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Measured Test Results

Three Gaming Cases, With Power, Under $100
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We checked the CPU, GPU, and chipset temperatures following at least 40 minutes at full load, using eight threads of Prime95 to generate maximum CPU temperature and one instance of FurMark at 1280x1024, 8x AA to reach full GPU temperature. Results are sorted by CPU temperature first.

In Win’s low temperatures are deceiving because the case would not close over our 120 mm tower cooler. That cooler was specifically chosen for the performance gaming market In Win hopes to win over with its Griffin chassis, hence the chart is labeled only for the power supply. The true cooling winner is Thermaltake’s M9, a statistic we attribute partly to the case’s dual fans.

Cooler Master’s USP 100 is doubly beset by its lack of exhaust fan and an intake fan that doesn’t flow well, itself doubly hindered by a sideways hard drive cage and a restrictive fan grille. A second fan of similar specification can be added within this comparison’s $100 limit, and doing this dropped our CPU temperature by 4° Celsius.

Global power consumption is a completely different matter. In Win’s Power Man units have always worked extremely well in our low-spec systems, but this is the first time we’ve tried to power anything as mighty as the GeForce GTX 285 with one. An 80 PLUS Bronze rating is testament to this unit’s efficiency.

On the other hand, the highest-rated power supply is also the only model that didn’t require a dual 4-pin to single PCIe power adapter simply to run our graphics card. Cooler Master’s eXtreme Power 550W costs over $50 on its own, trumps competitors on 12V current capacity, and converts the greatest amount of input energy into heat.

We again find an irrelevant number in In Win’s “full-system” noise output, since the case couldn’t be closed over our CPU cooler—or any cooler over 4.5” with its side fan installed. Thermaltake’s M9 does the best job of containing our CPU fan’s excessive noise, while the USP 100’s single fan allows the empty case to be quieter.

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    dirtmountain , June 30, 2010 6:44 AM
    Good article, i really enjoy these articles about squeezing the biggest bang for the buck out of builds. We'd all like to be able to drop big $$$$ on our systems, but sometimes reality (or the wife) puts a pretty low limit on how much we can spend.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    Vic84 , June 30, 2010 6:25 AM
    Good review
  • 4 Hide
    gordo_46 , June 30, 2010 6:28 AM
    yeah good review
  • 2 Hide
    xc0mmiex , June 30, 2010 6:44 AM
    In "Measured Test Results", first chart, temperature over ambient in degrees Celsius... even at freezing temperature of 0C, CPU would be at 67+ C.... and on a hot day of 30C your CPU would be approaching boiling... i think its a little too toasty so there gotta be a mistake in there somewhere; wrong unit or math
  • 17 Hide
    dirtmountain , June 30, 2010 6:44 AM
    Good article, i really enjoy these articles about squeezing the biggest bang for the buck out of builds. We'd all like to be able to drop big $$$$ on our systems, but sometimes reality (or the wife) puts a pretty low limit on how much we can spend.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 30, 2010 7:19 AM
    Just to confirm, are you guys using a dual channel RAM for a 920 build?
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , June 30, 2010 7:34 AM
    Quote:
    Unfortunately, Cooler Master does not include an exhaust fan.


    I would not only prefer not to have one if not necessary due to noise, but I would also prefer to purchase one of my choosing so this is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , June 30, 2010 7:35 AM
    I think in cases more people are looking at aesthetics and ruggedness over temps and acoustics as nearly all cases have acceptable values. When it comes to this NZXT and Rosewill have really seperated themselves from other cases under $50.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , June 30, 2010 7:49 AM
    I agree, but as an enthusiast I'm really loving that Cooler Master case. I tend to like front to back air flow just because it helps direct noise away from me and I can cool my hard drives first and my GPU last since that seems to be the order of coolest to hottest operating temps.

    I suspect with a bit higher power draw Cooler Master's PSU may perform a bit more admirably on efficiency. The only way to really know is to test the PSUs against each other and measure power draw of the PSUs themselves (until they power off preferably!) under load/idle. If you're going to make a statement about energy efficiency at all then it is my belief that you should test them.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , June 30, 2010 7:51 AM
    xc0mmiexIn "Measured Test Results", first chart, temperature over ambient in degrees Celsius... even at freezing temperature of 0C, CPU would be at 67+ C.... i think its a little too toasty so there gotta be a mistake in there somewhere; wrong unit or math
    No, it's an overclocked Core i7 at eight threads of Prime95, if you find those numbers shocking you're thinking of the wrong CPU.
    falchardI think in cases more people are looking at aesthetics and ruggedness over temps and acoustics as nearly all cases have acceptable values. When it comes to this NZXT and Rosewill have really seperated themselves from other cases under $50.
    These are basically $40 cases in this article. Two of the cases in the review are already far better than this one:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-computer-case,2579-5.html
    That is to say, two of these $40 cases are vastly superior to that $100 case. So you can say what you like, but words alone will not convince me.
  • 5 Hide
    paigeinfull , June 30, 2010 8:00 AM
    grossemesserWhy in blazes you did NOT include in this... comparison the amazingly incredible HAF 922??? Its way better than any of these and costs only $90 Plenty of space, cable management space and of course AIRFLOW! it even has slots in the door so you can fit one big or two small fans... Anyways what can i say, you should have included it

    "Three Gaming Cases, With Power, Under $100"
  • 3 Hide
    rohitbaran , June 30, 2010 8:59 AM
    While the cases are good, the review doesn't throw any light on how the included PSUs perform. Considering that these are budget PSUs, there might be a chance of having substandard PSUs being included which may not even deliver rated power. Cooler Master Extreme Power 600W is one low cost PSU that can't deliver it's rated power.
  • -5 Hide
    rohitbaran , June 30, 2010 9:00 AM
  • 3 Hide
    rohitbaran , June 30, 2010 9:05 AM
    Oh, I found the review of the exact PSU being included in Cooler Master USP 100. It is RS-550-PCAR-E3 which is commercially known as Cooler Master extreme Power 550W. Here is a review at hardwaresecrets.com that clearly shows that it is a bad PSU.
  • -6 Hide
    metallifux , June 30, 2010 9:23 AM
    Why would you put the PSU at the bottom of a case when hot air rises?
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , June 30, 2010 9:31 AM
    MetallifuxWhy would you put the PSU at the bottom of a case when hot air rises?
    Groupthink. Someone said it was cool and everyone else jumped aboard. It happened around three years ago, and now you're not one of the cool kids if you don't agree.
  • -3 Hide
    rohitbaran , June 30, 2010 9:32 AM
    Because a PSU at the bottom provides better position for the motherboard. With PSU at the bottom, you can install 2 fans at the top which ain't possible if the PSU is at the top.
  • 5 Hide
    paigeinfull , June 30, 2010 10:21 AM
    MetallifuxWhy would you put the PSU at the bottom of a case when hot air rises?

    Not to mention that hot air will rise right into the psu causing an increase in psu temps and a decrease in efficiency. I don't think using the psu to exhaust air from the case is a good idea when fans can do a much better job
  • 3 Hide
    DavC , June 30, 2010 11:00 AM
    are you going to put these 3 PSUs through their paces when you do the PSU testing article?
  • -5 Hide
    Wheat_Thins , June 30, 2010 11:31 AM
    The PSU's don't even have enough AMP's / rail to power an higher end GPU..... A 5850 alone is recommended to have at minimum 25 AMP's available on its rail.
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