Case, Power, And CPU Cooling
Cases that include power supplies are my first choice when building on a budget. For instance, Antec's NSK 4480B comes with the company's high-efficiency EarthWatts 380, giving us a solid PSU and a 0.8 mm-thick steel chassis for only $100. But I wasn’t confident that a 380 W power supply would be enough in thise situation.
Case: Rosewill Redbone U3
Slightly thinner (and consequently more prone to flex) than Antec’s solution, Rosewill’s Redbone U3 saves us a bit of cash that we plan to spend on a beefier power supply. And, unlike competitively-priced solutions, the U3’s front-panel USB 3.0 connectors give me the I/O I've been requiring from all case review submissions lately.
With three included fans, the Redbone U3 also offers potential cooling advantages over its competition. That makes us feel a little better, particularly in light of the CPU and GPU cooling limitations we're facing at the $1,000 price point (remember, I'm used to competing with two grand, at least).
Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 520C 520 W
An 85% efficiency rating qualifies Antec’s Neo Eco for an 80 PLUS Bronze certification, though the company doesn’t apply the Bronze award to this part. It still gives us the added wattage we need to satisfy our maximum theoretical load requirements.
According to 80 PLUS, it takes around 630 W of draw from the wall to generate this unit's 520 W output rating, due to energy lost as heat during conversion. That’s really important to remember, since input power is also used in our efficiency calculations.
CPU Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Cooler Master’s familiar Hyper 212 Plus doesn't necessarily qualify as a high-end performer, but instead provides adequate cooling performance at a great price. Its capabilities make it a great match to a moderately-efficient CPU like the Ivy Bridge-based Core i5 in today’s build.