|Cooler Master Elite 430 Case RC-430-KWN1|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Joey Peng - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 22 July 2010|
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CM Elite 430 Final Thoughts
The Cooler Master Elite 430 is a great case. I'm a little disappointed on certain aspects mainly because for this case is a pretty small playing field once I had the GTX285 and large CPU cooler installed. The lack of decent cable management features made routing cables very annoying. Also, more fans can be installed if the case is housing smaller components, but less fans if larger components that require more cooling are installed, which kind of defeats the purpose for having the ability to attach six fans. For enthusiast systems, which technically is this case's speciality, the Elite 430 has a lot of drawbacks.
On the other hand for less ambitious systems this case does just fine. Without a large graphics card blocking the way, installation of additional 3.5" drives become a lot easier. Many full tower cases have only as many fans as the Elite 430 does, so as long as there's space to install additional fans, cooling shouldn't be an issue.
RC-430-KWN1 ConclusionThe Cooler Master Elite 430 is one of the smallest cases that can fit a full ATX system with the latest graphic cards on the market. The single 120mm fan that comes with the case is sufficient for the average user, but a little disappointing otherwise. Unfortunately due to the lack of fans and space, temperatures for CPU and GPU are several degrees higher than my original six-fan mid tower. The Elite 430 is actually a considerable amount smaller than many mid towers.
The unified paint job and exterior updates make the Cooler Master Elite 430 fairly modern case. There's not much to hate about the appearance and plenty to like with lighting. The exterior isn't extravagant or particularly notable in any way but for a budget case it works well.
The overal construction and quality of the Elite 430 is decent. The interior is great but the removable side panels feel flimsy. Giving the window light pressure can bend the entire panel inwards easily. Other than that, edges that should be rounded are rounded, and locks that should work do work. Some parts of the Elite 430 really focused on simplicity and used cut-out designs to minimize cost. For example the PCI expansion slots have metal plates that need to be ripped off to be used, and cannot be replaced.
The Cooler Master Elite 430 offers a good number of features and functionality for a budget case. Installation is easy and straightforward. The tool-less locks for the drive bays work as they are designed with little effort required to get the job done. One of the most unfortunate drawbacks of the Elite 430 however is cable management. Most of the cables are left to be tugged under at the bottom of the case. The best cable ties can do is to ensure the cables stick together. Also a lot of the Elite 430's functionality is self conflicting. Installing large graphic cards blocks off many of the 3.5" drive bays. Having a large CPU fan blocks off the top two vents. It does sound pretty grim if you happen to be interested in putting a high-end configuration in this case, however it's important to note that the Elite 430 is one of the only cases this small that can do it. For users that are using something similar to Core 2 Duo CPUs, two 3.5" hard drives, and low profile CPU cooler, none of this will be any issue, except cable management of course.
The RC-430-KWN1 model is currently priced at $54.99, the Cooler Master Elite 430 is a very affordable computer case. While the enclosure may not excel at anything in particular, it gives you more options than you have with many other similar cases. It is always good to know you have the option to install the any large component without problem, even if performance and cooling isn't comparable to larger models.
Overall the Cooler Master Elite 430 is a good product more keen on delivering options than performance. However it really seems to fit a specific scenario for optimizing it's features. If you're the type that saves on all other components but splurges on graphic cards, then this could be exactly what you need: affordable, small, but can fit any high-end GPU.
+ Spacious for a mid-tower case of this size, supports the newest graphic cards.
- Poor cable management features
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.
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