Testing Methodology

For testing ATX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise.

Full ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-875K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 3.8GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard ASUS P7P55D-E Pro
Graphics Card Zotac NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (244W TDP)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS9900 MAX with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Gold 750W 80 Plus Gold

A refresher on how we test:

Acoustic testing is standardized on a foot from the front of the case, using the Extech SL10 with an ambient noise floor of ~32dB. For reference, that's what my silent apartment measures with nothing running, testing acoustics in the dead of night (usually between 1am and 3am). A lot of us sit about a foot away from our computers, so this should be a fairly accurate representation of the kind of noise the case generates, and it's close enough to get noise levels that should register above ambient.

Thermal testing is run with the computer having idled at the desktop for fifteen minutes, and again with the computer running both Furmark (where applicable) and Prime95 (less one thread when a GPU is being used) for fifteen minutes. I've found that leaving one thread open in Prime95 allows the processor to heat up enough while making sure Furmark isn't CPU-limited. We're using the thermal diodes included with the hardware to keep everything standardized, and ambient testing temperature is always between 71F and 74F. Processor temperatures reported are the average of the CPU cores.

For more details on how we arrived at this testbed, you can check out our introductory passage in the review for the IN-WIN BUC.

Last but not least, we'd also like to thank the vendors who made our testbed possible:

Thank You!

We have some thanks in order before we press on:

  • Thank you to Crucial for providing us with the Ballistix Smart Tracer memory we used to add memory thermals to our testing.
  • Thank you to Zalman for providing us with the CNPS9900 MAX heatsink and fan unit we used.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to CyberPower for providing us with the Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive, Intel Core i7-875K processor, ASUS P7P55D-E Pro motherboard, and Samsung BD-ROM/DVD+/-RW drive.
  • And thank you to SilverStone for providing us with the power supply.
Assembling the BitFenix Outlaw Noise and Thermal Testing, Stock
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  • Sgt. Stinger - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    BitFenix is definitley an interesting company. They seem to be a very small operation, and thats probably why they get to these amazing price points.

    BTW, what happened to this review earlier today? Saw it at work, but when i tried to continue to the next page, the review was down... Puzzled me a bit :)
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Someone changed the post time to later in the day, probably to give another article time at the top.
  • Andrew Rockefeller - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    I'm a fan of the left-handed mount arrangement. TBH, I've thought that everyone has been doing it wrong all these years. The next step is to abandon multiple 5.25" bays in mid-towers.
  • know of fence - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    Current case designs may very well be outdated in a year or two.
    Abandon the ugly, stupid drive bays (in favor of external drives), ditch ALL front interfaces and move USB, audio and the power switch to the top of the desk (like a docking bay). It's a no-brainer.
  • Andrew Rockefeller - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    For my own needs, I couldn't agree more. I do however accept that would make it just a little too niche right now. 2 years, absolutely.

    Strangely, I actually sketched up an external front panel remote a few years back. Glad to hear that there are others out there thinking along the same lines.

    ...which makes me think. What if someone designed a case with an external slimline optical enclosure which included the standard front panel functions?? We might finally get rid of gaudy plastic fascias altogether. The external enclosure could even be a standalone product connecting back to a PCI bracket.
  • StevePeters - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Am I seeing the photos correctly - it looks like there is no space at all between the tray and side cover (and none is needed)? I am starting to think that the guys at BitFenix must actually use they cases themselves - they sure look like they know what works!
  • JonnyDough - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    "BitFenix has opted for a negative pressure design instead of a positive pressure one, with the exhaust fan pulling air out of the back of the case instead of placing a fan in the front and letting the fan in the heatsink do the rest of the work."

    Preferable. Reason? Noise.
  • jwcalla - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Do people still buy cases this big?
  • colmiak - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    this is kind of an unimportant detail but i'll ask anyway.. ;p

    is the logo seen on the bottom of the case on microcenter's site removable?

    i dont see it on your review case and it looks much nicer like that!

  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    It's not removable; it's not affixed to begin with. ;)

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