Conclusion: More Reliable Comparisons

The ultimate goal of the revised testing hardware and methods is to prune the excess data that wasn't particularly useful before while substantially improving the reliability of the results produced during the testing process. Our Sandy Bridge testing platform may not be state of the art for too much longer, and NVIDIA is no doubt cooking up a suitable replacement for the GeForce GTX 560 Ti—outside of pricing, we could even argue that GTX 680 is that replacement—but these components should remain representative of the kinds of thermal and acoustic loads end users will be building their desktops off of for some time to come.

As always, we welcome any comments or suggestions on what you'd like to see from our case reviews. Keep in mind that our general goal is to review the cases as they ship from the manufacturer, so replacing all of the case fans with, for example, $20 Sanyo Denki fans isn't our intention—particularly when you're reviewing sub-$100 cases, adding $60 or more in fans is a bit extreme. If a manufacturer wants to market a case as being quiet or silent, then the onus is on them to provide acceptable fans for that goal.

In the meantime, I'm personally looking forward to accumulating fresh data sets using these new methods. With a year of testing from the previous platform, we have a better understanding of some of the weaknesses of our previous testbeds. While our earlier results are still useful in a broad sense, future case reviews (starting with the Corsair Obsidian 550D) should allow for better comparisons in a finer, more granular sense.

Testing Methodology, Revised
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  • Coup27 - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    clicking "testing hardware (mini-itx) revised" takes you to the home page.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    It works for me. Can you refresh, clear cache, and/or try a different browser? If you're still having problems, please post details.
  • Coup27 - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    It happened earlier and seconds after the article disappeared and was scrubbed from the home page as well. It's back now so not really sure what was going on. Links are working now tho.
  • holotech - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    does the same for me.
    firefox, updated fully.
  • holotech - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    i lied, sorry, its working fine now.
  • Coup27 - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    I have a feeling the article was pulled and then reposted?
  • Impulses - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Some cases really merit an extra testing round with an alternate fan configuration from what they ship with... Most enthusiasts often end up adding a fan or repositioning some, it'd add a lot of value to the reviews to allow for that.

    I know a lot of people are still gonna complain you didn't test the exact configuration they'd use or whatever, and you can't realistically test more than one alternative... But I still think it's worth thinking about, doesn't even have to happen for every review, just the ones that really merit it (particularly value cases that skimp on fans or highly customizable cases).

    I understand why doing this is a logistics nightmare but as long as everyone understand any extra testing is at the reviewer's discretion, I think it'd be a great addition. I know testing them only as they ship is fairer and more representative of the case's value, BUT I think a lot of enthusiasts view cases as an investment that lasts thru multiple builds, so value is really skewed by what you can ultimately do with it after $20-40 and several years later.
  • casteve - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Congrats on the new test setup and the quieter living arrangements. If this trend continues, I expect you be living in an underground climate controlled man cave in a few years. :)
  • VampyrByte - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    I totally agree with using temperature deltas rather than absolute values. However, atleast in the 550D article posted alongside this one, I found it hard at first to source the value for the ambient temperature. This information should really be in the title of the graph somewhere.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    The ambient temperature will likely be slightly different for each case tested, so as the graphs get filled in with more data points we can't simply list one ambient.

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