On to noise levels, and this was interesting. At idle, when I had the system configured as it was for the thermal testing seen above (CPU cooler set to 100%, other fans at “performance” preset), idle noise was a very noticeable 36.2 dBA (measured with the meter 12 inches from the front of the case). On the other hand, total system noise only rose slightly above this under a gaming load, hitting 36.7 dBA on the meter.
When I set the CPU fan to the same “performance” profile as the other fans, idle noise was barely audible, registering at just 30.7 dBA – again with my meter positioned 12 inches from the front of the case. Under a sustained load this system will again rise to the mid 30s, but what about with the case fans at 100% – something I never saw with my testing?
If you really want to push air through the 500 FX, setting the case fans to 100% results in a rather low 38.4 dBA noise level, which is not only a lot less than I was expecting, but probably a higher number than you will ever hear given the very close proximity of my meter to the front of this high airflow case (unless you are pointing your ear at the case from 12 inches away).
Given this manageable noise output, even with the case fans up all the way, I probably should have tested thermals with all fans at 100%…