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Cooler Master Elite 343 RC-343-KKN1 E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Tuesday, 19 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

Closer Look: Exterior

The Cooler Master Elite 343 is a small, micro ATX ( mATX) computer case rendered in black-painted steel and ABS plastic.


The included accessories are sparse: a multi-language manual as a single folded page, several neatly-labeled re-sealable bags of screws, and a dozen or so zip ties (not pictured).


At the front of the case are two 5.25" drive bays and a single 3.5" drive bay. Below the 3.5" drive bay is the I/O panel, which has two USB 2.0 ports as well as microphone and headphone jacks. A space for an IEEE 1394 port is visible at the right side of the I/O panel, but the connector and cable are not included with this case. Just to the right of the I/O panel are the power and reset switches. As you can see from the image below, the front plastic is very glossy. The bottom front of the case is a metal mesh covering a non-removable foam filter for the included 120mm intake fan.


The left side of the case has a mounting point for an 80mm fan, with extra ventilation holes below. The fan mounting point is positioned to blow air on the CPU area of the motherboard, rather than the video card area, and oddly, only two of the four fan mounting screw holes are actually holes. The right side of the case is a plain black steel panel with no vents or other embellishments.


The rear of the case shows the power supply opening, a mounting area for an 80 or 90mm exhaust fan, the motherboard I/O area, and the four slots. Both side panels are secured by thumbscrews.


The bottom of the case shows four plastic feet and four screws near the front feet. The screws secure an internal drive bay assembly I'll discuss in the next section.


Now let's take a look at the interior of this case.



# 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 ( 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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