Testing & Results
Since I still had the ML05 sitting around, I couldn’t help but do a quick comparison. Clearly the newest iteration should be the best performer (if only due to the included 120mm intake fan), but I was also curious if the new layout helped at all. A quick 3DMark run and some gaming were in order – how does the same system in two different cases perform?
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI
System Memory: 2133 MHz 2x4GB GSkill Ares
Processor: AMD A10-7800
Video: Integrated Radeon R7
Disk Drive 1: Intel 335 240GB SSD
Enclosure: ML06-E vs ML05
PSU: SilverStone SFX 300W
Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit
I tested the two chassis in the same night to try and keep ambient temps as similar as possible (they were hovering around 20C). During the 3DMark run, the integrated GPU registered at 37C, and some extended gaming arrived at temps of 34C. Not bad at all – especially on a stock AMD cooler. I could hear the stock CPU fan spin up during some portions of the 3DMark run and while gaming, but the slim 120mm fan seemed to cancel out any of the harsher frequencies. From about four feet away I could still hear fans distinctly running, but it wasn’t harsh or annoying.
The older ML05 surprisingly managed similar temps running the same tests (I thought for sure the ML06-E would blow right past the fan-less ML05 in temperatures), although the stock cooler had to work (noticeably) harder – and therefore louder – to keep everything cool. In fact, while the registered temps are almost identical for the integrated GPU sensor, the two chassis felt very different. There were noticeable hotspots in the ML05 by the PSU and by the CPU socket on the “bottom” panel right beside the CPU (both chassis were tested in a vertical orientation), while the ML06-E felt about the same temperature throughout the external area. Cabling was a little trickier in the ML05 as well, which may have contributed to some of the hotspots.
Each chassis would likely perform even better with 80mm fans set up to exhaust the heated air, but the ML06 was better equipped in stock form to keep the heat manageable. Overall, it seemed the ML06-E was a better choice for HTPC and light gaming duties, especially for the warmer AMD APUs (it was close with the AMD processors, it would likely be a non-issue with a cooler Intel CPU). Although either case would make an excellent Steam box or streaming/set-top/HTPC enclosure, the ML06-E really did prove to be an evolution of the design. It’s better aesthetically, thermally and functionally – well done, I’d say.