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Case And Power

System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Performance PC

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion

We wanted a case with at least one 180 mm or two 120 mm intake fans to support good airflow to our externally-vented graphics cards and CPU cooler, yet our budget initial allowed only $130 for this component. Lian-Li’s PC-8FIB was, unfortunately, out of stock, and few others could meet our minimum requirements for quality, ventilation, and aesthetic simplicity. Antec’s Three Hundred Illusion came closest, while saving us $60-$70.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's Three Hundred Illusion

The Three Hundred Illusion is impossible to beat at its price and even tough to match at twice that price. Thick steel panels are superbly fitted and given a high-quality finish, putting to shame the toy army tank-designs typically marketed to gamers. Both intake fans and the top exhaust fan feature soft blue LED lighting, and Antec also includes the requisite rear-panel fan behind the CPU cooler.

Power: Seasonic SS-850HT

Our system wouldn’t require 850 W, yet that rating is hard to pass up when a top manufacturer offers it at a moderate price. Seasonic is still one of the most respected names in the power supply business, and this 80 PLUS Silver-rated model sells for only $130. Two 40 A, 12 V rails provide up to 840 W combined power for high-demand devices such as the overclocked CPU and graphics cards.

Read Customer Reviews of Seasonic's SS-850HT

Of course, you’re going to have to “give something up” to get those quality internal components at a low price, and the SS-850HT lacks fancy paint and modular cables. We’ll use most of its cables in our build and hide the rest behind the case’s lower drive cage.

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