Today’s test system, while not cutting edge, is still pretty up-to-date and will certainly give us a good idea of how well this case works in terms of thermal and acoustic performance. An enthusiast who owns an Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition processor and GTX590 will certainly spend more for a higher grade chassis.
Processor: AMD Phenom X4 965 Black Edition @ 4.0 GHz.
Motherboard: ASUS M4A785TD- M Evo
Cooler: Antec Kuhler 920
Memory: 4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 1800MHz
Graphics Cards: AMD Radeon 6450 HD
Power Supply: Antec TruePower 650W
Boot Drive: OCZ Vertex II 60GB SSD (OS only)
OS: Windows 7 Home Edition 64bit
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2
Before testing the case, we will take a look at the chassis design and Airflow.
Of course, you can also mount two more 120mm fans on the side of the case giving you even better airflow into the case. We tested today with the default fan configuration, out of the box.
This cooling performance is decent for a single fan configuration but adding a few more fans would certainly improve the thermal efficiency. We therefore decided to run the tests again with an extra fan in the front of the case.
We used a Phanteks PH-F140TS which is a large 140mm fan which fitted nicely at the front increasing our airflow significantly without increasing the noise.
As we can see the graphics card and motherboard temperatures were both greatly improved with the addition of a 140mm fan at the front. This is also ideal for keeping the hard drives cool.
In summary, while the out of the box cooling of the BitFenix Merc Alpha can be improved, for the target audience it is adequate. There is plenty of potential in the chassis to create a very powerful cooling configuration as we still had five fan slots free.