Three Gaming Cases, With Power, Under $100

Case and power supply combos always look like a bargain, but bargain-basement parts have always seemed to chase experienced builders away. Today, we consider three budget-enthusiast models to determine if any of them can meet our basic gaming needs.

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
Dimensions
Height19.0"16.30"17.3"
Width8.6"7.5"8.9"
Depth19.4"19.6"19.7"
Space Above
Motherboard
1.31"0.38"0.15" to brace
0.75" total
Card Length11.42"11.60"16.75"
Weight21.0 pounds14.0 pounds19.7 pounds
Cooling
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 AvailableNot 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)
Drive Bays
5.25" ExternalFourFourNine
3.5" ExternalOneOne1x Adapter
3.5" InternalSixFive3 x 5.25" bay
to 3-HDD Cage
2.5" InternalNoneNoneNone
Power Supply
ModelRS550-PCARE3IP-S400DQ3-2TR2 RX-450PP
ATX Version2.32.12.2
PFC TypeNoneNonePassive
80 PLUSNoneStandardNone
UL Cert.E320127E193791E303666
Rated Output550W400W400W
12V Rails16A +16A18A +16A14A +15A
12V Combined32A25A20A
ATX Lead20+4 Pin20+4 Pin20+4 Pin
ATX12V4+4 Pin4-Pin4-Pin
PCIe Power2 x 6+2 Pin1 x 6-Pin1 x 6-Pin
SATA Power6 (2-leads)4 (3-leads)2 (1-lead)
ATA Power1x 3-drive2 (2-leads)6 (2-leads)
Floppy Power1-drive1-drive2-drives
Price$88 $82 $83