Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
Case : Antec Three Hundred
Last month’s Antec NSK4480B served us well and is a nice case bundled with a reliable power supply. You may have noticed it has jumped up in price by $20, making it somewhat less of a bargain now. But our reasons for choosing a new case this month were not because of this price increase, but because of the desire for a bit more reserve power than what the 380 W EarthWatts provides.
Thanks to its rear 120 mm and top-mounted 140 mm three-speed exhaust fans, the Antec Three Hundred packs a huge amount of airflow into a well-built, very affordable overclocking enclosure. Other notable features are top-mounted I/O ports, nine drive bays, and room to add three 120 mm intake fans with a washable air filter for the front two fans. One thing the case lacks is an external 3.5” bay, so those who desire an internal floppy drive or card reader will need to purchase Antec’s adapter and use one of the three 5.25” bays.
Power Supply : Antec NeoPower 650 W
As mentioned, we intended to use the $50 EarthWatts 500 W power supply, but it was no longer in stock. For a substitute, any quality 400 W-430 W power supply with 30A or more of +12 V would have done the job for this system as built. The problem was that the models we considered, such as Antec’s EarthWatts, NeoPower, or True Power Trio 430 W, as well as the Corsair 400CX, were all $60 or higher at the time.
In comparison, the Antec NeoPower 650 W power supply is a bargain for $75, never mind once we factor in the combo saving that took $30 off that price. It’s a quiet power supply with a modular design for neater cable management and it packs a whopping 624 W of +12 V, which is enough for a quad-core system with dual HD4850s or even the mighty Radeon HD 4870 X2.
Optical Drive : LITE-ON 20X DVD±R SATA Model iHAS120-04
The same LITE-ON SATA 20X DVD+RW that satisfied our needs last month fell in price by $1 and was again the perfect DVD burner to serve our optical drive needs.