Why did I pick this case? Why the Cooler Master Elite 330?
Well, I’ve always liked the Cooler Master cases, especially the various models of the CM Stacker. Anyway, when I decided to buy a new case rather than just replace the contents in my old case, it had to be something reasonably cheap, particularly because I was already spending $150 on a new Antec Neo 650w power supply.
Normally I’m not fussed on most cases because under the paint and external cover, they are all a very similar chassis. However, this time I decided I wanted to get something with a more “user-friendly” chassis.
The vast majority of these better cases, Antec, Lian Li, Silverstone, Cooler Master and so on, are generally more expensive, some even ranging up to the $400 mark with no power supply.
This case caught my eye though because it was only $55 without a power supply and is the same as the one I chose for one of the new computers at work. As I’ve been inside the case at various times with the work one, I knew that it had a decent chassis and included some very simple, but also very effective devices that make it much easier to work on.
It is far from an ugly case as well, and like all Cooler Master cases, it is designed for maximum airflow. It comes with a 120mm fan pre-installed in the back of the case as well as an air intake duct leading from the side of the case directly to the CPU fan.
In addition to this there is a large vent in the side of the case that runs just short of the length of the video card, thus helping vent it.
Now, this is far from the least of the cooling idea’s in this case. There is space for another 120mm fan in the front of the case, or if you prefer, an 80mm or 92mm fan.
Not only this though, but as you can see in the photo’s, the majority of the front of the case is filtered vents. Even the 5 1/4″ and 3 1/2″ drive bay covers are filtered mesh. So even with just the CPU/video card fans, single 120mm out take fan in the back and the 80mm power supply fan, the case has heaps of airflow!
There is of course more to it than this. I needed a case that would fit at least most of my hard drives. I was looking at getting a 4U rackmount case purely because they support full ATX motherboards and expansion cards along with fitting 10 hard drives. However, this was out of my price range.
The Cooler Master Elite 330 has room for 7 3 1/2″ drives, I have 8 hard drives, I am going to do a little rearranging though and drop it back to 6 or 7, at least temporarily.
As I have this many hard drives and they are constantly being changed around as necessary, the easy to use, tool-free locks make it very easy to add and remove drives as necessary. They are definitely not the best ones on the market, but for the price of the case they are very decent.
I have been wary of tool-free expansion slots as I had one in a previous case that used a single screw to control every slot and this was extremely painful to use. However, the Cooler Master Elite 330 implements a very easy to use tool-free design. I imagine that once there are additional expansion cards in place it will start to have similar problems to the other ones I have used since it locks and unlocks every slot at once, however, as the design is significantly better than others I have used, I am hoping it won’t be as bad. Then there is also the fact that with the amount of features on newer motherboards, I am using less and less expansion cards, so it may not become an issue at all.
Yes, I do have a beige drive in a black case, but that’s okay. It will be getting replaced sooner or later anyway as it is starting to play up, for now though, it is perfectly fine.
Since taking these photo’s, the first hard drive is in place and I have been working on getting the operating system running on it properly. As that seems to now have been successful, expect to see a blog about that soon.