For the tests I setup a system as a typical computer enthusiast would with a relatively fast CPU, good quality memory, dual hard-drives, optical drives, a good quality case, a decent videocard, and a good quality PSU.
- CPU: Intel Pentium4 550, 3.4GHz Socket 775
- Motherboard: ABIT AA8 DuraMAX, Intel i925X chipset
- Memory: 1GB (2x512MB) OCZ DDR2 PC2-4200 Platinum, provided by the guys at Magnum-PC.com
- Video: ATI Radeon X700 Pro & Sapphire Radeon X300SE, Catalyst 5.1 drivers
- PSU: Antec NeoPower 480W
- HDD1: 120GB Seagate Barracuda V SATA, 7200RPM
- HDD2: 120GB Seagate Barracuda V SATA, 7200RPM
- CD1: LiteOn 52327S CD-RW
- CD2: NEC ND-3500A DVD-RW
- Case: CoolerMaster Stacker STC-T01
The Stacker case isn't a very typical case, so to give a more realistic representation of a more common case I disabled most of the fans that come with it, save the 120mm rear fan.
For the acoustic performance test I disconnected all fans from the case. I also disconnected the north-bridge cooling fan and installed a fan-less Radeon X300SE. Besides the CPU cooling fan, the only other fan still spinning was the single 120mm low-speed fan in the Antec NeoPower PSU.
To give a better representation of a typical gamers case for the cooling performance test, I setup the case with the rear 120mm fan installed and replaced the Radeon X300SE with a Radeon X700 Pro. I also reconnected the northbridge fan.