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Product : Stacker STC-T01
Company : Cooler Master
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Editor : Robin 'roki' Kim
Date : June 18th, 2004

Fans & Cooling

The CM Stacker can be mounted with nine cooling fans in total. It comes standard with an ultra-silent 120mm rear exhaust as well as a matching 120mm front intake mounted in front of the 4-in-3 Drive Module. Also standard is a silent 80mm exhaust fan mounted behind the top panel. Both of the 120mm fans are rated for 16.4dBA @ 1200rpm while the top 80mm fan is rated for 23.8dBA @ 1800rpm.
Rear 120mm Exhaust
Rear 120mm Exhaust
Top 80mm Exhaust
Top 80mm Exhaust
Front 120mm Intake
Front 120mm Intake

You can also mount two 80mm fans in one of the two rear PSU compartments, another 80mm fan on the side panel, as well as two more 120mm or 80mm fans in the front stack (you need to buy additional drive modules however). Rounding out the cooling options is a specialized cooling unit designed for the Stacker called the Cross Flow fan which is mounted on the motherboard tray and draws in fresh air through holes in the right side panel.
Rear 80mm Fans
Rear 80mm Fans
Side 80mm Fan
Side 80mm Fan

In its stock configuration of one intake and two exhaust fans the Stacker performs remarkably well. Under idle conditions with an ambient room temperature of 21°C the inside case temperature was 23°C and the CPU temperature using a Thermaltake Volcano 11+ variable-speed heatsink/fan unit set to 2600rpm was a respectable 38°C. Under load, the system temperature rose slightly to 25°C and the CPU temperature rose to 46°C. These are admittedly very informal tests, but the Stacker performs much better than my previous enthusiast case which would run temperatures in the 30°C for system and 45°C for CPU under idle conditions.

Along with the active cooling provided by the fan options, the Stacker has also been designed to passively "breath". The case is not sealed up like many other cases, rather it has plenty of metal mesh used in various places so that air is free to circulate in an out of the case. That nicely done metal mesh is used to create the huge 300mm opening in the side panel. It's also used along nearly the entire bottom of the case and all the front faceplates are also covered with it. All the mesh openings, except the one on the bottom of the case, are also equipped with filters to keep dust out.
Front Mesh
Front Mesh
Bottom Mesh
Bottom Mesh
Side Mesh
Side Mesh

CrossFlow STF-B01-E1 Fan
The CrossFlow fan is a 330mm long "blower" type fan that mounts to the motherboard tray and draws in fresh air from the right side of the case and passes it over the motherboard and components in a wide curtain of air. It can be set to off, low (22dB @ 1400rpm), medium (30dB @ 1800rpm), or high (38dB @ 2500rpm) via a switch that mounts in an expansion slot at the back of the case. At the highest setting the fan makes a kind of low pitched whir that can get pretty annoying. At the medium setting the annoying whir goes away and turns into a kind of hum that sounds sort of like a normal fan. The lowest setting produces a sound that would only be noticeable on the quietest of machines but naturally moves a lot less air than the other higher settings.

CrossFlow Fan Kit
CrossFlow Fan Kit
CrossFlow Fan
CrossFlow Fan
CrossFlow Speed Switch
CrossFlow Speed Switch

I did some informal tests with the CrossFlow fan to see how well it helps cooling. Along with idle cooling performance I also tested performance during heavy system load by looping 3DMark03 5 times at 1600x1200 and 4x Anti-Aliasing/16x Anisotropy. I used Motherboard Monitor to log the min and max CPU and Case temperature during all the tests. Ambient room temperature was approximately 20°C.

I first wanted to see how well the CrossFlow fan performed on it's own, so I disconnected all the extra case fans and disabled the automatic speed control of my PSU fan. I then connected the fans as the Stacker comes from the factory (1x120mm exhaust, 1x120mm intake, 1x80mm exhaust) and redid the tests again. The results are below:

Idle Load with Fans
CrossFlow Performance
Idle - CrossFlow Only
 CPU 
 48
 45
 44
 41
 Case 
 34
 31
 30
 27
 
0 30 60
Max Temperature (C)
Off
Low
Mid
High

The CrossFlow by itself does a respectable job of getting cool air where it's needed, but with the Stacker in stock configuration we see the CrossFlow doesn't help much. While it would add considerably to the gee-whiz factor of your Stacker, the CrossFlow doesn't really help cooling performance enough to justify the ~$40 price tag.



System Specifications

MotherboardABIT NF7-S 2.0
ProcessorAMD Athlon XP 2700+ (2.2GHz)
CPU CoolingThermalTake Volcano 11+
Memory2x512 Samsung PC3200
VideocardABIT Radeon 9800XT
Hard Drive 1120GB Seagate 7200RPM SATA
Hard Drive 280GB Seagate 7200RPM ATA100
Optical 152x/32x/52x LiteON CDRW
Optical 216x Pioneer DVDROM
Power Supply430w Antec TruePower

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