Acoustic and thermal performance
Processors and graphics cards can produce a lot of heat that must be transported away from the hot core as quickly as possible. You’ll often see massive active fan solutions that can eliminate the heat, yet all the fans these days make the PC a noisy son of a gun. Do remember that the test we do is highly subjective. We bought a certified dBA meter to measure how many dBA originate from the PC. Why is this subjective, you ask? Well, there is always noise in the background: from the streets, from the HDD, PSU fan, etc., so this is, by a mile or two, an imprecise measurement. You could only achieve objective measurement in a sound test chamber.
- AMD Ryzen 9 7900X (limited to 125W)
- Asrock X670E Steel Legend
- Asus TUF GeForce® RTX 3080
- Samsung Evo 970 1 TB
- Fractal Design AS500 for AC
- Endorfy Navis F360 for LC
The human hearing system has different sensitivities at different frequencies. This means that the perception of noise is not equal at every frequency. Noise with significant measured levels (in dB) at high or low frequencies will not be as annoying as when its energy is concentrated in the middle frequencies. In other words, the measured noise levels in dB will not reflect the actual human perception of the loudness of the noise. That’s why we measure the dBA level. A specific circuit is added to the sound level meter to correct its reading regarding this concept. This reading is the noise level in dBA. The letter A is added to indicate the correction made in the measurement. Frequencies below 1 kHz and above 6 kHz are attenuated, whereas the A-weighting amplifies frequencies between 1 kHz and 6 kHz.
There are a lot of differences in measurements between websites. We measure noise levels in a completely enclosed and closed room. The lowest dBA level we can measure in this room without equipment activated is roughly 30 dBA. We measure the noise 40cm from the side panel.
In the past, we used the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, Intel Core i9 9900K, and Thermalright True Spirit 120 Direct. You can find the results using the AMD platform in Deepcool CH510 and for the Intel platform in the Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact review. During idle and stress tests, the noise was measured using a Voltcraft SL-100 at 30 cm from the side panel. The temperatures were recorded during OCCT testing and DiRT Rally, with the highest settings, and at 2560 x 1440. Each of the three measurements lasted 30 minutes. The measurements were taken with the chassis closed. This is similar to a real-life scenario, making it noisier than an open environment. This is the nature of airflow bumping into and hitting the innards of the chassis.