Streacom FC9 HTPC Case Review
Performance and Testing
In order to examine the thermal characteristics of the FC9 we've designed a set of tests that will best demonstrate it's capabilities. In addition, and to act as a basis for comparison we've paired the same set up with the small Scythe Katana4 CPU cooler and placed the set up in our usual Storm Trooper test rig. As with all our tests we use OCCT to measure with a 30 minute test period between a 5 minute run in and a 10 minute cool down. Max temps are recorded along with the ambient temperature enabling us to determine the Delta temperature. As always anything exceeding a max temp of 80 degrees will stop the test and register as a fail.
Test 1: A measure of the temps with the system at idle. a few browser windows open but nothing really going on that will stress the system.
Test 2: Playback of a full screen HD Video using the On board graphics of the A8-5600. This is the sort of task the FC9 should expect as its bread and butter and as such it should be expected to be able to cope with the heat created.
Test 3: OCCT stress test. No overclock, just a straight stress test with everything at stock. A bit unfair on the FC9 perhaps as it's not really intended to be able to cope with the sort of temps that stress testing develops, but hey, we're OC3D, so we're going to do it anyways!
Test 1 As we might expect with the system essentially just free wheeling along there's very little difference in temperatures between the FC9 and the Katana4. Certainly the FC9s delta of 32.5 is quite acceptable.
Test 2 A bit more activity means a bit more heat, and with the AMD chip doing all the video processing it's caused things to hot up a little. The Katana4 as we would expect keeps things cool with the Delta only rising 2.5 degrees over the idle temp. The FC9 fares less well as is to be expected for a passive heat sink, but still makes a good fist of things with it's delta rising from 32.5 to 46.3, a rise of some 14 degrees, but again well within limits and more than acceptable.
Test 3 With OCCT in full swing the Katana was only just able to keep things under control with a Delta of 52.2 The max temp though crept dangerously close to the 80 degree fail point. We know we're being unfair in subjecting the FC9 to this test and didn't expect it to pass. We are OC3D though so stress test we must. As we expected the temps maxed out within seconds of the test commencing.
In addition to the above tests we thought it would also be useful to look at the way heat is dissipated from the CPU towards the case by measuring and comparing various temperature points along the way. A hand held IR Thermometer was used to record an average of 3 readings taken from several locations on the heat sink and surrounding case areas. The readings were taken at both idle and while undertaking HD video playback. As the roof of the case was removed to record these readings we're not so much interested in their absolute values, more their variances and distribution which will enable us to see how the heat is conducted.
The above graph shows us that in both sets of conditions heat is being uniformly dissipated away from the contact plate along the heat pipes towards the side panel contact plates. The fact that the side panel temps, both interior and exterior are within a degree or two of the heat pipe temps indicates that there is good overall thermal transfer between the two media. The high reading in the area of the Large side panel contact plate indicates that heat is building up here. We re applied the TIM in this area and repeated the tests however the results were much the same.