Three Gaming Cases, With Power, Under $100

Inside The USP 100

Low-cost products don’t normally have the latest features, so we were pleasantly surprised to find the USP 100 with an access hole for CPU cooler support plates. Also carried over from pricier products is the sideways hard drive cage, which allows easy installation and removal of drives, even when the motherboard is full of expansion cards.

A handhold at the bottom of the face panel allows it to be ripped off rather easily, though its plastic snap tabs should probably be treated a little more gingerly. External bays behind it are covered with break-away EMI shields, which present somewhat of a pinch hazard during removal. Screw tabs allow these to be reinstalled.

A 120 mm red LED intake fan is the only case fan included with the USP 100. We noticed these grill holes are far more restrictive than those of the empty rear panel fan mount, though the included fan is slow enough that air passing through these holes did not add noticeably to the fan’s low noise.

A second intake fan can be mounted on the case’s bottom, between its power supply and hard drive cage. All three fan mounts are able to hold 120 mm, 92 mm and 80 mm fans, but the bottom mount doesn’t have an offset between the grill and fan blades.

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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