Temperature and noise levels with the system running at stock speeds.
For these tests the system was set at the default CPU frequency of 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost 2 enabled. RAM was set at its rated speed of 1600MHz with RAM rated timings of 18.104.22.168, and also the BLCK frequency was locked at 100MHz.
During the tests the system was allowed to idle at the Windows 7 desktop for a duration of 20 minutes, and the peak temperatures measured were used for the results. Ambient room temperature was measured at 19c.
Thereafter the system was loaded by running the AIDA64 system stability test, which loads the CPU, RAM, and HDD. This test was run for a duration of 20 minutes, and the measured ambient room temperature was measured at 19.5c. Finally Far Cry 2 demo was run to load the GPU, and the maximum measured temperature was used in the results. This test was run for 20 minutes.
As we can see from the results, the Antec 900 is slightly ahead of the P280 when it comes to cooling the CPU. However, the difference in most cases is around 1c. It is also interesting to note that the difference between the high fan speed settings and low fan speed settings is minimal.
At the high fan speeds setting the Antec 900 again offers slightly better cooling, but once again any difference is marginal.
The Antec 900 has a side mounted fan which blows cool air directly onto the graphics card, so it's no surprise that the 900 outperforms the P280. However, the P280 still does an excellent job of keeping the GPU running at a reasonable temperature.
The excellent cable management and uncluttered build in the P280 works wonders for airflow, and although the HDD is not actively cooled on the P280, the airflow is still excellent which allows the P280 to keep the HDD running cool and to pull ahead of the 900 in some instances.
Noise is my pet hate, so there is nothing more annoying than the noise created by fans, and the high pitch hum of an 7200RPM HDD spinning. Perhaps it is only me that finds this type of noise irritating, but as far as I'm concerned, reduce this type of noise to a minimum, and I'm a happy camper.
For these tests, a Tecpel DSL-330 sound level meter was mounted on a bracket 5cm from the top front of both our test enclosures, and sound level measurements were taken during the temperature tests above.
I had always considered that the Antec 900 was fairly quiet at its low fan speed setting, as it was capable of reasonable cooling with a tolerable level of noise. The Antec Performance One P280 takes this to a completely different level. With the P280 at its low fan speed setting, you have good cooling, and a very quiet case when the system is at idle. The HDD is near silent, with the CPU fans and indeed the case fans very quiet. When the system is loaded, the CPU fan will of course run faster, but the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is very quiet, and the fan never reaches a high enough speed to become a nuisance. In fact most of the noise comes from the GPU fan when the graphics card is loaded, but then the noise is not at a level that would become annoying.
On the high fan speed setting, the noise is still kept in check, but the noise on that setting is more noticeable, and in reality doesn't really make a huge difference in cooling performance.
The Antec 900 is a different matter. The 900 is a gaming case, and offers no acoustic damping, in fact most of the noise generated from the HDD, and the CPU and GPU fans ends up in the room, so it simply can't compete with the P280 at keeping noise levels low.
With good cooling performance, and superb acoustic damping, the P280 is an excellent performer. There is no need to use the high speed fan setting as this obviously creates more noise. With the low fan speed setting, cooling is still very good, and the system runs very quietly.
Now let's head to the next page, where I look at temperatures and noise levels with the system over-clocked to 4.4GHz....