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Cooler Master Centurion Cooler Master Centurion: Cooler Master, pioneer of the aluminum cases, also makes nice steel cases geared towards the more frugal spender. Does the quality match up with their higher end parts?

Date: October 31, 2003
Manufacturer:
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Let's be honest with ourselves - as much as any hardcore overclocker revels in squeezing an extra 500 Mhz out of a CPU, when you take a look down at your kickass machine and you see a beige box, you know that you won't be impressing anyone unless they know what you've got going on inside your case. Even if you have a window, the average Joe is not going to pay much attention to your high performance beige box. In a world where Apple has cornered a good part of the computer market with flashy, colorful, and odd-shaped computers. The beige box just doesn't cut it anymore, which is why case modification became so big - cases are cut, riveted, painted, given windows, and lighted up to add some pizzazz to an otherwise boring case.

Cooler Master has been on my good side for quite some time now, especially after I reviewed their ATC-220B case, which I found to possess great cooling properties, a beautiful construction and a great case overall. Cooler Master has recently rolled out their CAC-T01, the Centurion - a stylish bi-metal (zinc coated steel) case aimed at the budget market; from the research I have done, I believe this case design was not licensed from another company, making this the first non-aluminum case that Cooler Master has built from the ground up (Their 710 was licensed from Antec/Chaintech/Chenming).

Specifications

Dimension L425 x W196 x H472 mm
Weight 6.8 kg, 15 lbs
Material Aluminum front bezel + Case 0.8 mm SECC (Zinc-coated steel)
M/B Type ATX; 12" x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.5 cm)
Power Supply Form Factor PS/2

Expansion Slots 7:
5.25" 4 (Exposed)
3.5" 2 (Exposed), 2 (Hidden)

Ventilation Front Intake: 80 x 80 x 25 mm x 1 (optional)Rear Exhaust: 80 x 80 x 25 mm x 1 (optional)
Additional USB 2.0 x 2; MIC x 1; Earphone jack x 1; IEEE 1394 x 1

As with every Cooler Master case I have seen, the case arrives with ample packaging (foam structural protection) as well as a large bag taped around the case to prevent scratching or scuffing.

As usual with Cooler Master's cases, only a small sheet of paper outlying how to take the case apart, and other things you might need to know about your case. It can be .

External Features

Weighing in at 15 lbs, this case isn't as light as some aluminum mid-towers (the Lian-Li PC65U weighs 12 lbs) although it isn't alone in its weight class (the Cooler Master ATC-220B weighs 15 lbs as well.) Considering that this is a steel case, I was impressed to say the least at the weight of the case, it's perfectly acceptable for the average LAN-goer.

As you can see the rear of the case is barren, the case does not come with a PSU; most aftermarket case manufacturers do not include PSUs with their cases.

There are 4 5.25" bays, and 4 3.5" bays, 2 of which are hidden. The hidden drive bays feature a removable drive cage that is held in place on its lateral sides by two screws.

The front of the case features a nice big (and clicky) power button. Below it are the power and hard drive activity lights (from top to bottom.) Below the hard drive activity light is a smallish reset button. All of this is squished in-between two oval shaped mesh-covered holes in the front bezel of the case for the front case fan.

Below the reset button there are a plethora of ports for you to stick peripheral devices into: 2 USB ports, 1 IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port, as well as a microphone and headset jack.

The feet on the case are plastic nubs, unlike the case rubber feet that are featured on some of the more expensive Cooler Master cases.

My experiences with this case have been the first time I have ever seen side panels lift up off of the case. The top piece is screwed on in the rear; once that screw comes off, the top piece can come off. After that, it's simply a matter of lifting the side panels up via their handles and pulling them out.

The paint on the case is somewhat glossy, but always diffuses the image it is reflecting (most likely due to a small texture effect caused by the zinc bonding, or an intentional textured paint job.)

Fingerprints are a large issue with this case, however Windex will take everything right off.

The rear features one fan grill which most case modders will opt to take off due to its fairly restrictive air-flow nature.

One other feature that I found interesting was the configuration of the AGP/PCI expansion slots in this case.

A look at how the PCI slots look from the inside (covered).

First a screw is removed, allowing you to uncover the PCI slots

Then a plate holding all of the expansion cards in place is unscrewed

Leaving you with the space-fillers.

AGP Card installed into the case.

A look from the outside of what the AGP card looks like in the case.

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