Upgrading Our Test Benches with OCZ and Noctua
Peter Donnell / 10 months ago
Here at eTeknix we always strive to bring our readers the best and most accurate test results we possibly can. That means we need test bench hardware that we know can deliver consistent and reliable performance. Of course, we like to keep our test bench hardware the same for as long as possible. The same equipment allows us to continue to build a robust set of results over an extended period of time. This means we can have a broader comparison of any hardware we test.
Of course, we can only keep things the same for so long before the hardware is no longer relevant. It makes sense that we would want to test using the best equipment we can. However, we also want to represent the kind of hardware a consumer would typically use too.
Water Cooling isn’t for Everyone
For a few years now, we’ve been using AIO water coolers on all of our test benches. They’re great for high-performance cooling, and even more so for overclocking tests. However, water coolers are not without their drawbacks. They’re typically a lot louder to operate than air coolers, and the constant high-powered fan and pump noise was driving us crazy. Having multiple 360mm radiators pumping away in the office is quite something and not an ideal working environment. AIO coolers are typically not designed for multiple installations either. This led to extensive wear on the pump housing, the mounting kits, hoses, and even the radiators were taking a lot more dents that we were happy with.
As a long-time convert from AIO’s to Noctua air coolers, I felt it was the right thing to do to switch to air cooling. After speaking with the eTeknix team and running a few trial tests on various test benches, they were more than sold on the idea. The Noctua NH-D15S may be an air cooler, but it’s by far the best in the business. Not only could it match the performance of most high-end air coolers, but it could also beat them too. Air coolers deliver consistent cooling over time, while AIO coolers tend to lose performance after hours of testing as the liquid temperature increases. This increase in temperature can have an adverse effect on test bench results and was something we wanted to address.
The other big benefits of the NH-D15S are immediately apparent. The cooler is much better designed to allow quick and easy removal and mounting on the test benches. Of course, not requiring the radiator above the motherboard improved airflow to other components. Finally, it also means we can get easier access to our test bench hardware; installing memory and GPUs is a lot easier now.
“Tailored to provide superior RAM and PCIe compatibility, the NH-D15S is an asymmetrical single fan version of Noctua’s award-winning flagship model, the NH-D15. Thanks to its asymmetrical design, the NH-D15S clears the top PCIe slot on most µATX and ATX motherboards. At the same time, the single fan setup and recessed lower fins guarantee 100% RAM compatibility with memory modules of up to 65mm height.” – Noctua
Most important of all, the coolers are extremely quiet, which allows us to better test the acoustic performance of other hardware such as the graphics card, without interference. It also means we don’t have to listen to noisy fans all day, which is nice.
Find our more about the Noctua NH-D15S performance in our cooler review.
We’ve used many different storage drives over the years. What’s important to us is finding that perfect balance between performance and reliability. Price is also a factor too, as we use a lot of test benches
and a lot of storage drives. Having drives that can be easily configured for use as a single drive, or in complex RAID configurations is also an important aspect.
OCZ VX500 512GB
The VX500 drives are what we now use on all of our test benches here at eTeknix. This includes our chassis build components, cooling, graphics card, memory test benches, and more. Obviously, being SSD drives they deliver fast performance and excellent compatibility as they use SATA III connectivity; one of the main reasons we don’t use M.2, as we can’t guarantee motherboard support on all benches.
The Toshiba VX500 SATA SSDs are designed for mainstream desktops and notebooks where they will provide a faster, more responsive computing, gaming, and application experience compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). There are four different capacity choices for the OCZ VX500 which are 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
Find out more about the OCZ VX500 performance in our latest storage feature.