26. January 2005 · Comments Off on A Cool Computer · Categories: Technology

In recent years, consumer computer products have adopted the ATX (or micro-ATX) format as an almost universal format. But control of heat and noise in an ATX box, with current high-performance CPU/GPUs has been a real problem. And a big ol’ full or mid-tower, which will accommodate an “extreme cooling” solution, presents a “workspace packaging” problem for many users. Here, Hardware Analysis tests a high-performance desktop in Intel’s micro-BTX configuration. They like it – to a limit:

There are a few drawbacks about this approach as well, components will be cooled with airflow coming from the processor heatsink, thus the temperature will always be several degrees higher due to the heat dissipated by the processor. But there’s more; due to the small size of the micro-BTX case the power supply and harddisk are tucked away in a corner with very little or, in case of the harddisk, no airflow over them at all. This means that under heavy loads the power supply fan will need to spin up to a high rpm to provide adequate airflow to keep it cool. The harddisk will not receive any cooling, but for natural convection, which, with today’s 200GB and larger harddisks, is not recommended, temperatures will rise quickly and cut into the MTBF of the harddisk. In terms of noise production, which is highly subjective, the micro-BTX case fared well. It isn’t exactly whisper quiet, but with the notion that there’s a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 processor running inside that small case it bests any other small case we’ve seen thus far. Due to the fiery Prescott core it is hard to properly cool these processors in a small case and keep quiet about it, this micro-BTX case with ducted fan heatsink certainly is up to the task.

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