HotHardware Holiday Buyer's Guide 2008
Cases & PSUs
Cooler Master devoted extra attention to ensure this all-aluminum case is easy to install and maintain, with a slide-out motherboard tray, easy CPU cooler removal slot, tool-free HDD casing, and single-button 5.25" drive mounts and removalbe dust filters. This case supports E-ATX motherboards and dual PSUs, as well. For cooling, the ATCS 840 has three 230mm fans, a dedicated air duct for graphics card cooling, and a HDD cooling module.
This midsize tower with a mid-size price has six internal 3.5-inch bays, four externally available 5.25-inch bays, and one externally available 3.5-inch bay. To help control heat, the P182 has an external fan control for the top and rear fans and rubber grommeted ports for externally mounted liquid cooling systems. It also has triple layer side panels and door design, along with an upper and lower chamber structure to help reduce noist and isolate heat from the power supply from the rest of your components.
ThermalTake M9 VI1000BWS - $65
ThermalTake’s M9 VI1000BWS is not only affordable, but it also offers great versatility and expandability. This case is made of SECC steel and offers front and rear 1,300rpm 120x120x25mm blue LED fans that run at 17dBA--or near silence. This case features nine 5.25-inch drive bays, which are swappable to 3.5-inch by using the included HDD cage. Heat dissipation and air intake is enhanced by the air guide and openings on the side panel along with the metal grilled front bezel.
Whether you’ve chosen to spend a lot or a little on your components, one thing is certain: Those components are virtually useless without power. Furthermore, it’s important to choose a good PSU, or else you may pay the price with damaged components and / or and unreliable system.
A power rig deserves a powerful PSU. The Turbo-Cool 1200 power supply is a Single-Rail power house (+12V @ 100A) that delivers a continuous 1.2 Kilowatts (1400W peak) with a high efficiency rating of 83%. This PSU is also NVIDIA SLI Certified to the highest level (3-way SLI) and CrossFire Certified (Dual 4870 X2 or Tri-HD 4870). You’ll get a multitude of connectors with the Turbo-Cool 1200, including six PCI-E and 17 drive connectors. It also has 24-pin, Dual 8-pin, 4-pin M/B connectors.
Building on the Real Power series' reputation, CoolerMaster released the Real Power Pro line to satisfy customer’s demand for higher-end PSUs. The Real Power Pro 650W complies with the newest Intel ATX 12V V2.2 standard and SSI EPS 12V V2.91 standard. Features include bead core protection for PCI-e connectors, a power failure detector, and an over 80% efficiency rating. This drive is highly efficient (>80%) and offers quiet operation with its intelligent 120mm fan speed controller.
With a more palatable price tag, the Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX 750W is SLI-Ready and offers a dedicated, single +12V rail for compatibility with the latest system components. This PSU has a large, 140mm diameter temperature-controlled, quiet cooling fan that also helps cool the inside of your system. For those who are concerned about energy, the PSU offers 80%+ energy efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% load conditions. Finally, if you’ve chosen a full-size chassis, or just need some extra room to work, you’ll appreciate the extra long cables.