Date: Wednesday, July 06, 2016
To best serve the [H] community and the vast majority of our readers, we've decided to take a two-pronged approach to our case reviews. The reason for this is simple; a case that would be more than adequate for the average user may not work as well for the enthusiast and vice versa. [H]ard|OCP has one of the largest, most diverse community of enthusiasts on the planet and we understand that when it comes to cases, a "one size fits all" approach just isn't going to cut it.
Our case testing consists of two complete hardware configurations, one for the average user and one for the enthusiast. While the average user may use only a single graphics card, hard drive, and large cooler, enthusiasts more often than not push the limits of case design with multiple GPUs, a stack of hard drives, and cooling solutions that vary from mild to wild.
We have test fit industry standard hardware, multiple GPUs, hard drives, self contained water cooling solutions, as well as large DIY dual slot radiators commonly used by water cooling aficionados. We do this because, although manufacturers may say that a case is specifically designed for gamers and enthusiasts, the term is broad enough that it warrants additional testing to validate those claims.
Let's talk about the hardware we use for case testing. For case reviews, you aren't looking for the latest, greatest, fastest hardware on the market. With that in mind, we selected some of the biggest, hottest, and loudest hardware found to test with for fitment issues, thermal properties, vibrations, and noise levels.
The thermal characteristics of a case not only depend on the initial layout and design, but also on what kind of hardware you are using and how much of it is being put in the case. A case that has great airflow with a single GPU might not cool so well when loaded up with two or more graphics cards and a handful of hard drives.
We monitor temperatures two ways; manually with a custom built unit capable of reading up to eight temperatures simultaneously as well as with CPUID's Hardware Monitor. This ensures that our readings are accurate and reliable. Leads from our temperature probe are physically attached to various points in the system allowing us to double check all of our temp readings. To get the system up to temperature, we run Prime95 and Furmark simultaneously for 60 minutes before we start taking any readings. This allows the system to level off after reaching max temperature.