Three Gaming Cases, With Power, Under $100

Energy And Acoustic Efficiency

While we don’t normally know exactly how much energy our system draws from a power supply, the 80 PLUS organization provides the exact data we need to calculate it within ±1% accuracy using In Win’s Power Man power supply.

An 80 PLUS Bronze rating is reflected in the much higher efficiency of In Win’s Power Man IP-S400DQ3-2 power unit. Cooler temperatures are the most likely reason for the 1% efficiency gain Cooler Master’s USP 100 gets from adding an exhaust fan, while Thermaltake’s power supply likely benefits from even cooler system temperatures in this metric.

Calculating acoustic efficiency is a little more complicated, in that we don’t have a baseline and there are no absolutes. Instead, we can only compare the average for this class of hardware to the individual results of each member of that class. Specifically, we divided the average CPU temperature for all systems by the actual CPU temperature of each system to obtain its relative temperature percentage, then divided the full system noise level for each system by the average of all systems to obtain its relative noise. Turning our cooling-to-noise ratio into a percentage is again a matter of simple division.

With the lowest noise and temperatures of a finished system, Thermaltake’s M9 takes the lead. In Win’s case wouldn’t shut over our CPU cooler, yet its second place finish is a reflection of the cooling advantages of leaving the side off a case. Cooler Master’s poor finish in its stock single-fan configuration indicates how badly the company needs to reconsider the value of the exhaust fan, yet potential buyers who have seen this result will at least know enough to add an exhaust fan on their own.

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  • 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 $$$$ on our systems, but sometimes reality (or the wife) puts a pretty low limit on how much we can spend.
    17
  • Other Comments
  • Good review
    5
  • yeah good review
    4
  • In "Measured Test Results", first chart, temperature over ambient in degrees Celsius... even at freezing temperature of 0C, CPU would be at 67+ C.... and on a hot day of 30C your CPU would be approaching boiling... i think its a little too toasty so there gotta be a mistake in there somewhere; wrong unit or math
    2
  • Good article, i really enjoy these articles about squeezing the biggest bang for the buck out of builds. We'd all like to be able to drop big $$$$ on our systems, but sometimes reality (or the wife) puts a pretty low limit on how much we can spend.
    17
  • Just to confirm, are you guys using a dual channel RAM for a 920 build?
    -3
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
    0
  • Why 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

    ... ummm sorry didn't get the WITH POWER part hehe... well i can just add that this is a great case and it is worth saving up the extra bucks for the added money you'll have to pay for the PSU
    -10
  • 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"
    5
  • 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.
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-eXtreme-Power-Plus-600-W-Power-Supply-Review/1034/9
    3
  • 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.
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-eXtreme-Power-Plus-550-W-Power-Supply-Review/969/1
    3
  • Why would you put the PSU at the bottom of a case when hot air rises?
    -6
  • 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.
    0
  • 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.
    -3
  • 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
    5
  • are you going to put these 3 PSUs through their paces when you do the PSU testing article?
    3
  • 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.
    -5