end for the installer. Once set up the case is great.
  • bji - Friday, September 20, 2013 - link

    Minor grammar nit - the second sentence should read:

    "There are a tremendous number of cases ..."

    Cases are countable, so you use "number". "amount" is for uncountable things, so you'd say:

    "There is a tremendous amount of water in my basement".
  • antef - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    I also have the original version of this case from early 2012, I really love it. The install isn't the simplest ever, but it's doable. I like the dedicated spot for an SSD at the bottom. I have no need for the HDD cage so taking it out really frees up space. I had an issue with my power cable orientation with the HDD directly on top of the SSD, so I put it in a 5.25" bay instead. A little tight but works fine. The system is cool and quiet and the perfect size. Also looks great. Highly recommend it!
  • antef - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    Although I have to say - as great as the PS07 is, I would strongly consider the Line-M if building today. It's only $36 on Amazon and seems nearly equally good (2x120mm fans, small, room for large video cards, bottom 2.5" mount), and possibly more straightforward to install in. The case seems to be a rebirth of the Cooler Master Elite 341. It really checks all the boxes for a small mATX case, and it's cheap. Dustin says it's a "good case, but not a great one," however looking back at his review his only complaints in the conclusion are no top vent and not a lot of cable management. Those are pretty minor complaints for something that costs less than half of the PS07.

    That said I love the SilverStone and you probably can't go wrong with either. I'm sure many people appreciate the SilverStone's inverted layout and dual front intake fans to help with the use of tower coolers, and the price is good. But the Line-M sure seems like a steal.

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