Sticking It To “The Man”
Though the above phrase is typically used in reference to politicians and corporations, the true power brokers in our PC purchasing decisions tend to be people we trust. These are usually people with a great deal of experience, or at least those whose advice appears to come from a place of experience.
They tell us to spend in places that don’t make sense, to save in places where we don’t want to skimp, and to basically build their idea of what our PC should be. And while many of the people we trust diverge on the finer details, the one place they almost always meet is on the subject of cases with power supplies. They tell us that, as a rule, any power supply that’s cheap enough to be included with a case is worthless.
We know better. Deep down inside, they know better. Everyone knows that there are exceptions to nearly any rule, and now is the time to make our own rules. As with any revolution, we must first determine our true needs, then find the means to meet them.
Though most performance enthusiasts want a PC worth thousands of dollars, the truth is that many would rather not stretch their budgets that far. The majority of builds start out well below $800. And what most experienced builders won’t tell you (or forget to tell you) is that the lion's share of sub-$800 builds use less than 600W of power. If we push a little harder, we can even build a $550 performance system that draws less than 300 peak watts. That's why, today, we're examining a few money-saving combos able to output far more than 300W for far less than $100.
|Cooler Master USP 100||In-Win Griffin||Thermaltake VI1450BWS|
|Space Above Motherboard||1.31"||0.38"||0.15" to brace 0.75" total|
|Weight||21.0 pounds||14.0 pounds||19.7 pounds|
|Front Fans (alternatives)||1 x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)||1 x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)||1 x 120 mm (stock only)|
|Rear Fans (alternatives)||1 x Empty (120, 92, 80 mm)||1 x 92 mm (80 mm)||1 x 120 mm (92, 80 mm)|
|Top Fans (alternatives)||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Side Fans (alternatives)||1 x Empty (120, 92, 80 mm)||1 x 220 mm (2x 120 mm)||2 x Empty (120, 92, 80 mm)|
|3.5" External||One||One||1x Adapter|
|3.5" Internal||Six||Five||3 x 5.25" bay to 3-HDD Cage|
|12V Rails||16A +16A||18A +16A||14A +15A|
|ATX Lead||20+4 Pin||20+4 Pin||20+4 Pin|
|PCIe Power||2 x 6+2 Pin||1 x 6-Pin||1 x 6-Pin|
|SATA Power||6 (2-leads)||4 (3-leads)||2 (1-lead)|
|ATA Power||1x 3-drive||2 (2-leads)||6 (2-leads)|