While many enthusiasts have never even considered using a power supply that came with a case, we’ve previously found excellent value in carefully-selected budget combos. Our continued effort to expand our low-cost options had yielded some surprising results!
First up is Cooler Master’s USP 100, a sharp-looking $88 unit that includes a 550W power supply valued at $50 separately. Advanced design features included a transverse hard drive cage that many builders prefer for ease of drive replacement, and an enormous opening behind the CPU cooler to ease the installation and removal of CPU cooler support plates. Those two features make this the most modern of today’s competitors, yet the hard drive cage does partially block airflow from the intake fan. And while the 550W power unit does offer an impressive 32A maximum 12V capacity, its efficiency numbers are fairly grim.
Next came In Win’s Griffin case and Power Man 400W power supply, two parts not yet sold together by any major vendor (though large buyers can specify the combo). In Win’s moderate quality has long made its cases a favorite amongst reputable office system builders, a fact that shows through in the power supply’s superb efficiency and acceptable 25A 12V capacity. Unfortunately, the Griffin case doesn’t quite measure up to the legacy of the company's office PC line, as it doesn’t support the gamer-oriented oversized CPU coolers that fit easily into many of the firm’s more traditional products.
Finally there’s Thermaltake’s VI1450BWS. Its M9 case the top performer of today’s review. Buyers don’t get modern features like transverse hard drive mounts or the CPU cooler installation hole found in Cooler Master’s competing product, but Thermaltake’s simpler drive cage design allows it to aid in overall rigidity while providing better airflow. The included “450W” power supply comes with a shockingly-light 20A limit for the 12V rails, outpaced by In Win’s 400W unit. Likewise, the side window that might add value for some buyers is flimsy enough to take it away from others.
Budget-oriented buyers must always face compromises, but are any of these cases more worthy than the rest of our recommendations? To be frank, we have too little faith in Thermaltake’s power supply to use it in any level of gaming PC, though we certainly can appreciate the performance of its M9 chassis. Conversely, In Win took itself out of the running by providing a gaming case that doesn’t offer the same level of support for gaming hardware as its traditional cases, even though its power supply appears to offer the highest quality of today’s competitors.
As a result, we are left providing a tepid recommendation to the solution that supported all of our needs, but did so with moderate performance. Cooler Master’s USP 100 had the highest temperatures and lowest power supply efficiency of today’s competitors, yet it also provided the easiest hardware installation and highest amperage capacity.
- Sticking It To “The Man”
- Cooler Master USP 100 (RC-P100-RKR1)
- Inside The USP 100
- Building With The USP 100
- In Win Griffin (With Power Man PSU)
- Inside The Griffin
- Building With The Griffin
- Thermaltake M9 VI1450BWS
- Inside The M9
- Building With The M9
- Test Settings
- Measured Test Results
- Energy And Acoustic Efficiency