Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amazing Case&PSU Combo

It's been a while since I've posted any recommendations for budget gaming PC hardware, and there's a reason for that. Video card prices are terrible right now, and RAM isn't much better. The production of AMD's HD4XXX series has dropped in favor of the new but understocked HD5xxx generation. In addition, AMD won't have any real competition from Nvidia for a few more months. Don't expect GPU prices to drop significantly until the summer season, after the price of Nvidia's yet unreleased hardware starts to settle.

As far as RAM goes, it looks like DDR2's reign is ending in favor of DDR3, so a lower supply has brought the prices up to DDR3 levels. By the time video card prices significantly drop, we might also see DDR3 go down a bit more.

Regardless, I did happen to notice a totally awesome deal that I wanted to make people aware of. AZZA, a company that doesn't seem to get much attention, has a great rebate/combo/sale/promo offer at Newegg for a PC case and power supply. Here it is:

Case: AZZA Solano 1000 Black Steel/Metal mesh ATX Full Tower - $65 (after $45 rebate and $10 promo code)
Power Supply: AZZA Dynamo 850W ATX Power Supply - $60 (after $40 rebate)
Discount: $20 (Case/PSU combo deal)
Shipping: $10
Total: $115

The shipping on the case is free, which is awesome because cases usually have the highest shipping costs. The same $20 combo deal also applies to three different power supplies. Here are the other two:

AZZA Dynamo 650W ATX Power Supply - $40 (after $30 rebate)
AZZA Dynamo 500W ATX Power Supply - $20 (after $20 rebate)

The 850W PSU has 2 6-Pin and 2 6+2-Pin PCI-Express connectors for lots of GPU power, as well as 4 12V rails.
The 650W PSU has 1 6-Pin and 1 6+2-Pin PCI-Express connectors and 2 12V rails.
The 500W PSU has 1 6-Pin PCI-Express connector for a modest single-GPU setup and 2 12V rails as well.

Therefore, if your power needs are similar to those of my current gaming machine, you can get away with spending a total of $74 (after rebates) for an awesome case with a nice 500W PSU.

Things to note:

- The rebates for the power supplies end on Dec 31st, the promo code for the case ends Jan 1st, and the rebate for the case ends Jan 5th.
- The case seems to have gotten great reviews on several review sites, as well as 5/5 eggs at Newegg.
- The Power Supplies seem to have decent reviews with 4/5 eggs, although the 500W only has 3/5 eggs. I generally don't suggest getting anything with less than 4/5 eggs and a healthy number of reviews, but I think it's safe to assume that the smaller PSU shares the same build quality as its bigger brothers. It wouldn't hurt to do a little more research, but at this price you're really not risking a whole lot. Remember, Newegg's customer service is second to none.

I know this deal is very rebate heavy, but I've always been comfortable with taking advantage of the rebate system. This bargain is so good that even if you're not planning on building a PC for a few months, you might want to grab these items anyway and use the rebate money to build the rest of your system later. Sure, other deals will be available in the future, but I haven't seen anything this good for a long time. Just be sure you are able test them right away to verify that they're working properly.

In other news...
I got a Microsoft SideWinder X6 keyboard for Christmas and am loving it. It was on my list because I wanted something with backlighting and a detachable numpad. The healthy list other features is nice, but I haven't had time to play with them much yet.

One thing to note is that it's a little weird getting used to the new key positioning. The macro keys on the left throw me off when I want to hit Tab or Shift, and removing the numpad also messes me up on the right side. I was expecting this and I'm sure it will pass with time. I want to try keeping the numpad on the left for a more ideal gaming position, so we'll see how that works out.

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