Is there a meaningful difference between the Thermaltake V3 and Cooler Master Elite 330/335 cases?
I recased an Intel 775 system into a Cooler Master Elite 335, and thought it was good value for money. A quietish 120mm exhaust fan is included, and for a budget gaming system I would say it's perfectly OK.
Is 400W fine or should I get 520W for the future? I know that power efficiency changes with load, but I don't know the actual curve. The outervision calculator seems to think that a Radeon 5770 on max load only uses 47 Watts...
Good point. It's more a question of what the actual maximum power consumption of your system might be. Allowing for overclocking (see later) you could be looking at 275-300w. A 400w PSU could do this, but it would not be quiet. So I would say 600w at least. In fact moving from 400w to 620w on the same make and model of PSU would only cost you $30, see http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371031&cm_re=Antec_NEO_ECO-_-17-371-031-_-Product
I would suggest that you substitute an Intel i3 530 such as http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115222&cm_re=intel_530-_-19-115-222-_-Product
for the 750 - this would save you around $80. Reason - the difference in speed between the 530 and 750 while gaming will not be much, and will only really show at resolutions of 1680x1050 or below. Given the CPU cooler and PSU that is being suggested, you could always overclock if need be. The 530 will overclock readily to 3.8 or 4.0 Ghz from its standard 2.93, and if you really push it, to 4.4 Ghz.
Because overclocking is a possibility, I think you need to consider revising the cooling arrangements for the Cooler Master 335. What I would do is buy another Scythe PWM fan of the same spec as the one fitted to your CPU cooler such as http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185049&cm_re=pwm_fan-_-35-185-049-_-Product
which would cost $9, and a PWM splitter cable such as http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812123298&cm_re=pwm_fan-_-12-123-298-_-Product
for $7. Replace the existing Cooler Master exhaust fan with the second Scythe PWM fan, and plug both it and the CPU Scythe PWM fan into the motherboard PWM CPU socket using the the splitter cable.
The displaced Cooler Master exhaust fan could be redeployed as an intake fan. It runs at 1200 rpm, which could be reduced with a 3 pin fan controller such as this one http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118217&cm_re=zalman-_-35-118-217-_-Product
to around 600-700 rpm. The controller costs $5, which brings the cost of improved cooling to $21. The intake fan is only there to give a degree of cooling to the hard drive, which it will do at fairly low revs and without contributing significantly to system noise.
The 530, even when overclocked, will by default downclock to 1.2Ghz and undervolt slightly at idle. The PWM fans respond to CPU core temperature, so at idle they will drop down to maybe 400 rpm or so, which give you a very quiet PC. Under load, that is gaming, as the CPU heats up so the PWM fans will automatically speed up. This system of two linked PWM fans was used on the Cooler Master 335 recase that I did, and it works very well. It is an extremely common gaming case setup.