We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and this is why we have built a special home brew system as a reference point when we test noise levels of various components. Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
Today to test the Thermaltake chassis we have taken it into our acoustics room environment and have set our Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2 one meter away from the case. We have turned off the Noctua 120mm fan we installed as we want to measure noise from the chassis, just as people will buy it ‘out of the box’. The room rates as 21dBa before powering on the system (air conditioning unit in the far corner of the room causes this).
As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.
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
Thermaltake rate their fans at various dB levels and we find them quite surprising to be honest. For instance, the 120mm fans are rated at 16dba which seems a somewhat unrealistic figure to us. There are very few fans on the market which are able to rate lower than a ‘whisper’. We immediately know after using the case for a while that this is not accurate. Not unless they recorded noise from a rather greater distance that we would assume most people will be using the case under normal circumstances. The 200mm fan is rated at 15dBA and spins at 800rpm – well so they say.
The 980x processor is set to reference speeds and voltage settings, the Frio fans are set to the lowest possible setting on the adjustment knob. The motherboard northbridge cooler is disabled for this test as many people will be using passive motherboard cooling and we don’t want to pollute the results. We have removed the GTX 480 and replaced it with a Sapphire HD5670 Ultimate edition.
The only fans now running are the Thermaltake Frio CPU fans and the three A60 case fans.
Our dB meter recorded an overall noise of 32dBa which is a very good rating indeed. The fans are clearly high quality units which generate a minimum of noise under normal conditions.