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Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 18 April 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Cooler Master Elite 343 RC-343-KKN1
Closer Look: Exterior
Closer Look: Interior
Building a System
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Cooler Master Elite RC-343-KKN1

Manufacturer: Cooler Master
Product Name: Elite 343 Computer Case
Model Number: RC-343-KKN1
Price As Tested: $40.99 from Amazon.com

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Cooler Master.

The enthusiast case market is replete with fancy cases brimming with exotic materials and features. It's not unusual for builders to buy "more case than they need", investing extra money in a case their system can grow into. But sometimes all you need is a basic case: a good-quality enclosure that will serve as a home for your components in a business, "grandma computer", or other non-enthusiast setting. Although Benchmark Reviews does not often look at cases like this, they make up the bulk of the case market. While Cooler Master's best known for its enthusiast cases, they serve this market as well with cases like the Elite 343 mATX computer case.

The micro-ATX (mATX) form factor is becoming more popular these days, and it's not hard to understand why: even most enthusiast systems use but a single motherboard slot (for the video card). Why pay for three or four extra slots you'll likely never use? And when it comes to a non-gaming machine, an integrated video solution is probably all that's needed. Micro ATX systems are smaller, less expensive, quieter, and cooler than full-sized systems, and especially for family or office computing needs, make a lot of sense. In these applications, bespoke aluminum cases with built-in fan controllers and LED lights are a waste of money; all you need is a good, basic case.

cooler_master_elite_343_front_right_34.jpg

Cooler Master will be happy, of course, to provide you with an enthusiast level case if you wish. Their "High Air Flow" (HAF series) cases are popular, as are their gamer-oriented "Storm" series of cases.

Elite 343 Specifications

Color Black
Dimensions W183mm x H356.7mm x D445.8mm
Net weight 4.0 kg/8.8 lbs
Material Steel body, ABS plastic, mesh front bezel
MB type Micro-ATX
5.24" drive bay 2 (exposed)
3.5" drive bay 1 (exposed) 5 (internal)
Cooling system Front: 120x25mm fan (2000RPM, 17dBa)
Rear: 80/90mm (optional)
I/O panel USB 2.0 x 2, mic, audio, 1394a (optional)
Expansion slots 4
Maximum compatibility CPU cooler height: 148mm
VGA card length: 250mm (w/HDD cage)
363mm (without HDD cage)
Power supply Standard ATX PS2



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Cooler Master Elite 343 RC-343-KKN1Robert17 2011-04-19 04:37
I could see whipping together a couple of "granny" systems in a case like this, loading with system build leftovers, gifting at Christmas or such. I've built in worse over the years. May even be a good choice for a slightly larger HTPC, although there are better choices.

More interesting to me is that the price is what I paid for a Thermaltake V3 Black some time back. It looks like the costs of steel and plastic is being reflected across all products already and is only going up, iron ore having gone up 20% 6 weeks ago, and we all know what oil (plastics) is doing. Probably a good time to make a decision if one is in the market for a new case of any description.
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# may be "granny"xprocks 2012-10-18 04:26
you can tease it with name granny but i am working in a gaming company and all our system are having this cabinet. so may be they are "granny" but the games you play are manufactured in this :P
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# Why are computer cases generally ugly?Bill 2011-04-19 05:16
This case is ugly. Most computer cases are ugly and stale and a 70's look. I don't understand why?? The only case I have ever really liked is the Thermaltake Level 10 (##thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?S=1341&ID=2039) because it looks functional.
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# RE: Why are computer cases generally ugly?Olin Coles 2011-04-19 07:47
I don't think you really needed to link back to the Thermaltake website when Benchmark Reviews has already reviewed both the Level 10 and Level 10 GT in this same section. At any rate, different strokes for different folks.
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# RE: Why are computer cases generally ugly?David Ramsey 2011-04-19 08:01
Interesting that you like the Level 10. Many of my friends think it's hideous (although I like it, too). It's substandard cooling limits it's functionality, though.
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# an alternative choiceRealNeil 2011-04-19 06:56
CoolerMaster makes a '430 Black Elite' Case that also is very inexpensive. (the same price at Newegg) It has many more desirable features and enhancements than this case does. It's also much easier on the Eye than this case is. Although smaller mainboards and less expensive CPU's use less power and generate less heat, the 430 Elite is also a good case for something more powerful and has excellent air flow.

I feel it's a better choice.
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# RE: an alternative choiceDavid Ramsey 2011-04-19 07:52
Hm. Maybe Cooler Master will send us one.
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# RE: RE: an alternative choiceRealNeil 2011-04-19 20:22
I have one and installed an X2-Phenom 3.0 GHz. and a budget ASRock N68 chipset mainboard with 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM into it. I had an XFX Radeon HD6870 Black on the shelf and thought I'd try it out with that Card and was pleasantly surprised by the overall performance. The case cools quite well, has a bottom mounted PSU, a 140MM front fan, and a 120MM rear fan. there are spots for three more 120MM fans too. There is a plexiglass window if you have something worth showing off.
I like it for a budget case.
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# Wrong bay for the hard driveMister Krinkle 2011-04-19 07:28
Question: Why did you install the hard drive in the floppy drive/media reader bay? It makes more sense to put the hard drive below that, in the four-bay cage. Then the intake fan will give the drive some extra cooling.
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# RE: Wrong bay for the hard driveDavid Ramsey 2011-04-19 07:55
Good point. No particular reason, but as you point out, it would make more sense to put the hard drive in one of the lower bays.
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# CPU Cooler sizeTyler 2011-09-29 16:26
I've had a really hard time trying to find a good cooler for this case due to the 148mm size limitation. Most of the excellent affordable ones are 150mm-165mm. I also have not found a good way to search for Coolers by size. Is there a list of compatible coolers for this case or any recommendations?
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# RE: CPU Cooler sizeDavid Ramsey 2011-09-29 16:37
That's a good question, Tyler, and as far as I know the answer is "No". I imagine Cooler Master figured overclockers wouldn't be a market for this case and expected most people to simply use the stock CPU cooler.

If you need more cooling than the stock cooler can provide, my suggestion would be to use one of the many all-in-one water coolers available. Their 120mm fan/radiator assemblies should fit fine.
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# RE: RE: CPU Cooler sizeTyler 2011-09-29 17:47
Yeah that's what I was thinking myself however the panel fan and rear fan spots are for 80mm max. I'll probably just go with a low profile cooler like the Big Shuriken, or mod the cover/cooler to fit. Well it seems kind of silly to expose the backplate "for enthusiasts who want to change CPU coolers" and then narrow the margin of compatibility with such coolers. I bought this case because I wanted a good performance mATX case, but if I can't find a suitable cooler, i may just go with a miniTower and deal with the size or get the elite 341 since it has a 120mm fan spot in the rear.
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# RE: RE: RE: CPU Cooler sizePorts 2012-01-29 06:24
You could put the radiator in front with the 120mm fan, although I'm not quite sure if the tubes would reach the socket.
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