As much as people would like the super-exotic aluminum cases, the reality is many people cannot justify spending over $150 on a case. There certainly is a market for it, but for the majority of people, they want something that just works. At the same time, that doesn't mean these shoppers want something butt ugly, nor will they settle for something that limits expansion possibilities in the future.
Today, we'll be looking at a case that may be suitable for those who don't have the budget for a premium case, though we would hardly consider the Cooler Master Centurion 5 something generic. The majority of our readership will likely agree that the looks of your system is really important, but the usefulness of a case is something to also be taken in consideration.
Other than being well built, and fairly attractive, the Centurion 5 also comes equipped with a 120mm fan, making this case a good option for users that have a water-cooling kit, as many of the better setups need support for these types of fan.
||480 mm x 202 mm x 435 mm (D x W x H)
||Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis
|5.25 Drive Bay
||5 ( Exposed )
|3.5 Drive Bay
||1 ( Exposed );4 ( Hidden )
||USB 2.0 * 2, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) * 1, MIC * 1, SPK * 1
||One 80 x 80 x 20 mm Front Fan ( intake ), One 120x 120x 25mm Rear Fan(exhaust)
Cooler Master Centurion 5
The Centurion 5 arrived in it's retail box, with everything well packed and undamaged inside.
The box itself was a little worse for wear, but that can be directed at our friends at Fedex.
Other than the Centurion 5 case, inside the box we had a 350W PSU, a bag of case screws, a manual, rear I/O plate, and a power supply cable. I was hoping that Cooler Master would have packed a larger PSU with the case, but considering the price point, a 350W PSU isn't too bad.
The Centurion 5 is a full sized mid tower, with an aluminum front bezel coloured black and blue. The overall look is that of aluminum, but it is constructed primarily out of steel. This is how Cooler Master keeps the price down, at least when compared against their premium aluminum cases. The overall look is very clean, though it would have been better to feature black back panel for the buttons, as the blue sticks out a little too much for our tastes.
The bezel features a fine mesh which allows air to flow freely into the case. Behind this mesh is some foam. This foam keeps the dust out of your system, though you'd best be wiping it down now and then. Otherwise, the dust will begin collecting on the exterior mesh, and a dust bunny collection will be more obvious on a dark mesh than it would be on a silver one.
There are five external bays which is always appreciated. A smaller three bay case will cause problems if you have a number of components fighting for real estate on the front of your case. With five external bays, you can drop in a fan controller, an Audigy front panel, two optical drives and still have a free bay to spare.
Rounding things out on the front of the case are the buttons and input/output ports. The activity and power LEDs are blue, which is a fairly common colour these days. Located next to the LEDs are the power and reset buttons. At the bottom of the case are the two USB ports, a FireWire connection and a mic and headphone jack.
Now, I'm going to admit that I'm a bit lazy when it comes to reading case manuals. I ended up causing a bit of damage to the case bezel while trying to remove a 5.25" cover. What I normally do is simply try to push the panel out from the inside, but in the case of the Centurion, this is not the way to go.
As you can see above, you need to take the bezel off, and afterwards you can go and unscrew the 5.25" panel. Guess this just confirms... RTFM.
Now, let's move inside...
As with most Cooler Master cases, the Centurion 5 features a tool-free interior. You will need a screw driver to install the motherboard of course, but everything else is tool-free. There is no motherboard tray, which is a bit of a downer, but the case is fairly roomy inside and you shouldn't have any problems installing some of the larger ATX boards.