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Cooler Master Centurion 5 Cooler Master Centurion 5: We take a look at Cooler Master's latest case aimed at those with a budget.
Date: July 28, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

 

As you can see in the above shots, the hard drive and optical drive installations will require no tools.

How this works is the bays use lockable plastic rails. The rails are already preinstalled on the sides of the bays. Simply unlatch the the rail and slide the drive in the rails from the inside towards the front of the case. Once the drives reach their desired placement, lock the rails and you're all set.

For PCI and AGP cards, things are just as easy and tool-free. With the motherboard installed, you'll need to flip up the retention latch. Place the card into the slot and push the latch back down to secure it. The connection is fairly secure, but if you're ultra paranoid, you can further secure the cards by screwing in a Phillips head screw which the Centurion 5 accommodates for.

There are two case fans included with the Centurion 5. The front intake fan is an 80mm fan and the rear is a 120mm fan. The large rear fan would be an ideal spot for those 120mm radiators that are popular with many water cooling kits. The location of the 80mm fan is also well placed as it'll draw cool air over your hard drives.

One last thing to touch on is the power supply. As stated earlier, it's a 350W PSU, and is suitable for modest setups. There are 18A on the +3.3 rail, 25A on the +5 rail and 16A on the +12 rail. The +12 rail is a little low, but for the included case fans and a few drives, it should be sufficient. I would still consider a more robust PSU if you're looking into installing a peltier or high-end water-cooling setup.

Cooling Performance

Test Setup: Athlon XP 2600+, ABIT NF7-S motherboard, MSI CDRW/DVD, Albatron FX5700P Turbo, Maxtor 80GB hard drive.

Case temperatures will be displayed at both idle and full load in degrees Celsius. We'll be comparing performance against an Antec Super LanBoy and an acrylic case we have kicking around here.

All three cases do a fine job of keeping cool, but the Centurion does run the coolest between the three. In terms of noise, the case is fairly quiet, thanks to the 120mm fan rather than a faster spinning 80mm fan.

Final Words

Cooler Master put together a fine case in the Centurion 5. The case is fairly classy in appearance, and doesn't look like a "cheap" case by any means. Though we weren't too impressed with the 350W power supply, it is nice to have it included just in case the one you currently use is even worse than this one. The case is solidly built, and the cooling performance isn't bad at all.

What I was most impressed with was the ease in using the case. As a computer technician by trade, I often need often to test parts and swap components frequently. With the Centurion 5, in a matter of minutes I can do everything I want quickly and efficiently. Granted, the motherboard will take some time to remove, but everything else from expansion cards to hard drives are a snap to swap.

The only complaints we have of this case is a lack of a removable motherboard tray, the weight, and the extra steps needed to remove the front 5.25" panels. There is a fair amount of space to work inside the case, but we know many people swear by the removable motherboard tray. Being made of steel, there isn't much we can do about the weight, but moving it about is something you'll have to bend your knees for.

The case, as reviewed today, can be found for , with the power supply. There is a for about $15 more, but so far we have found none without the power supply. The price is pretty good nonetheless, and if you're limited to $100 or less, this case is worth consideration.

Pros: Good system cooling performance, tool-free design, 120mm fan, nice aesthetics.

Cons: 350W PSU has average specs, no motherboard tray, 5.25" panel removal is tedious.

Bottom Line: A nice case, and well put together. There are a few minor problems we'd like to see addressed in the future, but otherwise the case is easy to work with and priced just right. If you can find one without a PSU (which should be cheaper), it's definitely worth a look.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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