Today we are using a Core i5 655K processor which is clocked at 3.2ghz and is a dual core design with Hyperthreading support. We are using the Thermaltake Slim X3 low Profile cooler with Noctua NT H1 high quality thermal paste. This forms the foundation of a powerful, yet realistic media center.
Processor: Intel 655K Core i5 CPU (review)
Thermal Paste: Noctua NT H1
Power Supply: Corsair AX850 (review)
Memory: 8GB of Hyper X DDR31600mhz by Kingston (review)
Graphics: Sapphire HD5670 Ultimate Edition (single / Crossfire reviews)
Hard Drives: 2.5 inch 200GB and 320GB Fuji
Motherboard: Zotac H55 Mini ITX Wifi
Room ambient temperatures were kept at a steady 25c via air conditioning in our test labs. Idle readings are measured after 30 minutes of testing in the desktop after a fresh boot. We achieved our load results by looping Cinebench R11.5 with Furmark for 20 minutes then taking the highest result throughout this time period.
These are a good set of results for the confined space and the 140mm front intake fan with vents ensures that the components receive adequate cooling.
While we wouldn't recommend people run overclocked systems in a small ITX case such as this we decided to crank the CPU speeds to around 3.6ghz without increasing core voltage.
Processor temperatures only rose by 4-5c under load which is a very good result indeed. Air ambient temperatures increased by a single degree when under load also. It would be possible to raise the overclock higher, but we see no need for a media center system like this – we are already sitting at a solid level of performance with very impressive temperatures.
Recently we have changed our method of measuring noise levels. Ambient noise in the room is kept as low as possible. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.
The room rates as 20-21dBa – the air conditioning unit in the far corner of the room causes this.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA – Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA – Normal Conversation
60dBA – Laughter
70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA – City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA – Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA – MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA – Orchestra
120dBA – Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA – Threshold of Pain
140dBA – Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA – Instant Perforation of eardrum
As the system is only using a single 140mm intake fan which spins quite slowly we didn't notice any noise under real world conditions. The Thermaltake cooler is quiet, especially as it is contained behind the chassis wall with no venting system next to it. The case delivers a reasonable level of sound isolation from internal components. Obviously if you use a graphics card with a fan, then this figure will be much higher, but it is a fantastic benchmark figure to build a system around.