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Written by Austin Downing   
Sunday, 08 May 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Cooler Master Elite 371 RC-371-KKN1
Closer Look: Exterior
Closer Look: Interior
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Cooler Master Elite 371 Final Thoughts

Overall I found building inside of the Cooler Master Elite 371 to be an enjoyable experience. For $49.99 Cooler Master has provided a very open design that can molded to a user's need based on the equipment that they have on hand. Theoretically the Elite 371 can hold even the highest end of video card and coolers including the AMD Radeon 6990, and the Scythe Mugen 2 Cooler. Cooler Master has also provided plenty of room for cooling expansion with room for up to six more fans of the 120mm or 140mm flavor.

However everything is not perfect for the Elite 371 and there are some improvements that could be made. My biggest gripe with the Elite 371 is the lack of cable management that was given. Not only are there no openings through which to route cabling, the problem is further exacerbated by there only being 1/4" of room behind the motherboard. This means that not only will users be unable to route their cables, they will also be unable to merely hide their excess cabling. Secondly I feel that it would have been appropriate for Cooler Master to include enough tool less locking mechanisms for all of the 5.25" and 3.5" bays. Lastly, although this is a budget oriented case it would have been nice to include a intake fan in the front. This may add to the price but I feel in the end it will provide overall better experience for users.

Cooler_Master_371_Built.jpg

Cooler Master Elite 371 Conclusion

Performance for a case is all about being able to run cool and quiet. I found that one fan provided adequate cooling for the relatively low powered parts I used. Nonetheless I would not feel comfortable putting higher end parts in the Elite 371 without first augmenting the cooling ability of the Elite 371. Although the only fan included is quiet, the light nature of the case means that much of the noise that my hard drives made was reverberated to the outside.

Appearance is a subjective thing but I found that the appearance of the Elite 371 was something that I appreciated. With the matte black finish and simple exterior help the Elite 371 blend with many different environments. This is in contrast to the rather than the plastic, bright colored, visually obnoxious cases that many manufactures make.

The Elite 371 for the most part was built very well. The only two areas where I had a problem with the build quality were both the expansion slots and the 5.25" bays. These areas use break away covers that in some cases can either leave sharp parts behind or bend the case entirely.

Functionally the case was wonderful to build in and could easily accomidate the home NAS that was built into it. At the same time the ability of the Elite 371 to be able to take the largest of CPU coolers and video card makes this an ideal mainstream case in which to build a gaming machine. There are some areas that I would like Cooler Master to improve on. Most importantly I would like to see some form of cable managment to be included in the next interation of the Elite 371. At the same time it would be nice for Cooler Master to include enough tool less mechanisms to fill all of the 5.25" and 3.5" bays.

Priced at $49.99 the Cooler Master Elite 371 brings many features to the table while not breaking the bank and at the same time leave lots of room for expansion. This means that a user can start with a cheaper case and slowly upgrade it with new hardware and fans as needed.

At last we have a final verdict on the Elite 371. Overall the Elite 371 provides great space for a user to grow, allowing users to adding more cooling, bigger video cards, and the biggest of CPU coolers without breaking the bank. At the same time it is priced well at $49.99 providing all of these great features while staying within many users budget. There are some flaws with the Elite 371 though, the biggest being that the Elite 371 lacks any type of cable management meaning that user will quickly have rats nest of cables at the bottom of the case even with a modular power supply. None the less the Elite 371 is a wonderful mainstream case and that is why it has been awarded the Benchmark Reviews recommend product badge.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval

+ Easy to build with
+ Nice entry-level price
+ Sturdy tool-less locking mechanisms
+ Well made full steel construction

Cons:

- Break away covers for expansion slots and 5.25" bays
- Very little suppression of noise
- Cable Managment is nonexistent

Ratings:

  • Performance: 8.50
  • Appearance: 8.50
  • Construction: 8.50
  • Functionality: 8.00
  • Value: 9.00

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.

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Comments 

 
# RE: Cooler Master Elite 371 RC-371-KKN1Robert17 2011-05-09 15:51
O.K. case I guess. I opted for the Coolermaster HAF 912 a couple of weeks ago for a build, paid $60 + tax. Has the features you mention as missing from the Elite 371 for only $10 more. Came with three fans, did some moving around, added a 200mm up top and made up a nice build for a wedding present (yes, the 912 has a military or goth look to it, but they're kids, to me anyway) and I'm now EMPTY NESTING !!

It looks like Coolermaster is trying to fill every niche and void in their line-up.

Nice review Austin. Thanks.
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# RE: Cooler Master Elite 371 RC-371-KKN1Austin Downing 2011-05-09 18:37
No problem, very interesting I will have to check out the HAF 912. Looks like you can turn the empty rooms into a Man Cave.
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# RE: Cooler Master Elite 371 RC-371-KKN1Justin Smith 2011-06-03 13:12
Hey Austin,

I am really new to building computers and am starting one that includes this case. You seem to be really smart at this sort of stuff so I want to build my own computer for recording but I'm not sure what type of components that I want to go into this case. If it's possible could you please enlighten me with your knowledge and maybe make some suggestions?

Thanks
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# RE: RE: Cooler Master Elite 371 RC-371-KKN1Olin Coles 2011-06-03 13:24
Hello Justin: I think this would be the ideal discussion for our forum. Please visit forum.benchmarkreviews.com and start a thread asking for help.
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