I've recently bought an Antec Three Hundred chassis to upgrade my nearly a decade old INTER-TECH 2011. I decided to do a small test and see if a modern case actually makes a noticeable difference in cooling. Everyone buys “gaming cases” these days and even install additional fans to boot, but will it actually make a difference for a humble system like mine? For example, I added a rear exhaust fan to my PC, but it didn't result in any noticeable temperature decrease. But of course, my old case doesn't even have intake fans, so perhaps it doesn't create good airflow.
The tests are simple. I run Prime95 with 4 threads for 15 minutes and check the max temp in HW Monitor. Then I run Prime95 + FurMark (for 100% GPU load in addition to CPU) to generate more heat, and check the max temp again. Then I move everything to the new case, and re-test.
My PC is a Phenom II X4 @ 3.6 GHz, CM Hyper 212+ cooler, 4 gigs DDR2 RAM, Radeon 3870, 2 x HDDs.
# Inter-Tech 2011 – PSU on the top, one 92 mm rear fan:
15 min Prime95: CPU 53 CÂ°, GPU 32 CÂ°
15 min Prime95 + FurMark: CPU 57 CÂ°, GPU 66 CÂ°
# Antec Three Hundred – PSU on the bottom, one 140 mm top and 120 mm rear fans (included, set on Low), one 120 mm front fan (cheap “Nexus 120mm Real Silent” that I added myself):
15 min Prime95: CPU 48 CÂ°, GPU 25 CÂ°
15 min Prime95 + FurMark: CPU 50 CÂ°, GPU 51 CÂ°
In the second case, the CPU fan didn't even reach max RPM (I use Asus Q-Fan to reduce noise during low CPU load). My HDD temperatures also dropped by an impressive 10 degrees – not that they were ever a problem even in the previous enclosure. All I can say is…
Conclusion: even buying one of the cheap gaming cases like Antec 300 can actually make a noticeable difference in your system temperatures. I expect it's a lot more important when you have hot setups like multiple graphics cards and such.
Next I plan to upgrade my graphics card to either Radeon 6850 or Nvidia 560. Yes, my 3870 is quite outdated, but it's more than enough for Counter Strike: Source and Bloodline Champions which I currently play. The only reason I'm upgrading is that I want to play some upcoming games (ME3, Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2) with sexy graphics.