Of all the functional pieces of a computer, it is relatively fair to say that the most skimped on piece is the power supply, and why not? It doesn't directly lead to any performance gain unless overclocking and when you're shopping on a budget, every single penny counts. If you can save just $50 somewhere along the line, you should be able to get a little more performance out of a CPU or GPU. If you can do it a couple of times with the PSU, case and other miscellaneous items, you can start to get into some large performance gains.
We've gone over this many times, but the power supply can be just as important as any other component, because while it may not directly lead to performance increases, it does dictate system stability to a certain amount. This is because "dirty" power just doesn't go well with modern CPUs and GPUs that operate at such high levels these days.
Cooler Master's i700 is meant to fit that budget build where limiting cost is a huge factor, but doesn't cut too many corners in build quality and reliability. It may not be the most feature rich unit on the market, but if it does so without breaking the bank and passing our tests, it might be one of the best choices for a budget unit.
Let's take a close look over the next few pages.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Cooler Master i700 features a single 12V rail capable of 55A or 660W of power. Both the 3.3V and 5V rails are rated for 20A each with a combined maximum output of 120W. The 5VSB rail is rated for 2.5A or 12.5W. Maximum combined output for the unit is 700W.
One of the first things that you will notice in a budget unit is that it skimps on some features. The i700 isn't an exception to this and truth be told, this list isn't so bad. Most of our protections are present and the only one that we check for that isn't is Over Temperature Protection. The i700 features all natively wired cables and the only cable that has any sleeving on it is the 24-pin Main, as the rest are flopping about freely. Cooler Master doesn't rate any of their units at 50C, but the i700 is rated for the same 40C as is the rest of their units. Finally, the i700 carries an 80 PLUS Bronze rating for efficiency.
The Cooler Master i700 has an MSRP of $79.99 and is already available just about everywhere. At the time of writing Newegg lists the unit for $59.99 after a $20 rebate and free shipping, so that makes this a very cheap unit no matter how you look at it. Cooler Master provides a five year warranty on the i700.