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Our testing methods
We tested the Obsidian Series 450D against its big brother, the 750D. Here are the components we used:

Processor Intel Core i7-2600K
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V LE Plus
Memory 4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Graphics card XFX Radeon HD 7870 Black Edition
Sound card Asus Xonar DG
Storage Samsung 830 Series 128GB
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
Asus Blu-ray combo
Power supply Corsair HX750W 750W
CPU cooler Thermaltake Frio
OS Windows 8 Pro

We'd like to thanks Asus, Corsair, Kingston, Intel, Samsung, Thermaltake, and XFX for supplying all this excellent hardware.

We tested using the following applications:

The tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to discuss them with us.

Temperatures and noise levels
We used AIDA64 to keep track of temperatures for individual system components (the processor, GPU, motherboard, and storage drives) throughout a 40-minute period.

First, we left the system idle at the Windows 8 desktop for 10 minutes. Then, we fired up the Heaven GPU benchmark and left it running by itself for 10 minutes. After that, we added a Prime95 CPU torture test to the mix and left it running, together with the Heaven benchmark, for 10 minutes. Finally, we stopped both tests and let the system cool down for the final 10-minute stretch.

You may notice that the results for the 750D differ from those in our original review. That review was conducted last summer in Cyril's lab, but the testing for this one was done in a cooler, quieter environment.

Here are the results, plotted as lines over time. You can click the buttons below the graph to see temperatures for the different components:

Our test rig's CPU, graphics, motherboard, and mechanical hard drive all run slightly cooler in the 450D than in its larger sibling. The only exception is the SSD, which gets a bit warmer in the 450D. That's likely because the drive is tucked behind the motherboard tray. The 750D's SSD bays sit right by the intake fans, and so they're exposed to a lot more airflow.

Although it might seem counter-intuitive for the other components to report cooler temperatures in the smaller 450D, remember the case's heavily ventilated front panel. The 750D has the same dual 140-mm intake fans, but they're hidden behind a solid front face, and they draw air through narrow gaps in the bezel.

The plots above depict broad trends; we can also give you exact numbers. The bar chart below shows the minimum temperatures from the idle and cooldown parts of the run. It also shows the highest temperatures recorded during the two load tests.

The differences amount to only a few degrees, so I wouldn't get too worked up about them.

We measured noise levels using a TES-52 digital sound level meter placed 6" from the front, side, and top of the case. Click the buttons below the graph to switch between the locations.

From the front, the 450D is noticeably louder than its big brother. It's not exactly loud—the case generates a low, unobtrusive hum—but the fan noise is more apparent than with the 750D. The differences are smaller from the side and especially from above, where the two cases sound nearly identical.

I am curious to see how the 450D would fare with a solid front panel of its own. That might make it a little quieter.