Case Cooling and Noise
Rear 120mm Fan Front 92mm Fans
The Z-Machine GT1000 enclosure comes with two 92mm fans installed behind the front panel and one 120mm fan mounted on the back panel. All three fans incorporate LEDs, which provides very good lighting effects throughout and gives the case a very cool look. Note: Blue LED fans are used with the Titanium finish enclosures while red LED fans are used with the black ones.
(Courtesy of Zalman)
Airflow thru the Z-Machine proved to be very good in spite of the fact that the internal HDD cage appears to partially block the two front intake fans. Like most ATX style cases, air flows in thru the lower front openings and out the back thru the rear 120mm fan and power supply.
The Zalman labeled 92mm fan (ZF9225CSH) is rated for up to 53 CFM and 36.1 dB at 2,800 rpm when operating at 12V or up to 31.1 CFM and 20 dB at 1,600 rpm when operating at 5V.
The larger Zalman 120mm fan (PS122512M) is rated for up to 70.1 CFM and 34.3 dB at 1,800 rpm when operating at 12V or up to 38.6 CFM and 20 dB at 900 rpm when operating at 5V.
I installed a relatively hot system in the Z-Machine GT1000 enclosure that uses an Intel Extreme Edition 955 dual core CPU and two nVidia 7800 GTX video cards in SLI. I’m using a Zalman CNPS7700-Cu LED cooler on the CPU and the stock nVidia coolers on the video cards.
Tests were conducted with the three case fans operating at 12V and 5V using Zalman’s ZM-MC1 fan power multi-connector and compared to the operating temperatures obtained in an open air environment (open test bed). The CPU was loaded by running multiple instances of CPUBurn and 3DMark06 to load the GPUs. The CPU cooler was run at full speed (2,200 rpm) when the three case fans were running at high speed (12V) and the CPU cooler was slowed down to 1,800 rpm when the case fans were operating at 5V. Sound level measurements were taken 3″ away in an otherwise quiet room (ambient noise background ~29 dBA) and the ambient room air temperature was held constant at 23 degrees C +/-0.5 degrees C.
It should be no surprise that the case cooling abilities of the Z-Machine proved to be almost identical to the Fatal1ty enclosure. The fans are the same and the layout is the same, which results in very good airflow and excellent case cooling. Installing the same test system into the Z-Machine enclosure raised the average temperatures about 2 degrees C higher than the open test bed with the three Zalman case fans running at high speed (12V). The overall noise level was far from quiet though, measuring 46.3 dBA at 3″. Slowing the fans down by connecting them to the 5V multi-connector headers dropped the noise level significantly to a whisper-quiet 36.5 dBA. This is very acceptable to my ears and only raised the average temperatures 5 degrees to 10 degrees C. Each user will have to choose the right balance between performance and noise that works best for their hardware and environment. Note: the #1 video card runs hotter than the #2 card because the #1 heatsink fan pulls in warm air off the backside of the #2 card.
One simple combination that worked well for me was to run the two front fans at 5V and the rear 120mm fan at 12V. Or better yet, use Zalman’s ZM-MFC2 multi fan controller to adjust the speed of all your fans for even greater flexibility!