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Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $650 Gaming PC

Overall, this was a simple build. Three thumb screws secure the 120 Elite enclosure's single-piece shell. Once it was off, we saw an interior painted black to match the exterior. The trickiest part was simply dealing with the cable management, though Cooler Master provides numerous internal tie-downs.


The removable power supply bracket is attached to the PSU and slid into place. Corsair’s CX500 retail packaging is the perfect height to rest the CX500 on while routing and attaching power leads. A modular power supply might have made the process simpler, but this build required every lead except one anyway, so we would have saved very little space.

Removing the side-mounted 80 mm fan made it easier to attach the main 24-pin power cable without putting too much pressure on the motherboard's PCB. I can imagine that a longer power supply would interfere with placement of the main cable. But the shallow CX500 side-stepped that issue altogether.

On a final note, the six-pin auxiliary power lead proved to be difficult to attach once the graphics card was installed.

Given the end result, you can see that space wasn’t much of an issue. I chose to route cables so they wouldn't block any of the internal or external drive bays (even if this was academic; the system will get broken down for whoever wins it). The chunky Molex adapters for the two case fans added bulk. But once I got them secured, every cable was tucked out of the way of rotating fans. From there, the enclosure lid was easy to reinstall.

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