After an immense build up of anticipation, the Cooler Master USP 100 (MSRP $99) has finally arrived! It was like the first date butterflies all over again, minus the stuttering of the ice-breaking opening line. Without wasting anymore time on small talk, let’s break this thing wide open, shall we?
Cooler Master’s quick introduction of the case:“USP 100 (RC-P100) is a mid–tower that is created with enthusiasts in mind, built with the classic black body structure and a sophisticated touch of crimson. Combined with eXtreme Power Plus 550W, USP 100 is exclusively available for a fully featured performance solution. USP 100 comes with superior airflow design that supports up to 4 fans. The front is fully meshed and the PSU placed at the bottom is aimed to achieve the optimal ventilating environment.”
|Available Color||Front bezel: red / Case body: black|
|Material||Body: steel / Bezel: mesh and plastic|
|Dimension (W / H / D)||214 x 483 x 508 mm / 8.43 x 19.02 x 20 inch|
|Weight||Net Weight: 7.2 kg/ 15.87 lbs|
|M/B Type||Micro-ATX / ATX|
|5.25″ Drive Bay||4 Exposed|
|3.5 Drive Bay||6 Hidden
|I/O||USB 2.0 x 2 , MIC x 1, Audio x 1 (supports HD audio)|
|Cooling System||Front: 120 x 25mm fan x 1 / Red LED / 1200 RPM / 19 dBA (pre-installed)
Bottom: 80 / 90 / 120 mm fan x1 (optional)
Rear: 80 / 90 / 120 mm fan x1 (optional)
Side: 80 / 90 / 120 mm fan x1 (optional)
|Power Supply||Standard ATX PS2 (optional) INCLUDED: eXtreme Power Plus 550w|
Power Supply: eXtreme Power Plus 550w
|Type||Intel Form Factor ATX12V V2.3|
|Dimension (W / H / D)||150 x 86 x 140 mm|
|Input Voltage||110 ~ 115V / 220 ~ 230V|
|Input Current||8A@115Vac / 6.3A@230Vac|
|Input Frequency Range||47 ~ 63Hz|
|Power Good Signal||100 ~ 500ms|
|Hold Up Time||>17ms|
|Protection||OVP / OPP / SCP|
|Operation Temperature||5~40°C (Nominal Input Voltage)|
|Regulatory||Nemko / TUV / UL / CE / BSMI / FCC / GOST / C-tick|
|Connector||M/B 20+4Pin x1
CPU 4+4Pin x1
PCI-E 6+2Pin x2
Peripheral 4Pin x3
Floppy 4Pin x1
The packaging was pretty standard with the plastic wrap around the case and styrofoam for top and bottom support. However, it’s a very tight fit in the box to suppress any extra movement. The outside of the box has a nice little run through of specifications and features that you will receive with this case.
The picture montage of USP 100:
The front view of this case is one of the most aesthetically pleasing designs I have seen in a long, long time. The black and red color combination is always a very classy mix! The red honeycomb mesh covering the front bays is also a nice touch and is installed extremely well; it doesn’t rattle or feel cheap. This is a very big deal, because who wants to listen to a terrible rattle coming from your case due to poor craftsmanship? Not us! The I/O panel is located at the top of the front panel. This provides very easy access for quick use and it alleviates having to fiddle around trying to get to the back of your case. You also may be asking yourself “where is the power button?”. Well my friend, the power button is the actual Cooler Master logo that you see in the pictures above. It fits in quite well with the design and is better looking than the typical power/reset buttons you would find on most cases.
The outside of the case has some good features. The side of the case has a very nice fan setup where you can install an 80mm, 90mm or 120mm fan. Cooler Master has pre-drilled the holes for each of those fans, and it’s so elegantly done that you can not even tell, unless you study the side panel. The bottom is also very well thought out. They have built in two mesh grills for your PSU heat displacement and another place for an 80/90/120mm fan intake for more airflow. If you look closely on the bottom, you can see where they have pre-cut the installation holes for the 80/90/120mm fans.
This picture is what you will be greeted with once you finally take off the side panel to get inside this case. The PSU is already installed in the bottom and the cables are wrapped nicely. The cables from the top I/O panel were tucked neatly in the wire management clips the USP 100 has installed. The ‘goody’ box is stored in the hard drive bay to help keep it from flying all over and potentially breaking something. We were very pleased to see such a neat and orderly case on the inside. Some companies do not take care of their customers like Cooler Master does, and unfortunately, they just throw everything in the case without a 2nd thought.
With four 5 1/4 drive bays, it will leave you with plenty of room for future upgrades. The plates in the drive bays are easily popped off. If you decide to go the multiple device route, the hard drive rack has very accommodating five slots for them. This leaves you plenty of room to run multiple hard drives, or an expansive raid array if need be.
At last! A company that claims ‘tool-free design’ and it actually is! A lot of companies claim this, but they forget one small detail, expansion slots. It’s like “Oh, hi there! Our case has tool-free installation *mumble* almost *mumble*”. They always seem to put screws into the expansion slots, and last time we checked, you cannot unscrew them with your fingers, so therefore, it is not 100% tool free. Cooler Master’s thumbscrews in the expansion slots are, dare we say, genius! They came through with their ‘tool-free design’ claim, and we could not be happier. Moving on though, you can see the big cutout in the middle of the motherboard tray. This is another nice feature to the case and it is there for easy installation for the CPU mounting brackets or the changing out mounting brackets if you buy a new cooler. In the old days, you had to completely take the motherboard out to change the mounting brackets. Now, all you need to do is take the side panel off, and you are able to install or change out brackets with ease.
Cooling / Airflow of the USP 100:
With cooling and airflow becoming a big concern for modern computer enthusiasts, it is essential that companies pay attention to this once overlooked detail. Without the proper cooling and airflow in your case, your components may overheat or not run as expected. With this case, you can see from the picture above, that they have a well thought out cooling design. They have five areas helping to bring in cooler air to keep the temperatures inside the case as close to ambient as possible.
The pictures above show how the actual places in the diagram picture, which we took from Cooler Master. You can see the front intake area with the big 120mm fan in it. There are two possible 120mm intake areas on the side and bottom of the case. The back of the case is where the the air flow finishes circulating and releases that hot air out of the case. Another thing people sometimes forget are fan dust filters. Remember, the air that is brought through your case from the fans can lead to a lot of dust build up. The USP 100 helps decrease that by placing dust filters in the entire front panel. This is necessary because it will greatly slow down the dust build up in your system. That means more time playing on the computer and less time cleaning. Who doesn’t like that?
A big key to successful airflow in a case is the wiring. If wires are everywhere, and not neat and orderly, it will restrict airflow and raise the temperatures of your components. With the USP 100, Cooler Master did a wonderful job with cable management options. First, you have these retaining clips to help hold wires and keep them out of the way. Next, you have holes cut in the motherboard tray specifically to route your wires behind in order to come through those holes. This helps to keep the clutter in front of the motherboard to a minimum and also increases airflow. With as small as mid tower cases are, this case brings a multitude of options to help hide wires and/or keep them in place.
Reference System Inside:
Installation with this case is extremely simple. To install your drives into the front of the computer, all you need to do is pop off the front panel. It takes just a little pressure and it will come right off. Once the panel is loose, you can pop out as many spaces as you need for your drives. In the pictures above you can see how easy it is to take off the red honeycomb mesh front. Just push the black tabs back and they pop right out, simple enough.
Once you have your drives or fan connectors installed, it will look something like this. The USP 100 comes with a 3 1/2 custom bay so it stays with the design of the front panel with the red honeycomb mesh. I installed a 3 1/2 fan controller in there so you can see just how nice it looks.
A quick glimpse of everything installed.
Note: We did not have a CPU cooler around, except the stock Intel I7 heatsink. However, this case will support any heatsink shorter than 6.29 inches tall.
Now notice how nice and neat everything is? It’s all very orderly and looks very professional! Thanks to the well thought out cable management system, this was achievable with this case. There are no stray wires running across the motherboard or interfering with the case’s airflow either.
With the two pictures above, you can see the cable clips in action holding the wires out of the way. Also, at the bottom of the case you can see where we put all of the PSU wires behind the motherboard tray to hide them from sight. It is hardly noticeable at all going through the pre-cut hole in the motherboard tray.
Now you can see the tool-free installation at work! The amazing thumbscrews for the expansion slots are great time savers and easy to work with. You no longer have to go searching for a phillips head screwdriver when you are wanting to install/uninstall expansion cards. The drive bay clips were interesting to say the least. When we first saw them, we were wondering how in the world would these do what a normal screw does. Well, they actually do a very good job! You just need to line up the holes in your drive like you would with normal screws. Place the clip into the drive and turn the locking mechanism 45 degrees. Now, they are perfectly secure. We checked to make sure they were not loose and would not fall out if you moved the case around. The clips passed this test with flying colors and our drives did not budge but stayed safely secured in their spots.
How about a nice little “before and after” picture of what we think is the best feature for the case.
Now, after that comparison we hope you can see why we were impressed with the cable management system. It took what looked to be an airflow-blocking, wire-congested setup to turning it into a beautiful setup. Now, you can be proud of your case and its insides and show them off to everyone and not feel ashamed!
The USP 100 is a diamond in the rough. It is a well thought out case design with top notch craftsmanship to boot. The front honeycomb mesh panel will certainly stand out in any room or any event you may take it to. The elegantly painted red and black design of the case flows well together with nothing looking out of place. The dust filters lining the front panel are also a welcomed addition. Most companies will only put them over the actual fan slots, if they even put any in to begin with. Not Cooler Master, they went above and beyond with a whole front panel filled with dust filters. The thumbscrews in the expansion slots were great and we still do not know why more companies aren’t catching on to this trend; many are but they should all be doing this! It is a great idea and makes working with that part of the case so much easier.
If you have not guessed by now, we thought the best part of the case was the wire management system. The pre-cut holes were in perfect spots and the clips that came on the side were also a needed addition with helping the wires from the top I/O panel stay neatly in place. There was plenty of room behind the motherboard tray to hide the unused wires and connectors. The side panel fit on well and did not have that bulge you see in some other cases when people jam wires behind the motherboard tray. The eXtreme Power PSU was a nice addition also, however only the main 24pin power connection was sleeved. We wish they would have sleeved the whole unit to make it look even sleeker. Overall, we would not hesitate to recommend this case to any of our friends. With its sleek looks and expert craftsmanship, it would go well with any computer build and be a standout piece you can show off to your own friends.
For more information on the Cooler Master USP 100 or any other great Cooler Master products just click HERE
Thanks to Cooler Master for supplying this review sample!