For testing full 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.

ATX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2700K
(95W TDP, tested at stock speed and overclocked to 4.3GHz @ 1.38V)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H
Graphics Card ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DCII TOP
(tested at stock speed and overclocked to 1GHz/overvolted to 1.13V)

2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 in SLI
(full fat testing only)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD

Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive

3x HGST DeskStar 3TB 7200-RPM HDD
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 1000W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested in a stock configuration and an overclocked configuration that generates substantially more heat (and thus may produce more noise). The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running seven threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU and OC Scanner (maximum load) on the GPU. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. This is done for the stock settings and for the overclock, and if the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

For the "full fat" testbed, the GTX 560 Ti is swapped out for a pair of GTX 580s, and three hard disks are added to fill out the case.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

Building in the NZXT H230 Noise and Thermal Testing
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  • ghitz - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Totally agree. 1/3rd of the space of common mITX cases is for the unnecessary large standard ATX PS. We need a new standard.
  • Barbarossa - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    You might be right, but standard ATX mid towers and full towers still account for more than 3/4 of all case sales. Mini ITX and Micro ATX are growing, but slowly. It's a bit of chicken and egg scenario, though.

    Why build Micro ATX system if all the cool cases are ATX or larger? And then once you've already got the case and nothing's wrong with it, when you decide to upgrade, why limit yourself to Micro ATX or smaller?

    Don't get me wrong - I think a lot of people are buying smaller PCs, and it's more and more each year, but the vast chunk of the DIY market is still buying standard or full tower cases.

    -George @ Corsair
  • ghitz - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Most of them end up being mostly empty.
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    I've looked a lot for good stats on that the ATX, mATX and mITX market numbers. Very interesting to know it's still highly skewed toward ATX. I would love to read an article on where the market is and where it appears to be going. I certainly put 100% of the blame for the current emphsis on ATX at the feet of consumers and not companies like Corsair.
  • Dentons - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Why not Fractal Design's R4?

    It's often discounted to the same price as this and was very well reviewed here. It's available from Amazon, Newegg, Microcenter and others. The Nanoxia is very difficult to recommend, not only because of its price, but because it's so hard to find a reseller stocking it.
  • meacupla - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    My thoughts exactly.

    H230 looks exactly like a Define R4, except done worse in every conceivable way...
    I would rather pay the extra $10~20 for an R4.
  • Touche - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    You really need to improve your noise floor. There are significant idle noise differences that aren't showing up in your tests.
  • kevith - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    For a brief walkthrough and a quick summary, AT´s case reviews are absolutely fine, often with a subtle humor, nice to read.

    For the in-depth review with an extra emphasis on noise, go to SPCR.
  • EnzoFX - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    This. It's surprising actually since the rest of Anandtech is so thorough. Stark contrast.
  • Barbarossa - Sunday, September 15, 2013 - link

    That's easier said than done though. It's not like you can just add some foam to your walls and drop the sound level. Especially if you're reviewing from an apartment or townhouse or something.

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