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Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive

System Builder Marathon, June 2010: $550 Gaming PC

Case: Cooler Master Elite 330

The Cooler Master Elite 330 is a well-built Mid Tower case with an attractive appearance and equally attractive price. It includes a mesh front bezel, washable air filter, and room for an optional 120 mm intake fan.

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's Elite 330

Sporting a single 120 mm rear-mounted exhaust fan, the Elite 330 will not match the air flow of the Antec Three Hundred Illusion previously used in our March $750 Gaming PC. While shorter in height than the Three Hundred, the case is deeper front-to-back, allowing use of a 12” graphics card without the need for modifications. The case features a tool-free mechanism for each drive bay and expansion slot, but alternatively allows for the use of conventional screws as well.

Power Supply: Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus RS-500-PCAR-A3

Read Customer Reviews of Cooler Master's eXtreme Power Plus RS-500-PCAR-A3

Besides the added cost of a second graphics card and a motherboard with CrossFire support, our previous $750 build used an $85 Antec EarthWatts 650W power supply. For the June build, $85 turned out to be the exact amount left over in our original budget to cover both our case and power supply together.

This Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 500W was priced at $40, with a combined 30A rating for the two +12V rails. Sporting just a single six-pin PCIe power connector, this isn’t a power supply meant for beastly graphics solutions, but is adequate for this miserly system.

Our alternate choice, also at this same price, would have been the familiar Antec EarthWatts 380W unit, with a 28A combined +12V rating. We've successfully overclocked a Core 2 Duo E8500 and Radeon HD 4850 with this power supply, but here I wanted to try something new, and liked the idea of incorporating a $100 Cooler Master trio in the build.

Optical Drive: Samsung Black 22x DVD Burner SATA Model SH-S223C

Read Customer Reviews of Samsung's Black 22x DVD Burner

This OEM 22x SATA DVD burner has served our optical needs well in the past, and comes at a price we could easily afford.

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