The CPU is often referred to as the brain of the computer system. If that is a meaningful analogy then the heart of the system is undoubtedly the power supply. The PS has to provide stable power to all parts of the system, much as the heart has to provide blood to all parts of the body. When the power supply is not completely healthy parts of your system start failing. The Power Supply is also the component most likely to fail in systems, because its importance is often overlooked by the system builder.
The case has to house all the components, so there are specification concerns that the Power Supply and all components will actually fit. However, it is a much more personal choice than the PS. Once you determine everything will fit, personal ergonomics and appearance are the main reasons buyers choose a particular case. The case can also have a significant impact in cooling efficiency, however, and that should also be a concern in case selection.

Computer Component suppliers normally sell the case and power supply as a combined purchase. The prices often seem to be a good value, but our experience has been that it is often tough to determine the source and quality of the Power Supply used in the package. Combo cases are often the cheapest and thinnest metal you can possibly buy. These combo Case/PS may be great for a retailer building entry systems for resale, but they are rarely high enough in performance or durability to meet the needs of the Computer Enthusiast. They also may work fine initially, but the cheap kit power supplies are often the first things to go in a system.

For all these reasons we recommend the separate selection of a case and power supply for a new system build, or to replace the case you now have. The price and performance range among current cases and power supplies is huge, so we have zeroed in on some typical price points for knowledgeable shoppers looking for a new case or power supply.

Power Supplies
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  • gwolfman - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    What did you mean by "When we changed the direction of the fan we immediately saw higher cooling results."? So the positive air pressures made it worse? And when you moved the fan for negative air pressure the temps were lower? OR do you mean that in the not-so-standard positive air pressure configuration temps were lower than when switched? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Test results are available in the FT01 review at http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a...">http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a.... Best results were with the STOCK (Positive Pressure) Silverstone setup. We will revise the wording in the guide to make that cleare. Thanks for pointing it out. Reply
  • gwolfman - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    I love my P180, but the one downside I recall was that the power supply cables coming from the bottom interfered with the bottom part of the motherboard, including the USB connections, the lower expansion slots, and those little jumpers that hook up the case power/reset switches and LEDs.

    I'd strongly recommend either:
    - using a smaller motherboard
    - using a modular power supply
    - leaving the bottom one or two expansion slots empty
    Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Don't forgot the most important factor for the PS...cables long enough to reach your devices, including the 24V! Had to set aside 2 perfectly good PS because their cables weren't long enough. Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    But perhaps this has been improved in the P182 and in newer versions of the P180?

    http://bigrockies.com/media/p182back.jpg">http://bigrockies.com/media/p182back.jpg
    Reply
  • spidey81 - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    I have been loving my build with the P182 that I did in Feb. I found that a modular PSU would definitely be a beneficial choice with the limited clearance between the PSU mounting area and the fan in the bottom chamber.
    Fortunately I was able to take advantage of space on the backside to route cables for a clean build (and was able to tuck extra cables back there since my Corsair 550VX isn't modular). My cables were plenty long to do this as well as some people have found some PSU's cable to be too short for this case.
    It's not as quiet as I was hoping, but it's definitely not as loud as my last case.
    As a bonus, I was able to find it on sale at zipzoomfly.com back in Feb. for $120 with $40 rebate for a total of $80!
    Reply
  • Vidmar - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    All three of these cases have major cons IMHO.

    First: Power supply at the bottom. I may be old-school, but just wait till your power supply fan bearings begin to give out since it was installed upside down from what the manufacturer intended.

    - The Antec 300 has no removable drive cage.
    - The Antec P182 does have a removable dive cage, but then it has a door on the front of the case. Plus the external connectors are too low.
    - The Silverstone Fortress FT01 drive cage is a problem for airflow.

    For my $$$ this Rosewill R6AR6-BK case has all of the features of any of these cases, cooler performance and a fraction of the cost!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Don't weant your PSU upside down? Mount it right side up. Mine's at the bottom of my Coolermaster Stacker, but it sure as heck isn't upside down. It's in the normal orientation, and quietly drawing cool air from under the case Reply
  • Ksyder - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    You can mount the PSU any way you like in the P182... there are screw holes in the case that let you mount the PSU upside down or right side up depending on how you want the fans and/or wires to be.

    As an aside, as an owner of a P182, I actually wish the chassis didn't have the middle divider because it causes the hard drives to not get any benefit from the 2 top 120mm fans. Granted you can put a 120mm fan in the bottom but the space down there is tight and the PSU by itself doesn't do much to cool the hard drives in terms of moving air through the bottom chamber.

    Reply

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