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Building system piece-by-piece: Case/power supply first.

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February 2, 2007 2:02:01 PM

I am attempting to build a light gaming/media system by buying certain parts each week. I would like my total system price to be around $1000. This week I am looking for a case and power supply. For the case, I prefer something black/silver and somewhat minimalistic in appearance. I am looking to spend between $50 and $150 total. I like using Newegg, but if there are any better deals out there, please let me know. Thank you for any suggestions!!

More about : building system piece piece case power supply

February 2, 2007 3:13:09 PM

Well for a cheap case that is relatively quiet and has decent quality I have used this COOLER MASTER Centurion RC-531-KKN1 it is only $40 shipped, and leaves you with plenty to get a decent power supply.

Why not be a cooler master fan boy and get the igreen 500w it is over 80% efficient over the entire range and less than $110 shipped so both are within budget including shipping 8)
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February 2, 2007 4:48:22 PM

Weird place to start. I mean if your on a budget a case is a place in which to save a bit of money. The power supply is another thing you leave till the end cause they depend on what you're putting in it.
February 2, 2007 5:06:22 PM

Quote:
For the case, I prefer something black/silver and somewhat minimalistic in appearance.

Don't know if this would interest you, but Fry's at the moment has an Antec P180 Silver Mid Tower for $120 shipped - $40 rebate ~= $80 net. (Free shipping always seems a good place to start when looking for a deal on a case :wink:) 

At times in the past www.Newegg.com has also had a good price on the Antec cases. But not at the moment. Currently newegg sells the Antec P180 Silver cold steel ATX Mid Tower for ~$130 + $16 shipping ~= $146 net. So if you like the case, perhaps the offer from Fry's would be also work for you.

-john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
February 2, 2007 5:43:31 PM

Another thing to consider would be noise. If you get a cheap case, it might be pretty noisy (which I don't like personally).

The P180 is supposed to be really quiet, but as I haven't built my next computer yet I can't tell you, but I'm sure others can. It'll be my next case. I've seen it for $100 on sale at some stores. But that $80 deal wins... heh

If noise doesn't bother you, just got for looks and airflow.
If it does, http://www.silentpcreview.com/section9.html has some reviews, etc.
February 2, 2007 6:09:11 PM

I'm starting with the case and power supply so that by the time I get to the heavy duty stuff (CPU, Graphics Card), they will have hopfully dropped in price a bit. I'm working on a limited budget, so picking a power supply first will help me not spend beyond my means on high-end power consuming components :)  I'm looking to complete the build in the next 5-8 weeks, depending on cash flow. The Antec case looks sick, but it's a little bit more than I was planning on for the case alone. Anyone know how the Cooler Master Centurion 5 stacks up for air flow/cooling? I figure it'll be pretty loud. Also, does anyone know of any relatively silent cases that are slightly shorter (in hight) and cheaper than the p180? Thanks again!
February 2, 2007 6:33:19 PM

The centurion 5 is not as loud as you would think, I got one for my son's computer and the only fan that is loud is the GPU fan on his bfg6800gt and the included 80 and 180 are rather low-speed and pretty quiet (but not silent).

The airflow/cooling is excellent on both my son's cent5 and the cheaper case I previously mentioned (with an extra 120mm in the back they are very close).
On one build with that cheap one, a fanless gpu was used so I put in an 80mm with a minor mod to the lower side panel vent was all it needed - quieter than my son's for sure...

One thing that is nice about the p180 it is more forgiving if you have noisy components.
February 2, 2007 6:35:57 PM

You guys have to be kidding me... $1000 budget and the suggestions are for $200-250 worth of case and PSU?!?

My suggestion? By your admission, it's for light gaming and multimedia, which I'm guessing to mean you aren't going to be running massive video cards.

CoolerMaster 430 eXtreme PSU - $24.99
http://www.svc.com/rs-430-pcar.html -- further research shows this not to have a PCI-E power connector so if you're getting anything that requires one (like anything above 7600GT) you'd need a $10 adapter and you'll probably be better of with the 550W one below

or
COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power RP-550-PCAR ATX from factor 12V V2.01 550W Power Supply 115/230 V Nemko, TUV, cUL, CE, BSM, FCC, CCC - Retail - $49.99 after $20 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...



COOLER MASTER Centurion 532 RC-532-SKN1 Black Aluminum bezel, SECC chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $29.99 after $15 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Total is $115 before rebates, $80 after.

Spend most of your money on guts...
February 2, 2007 6:37:50 PM

The Centurion 5 does have good cooling, and outside of that piece of crap 80mm fan in front it is not that loud if you use quite parts.

You could consider a Antec P150 (comes with a decent PSU) and buy a low speed Scythe 92 or 100mm fan for the front.
February 2, 2007 6:52:54 PM

Yea that 80mm was the reason I started using the RC-531 for budget builds since it has a 120mm up front (which is the same as the rear in the cent5 I believe)
That vendor's $30 price ($40 shipped) let's you pick a decent rear fan like this ARCTIC COOLING AF12 which is only $10 ($15 shipped) so combined it is cheaper and quieter and has just as much cooling capacity.
February 2, 2007 6:59:26 PM

If budget is a real concern the case itself is way less important to your dollar than the PSU. Pick whats asthetically pleasing and has at least decent cooling (at least one 120mm fan).

To hit your budget of $150 and to maximize PSU quality I'd suggest maybe these:

PSU Very reliable brand with recent PSUs according to several comparisons I've read. Basically same PSU as the equivalent OCZ one.

Case No it isn't elite or anything but is decent and looks to have decent airflow. It is in line with the colors you want and seems in pics to look good and not "flashy". There is usually nothing wrong at all with a "budget" case tho some may argue that point. If this is the $ your budget dictates however I'd much rather see you with a low end case with 120mm fan and side duct and have a GOOD PSU.

Feel free to disagree as tastes vary. From your post I am assuming your budget is set in stone and if you have more $ to play with on this I'd recommend other parts.
February 2, 2007 7:13:02 PM

I have a bit of money to play with, but I'd prefer higher functionality over aesthetics, which is why I'm trying to get the case out of the way with a minimal cost. I really don't plan on severely overclocking anything either. To give a better idea, I do like the appearance of the Centurion 5 (mostly black with silver/aluminum trim), however, if the 80mm fan is a noisy POS, I might be more inclined to go with another model with a better fan setup.

For the PSU, I'm really not sure what I need, as I haven't been following the recent multi-GPU trends. I would like a bit of future-proofing, but really don't want to spend over $100 on it (if that is even possible). I'm definitely taking everyone's recommendations into consideration, and will more than likely place an order later this evening -- results post forthcoming. Thanks again!
February 2, 2007 8:38:01 PM

They do look nice, I got my son the blue/black one. Neither one of us are disappointed with it 8)



The bottom-mounted USB header is nice for a desktop-placed box. The 531/532 has a top-mounted header, more convenient if it is placed on the floor.

BTW chiefvalue also has the silver/black for $44 ($55 shipped) and ZZF has the blue/black for $58 (free shipping). It is convenient not having to get the 120mm seperately, it almost literally is the same price.
February 2, 2007 9:13:00 PM

Just make sure to get a good PSU. Don't go cheap on the blood of your system. There's nothing worse than seeing a PSU go and take the whole system with it. I've diagnosed a few like that.
You can reference the PSU 101 sticky:
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/PSU-101-ftopict...

If you still want something quiet, antec has the sonata series, which come w/ the PSU. I built my gf a sonata 1, and it was pretty quiet. However, if you're looking to pack a few GPU's in there, it might not have enough airflow, depending on the configuration.
February 2, 2007 9:55:45 PM

Based on everyone's advice, I think I'll hold off on the PSU. I may accelerate this build a bit, thanks to a reevaluation of my finances, so any suggestions on other components?

Minimums that I desire (but may have to compromise on):

2 GB RAM
250gb+ 7200RPM HD
Video Card w/512mb (looking to spend ~$200)
Core 2 Duo (not sure which model I should look at)

other less important items: 16x DVD/RW, Wireless keyboard/mouse

I'm considering using this primarily with a 32" Dell LCD TV, so running a extremely high resolutions isn't an issue (anyone have experience with a setup like this?)
!