The LZ7 is designed to take powerful hardware yet remain cool and quiet, so it felt right to test the case with the most powerful Graphics Card available right now, the Gigabyte GTX 1070 ITX.
The results were impressive, its an amazing little card that worked very well inside the LZ7 case, read on for more detail:
THE GIGABYTE GTX 1070 ITX
Here are some dimensions of the 2 cards, as you can see the 1070 is quite a bit taller than the 960:
The Gigabyte GTX 1070 does however feature a recessed power connector which takes some of the overall height off:
Fitting it into the case was straight forward, it just drops drops in as normal, the only issue being the card is too tall for this prototype version (v0.1). The next prototype will be tall enough to fit the 1070 (v0.2), an extra 7mm height will be sufficient, the case will be shortened by a few mm to keep the volume under 7 Litres.
The fan remains turned off up to a certain temperature, this temperature is determined by the 3 fan profiles you can select from.
When the fans do spin up they are practically silent at their lowest level which was in the region of 1000rpm. At 1500rpm the fans can be heard across a living room but only faintly. If the fans get to the region of 2000 rpm they do get quite loud (achieved in turbo fan mode), but in the (limited) testing carried out so far the fans topped out at around 1600rpm to keep temps in check when using silent fan mode.
Within the Gigabyte software you can select all sorts of adjustments including clock speeds, boost speeds, power limits, thermal targets, etc. As well as a good selection of fan control options, here are the 3 main fan profiles:
The standard fan profile keeps the fan off until the GPU reaches 60C, at which point the fan starts at around 40% which equates to a fan speed of around 1550rpm. This then ramps up in a linear line to 100% at around 80C.
There is also a turbo mode which has a higher starting % and a more aggressive fan curve up to 100% speed. This profile kept the card unnecessarily cool with noticeably more noise. But perhaps in cases with restricted airflow and ventilation this profile may be required.
Save the best for last! This profile is best suited for the LZ7, it is indeed silent under normal and light gaming usage and very quiet under stress load. The fan starts at a lower temp of 50C but with a power of around 30% for a fan speed of about 1100rpm which can’t really be heard. The fan power gently rises to about 40% at 83C (1550rpm) which is the thermal target temp, the fan profile then ramps up steeply after this point to 100% at 90C.
In the LZ7 the 1070 idles at around 39C with the GPU fan off. The slight positive pressure inside the LZ7 creates a small warm breeze out the vents around the GPU which likely assisting the GPU in keeping temps down with the GPU fan off.
The LZ7 has been designed to allow Graphics Cards to exhaust in 360 degrees catering for all the different cooler designs used in ITX GPUs. The Gigabyte GTX 1070 ITX exhausts through vents on its IO plate, but most of the warm air is exhausted through the rear of the card.
This warm air is blown straight out the front vents of the case:
This setup in combination with the 140mm case fan creating positive pressure means that very little GPU heat is circulated back into the case. When the 1070 is being stressed the air stream passing through these vents is noticeably warmer than what is exhausted from a GTX 960 as you would expect.
Unigine was run for around an hour to get a good idea of how well the card performs maxed out.
The fan profile was set to silent, pretty much as soon as you start the benchmark the card goes above 50C activating the fan. As mentioned above the silent fan profile remains under 40% until it gets to about 83C, it took around 15 – 20 minutes for the card to reach this temperature which was a pleasant surprise, in the end the fan settled at about 1600rpm to maintain this target temperature.
Clock speed wise Gigabyte state it has a boost speed of 1721 MHZ, but the Gigabyte monitoring software was reporting the card was sitting at more like 1800 MHZ. Throughout the Valley testing the card was bouncing between 1820 MHZ and 1780 MHZ, no throttling was witnessed.
The fan profile was then set to ‘standard’ to see what would happen, the fans span up noticeably louder but the temps shot down to under 70C.
The computer was hooked up to a 1080p display, it is understood that this isn’t exactly going to challenge the GTX 1070, however it was still a massive shock to discover the shear level of performance and efficiency this card offers.
Dying light isn’t the latest and greatest of graphical games, but it still offers impressive graphics which was a challenge for the GTX 960 to maintain 60fps.
The 1070 was set to its silent fan profile and all the game settings were turned up to maximum with max Anti Aliasing enabled at 1080p 60Hz resolution.
After about 10 minutes of gaming it was noted that card was only running between 50C and 55C so the fans were only spinning at their minimum rpm, it turns out that to run Dying Light at 1080p with maxed out settings the GTX 1070 is only clocking itself at 850 MHZ!!!
This card has so much power that it treats 1080p like a walk in the park, the LZ7 was running virtually silent.
The goal was to develop a small but quiet gaming case, with the help of this Gigabyte GTX 1070 ITX card it is looking very promising so far. More detailed testing will follow over the next few weeks including some more demanding games to get a better idea of its performance.
The vent configuration of the LZ7 compliments the exhaust design of the Gigabyte card, allowing the GTX 1070 to really let rip without having to worry about noise or thermal issues.
Stay tuned for more testing.