Our good buddies at Cooler Master surprised us once again. What was waiting for us at the front door? The brand new Cooler Master Elite 430 mid-tower case (MSRP $59.99), that’s what! It is always a great way to start off the day when you have packages waiting for you at the front door. We unpacked it like it was Christmas all over again, and got to work examining this new edition to the Cooler Master Elite chassis line-up. Now it’s time for you to see exactly what we found with the Elite 430.
Cooler Master’s quick introduction of the case:
“The Elite 430 Black was designed with an all‐black interior coating. Its main purpose is to give plenty of space for large graphics cards. The Elite 430 Black also features plenty of cooling options. A well-ventilated front mesh design keeps the hottest systems nice and cool. Elite 430 gives both value and functionality within an entry level mid tower. A large side panel window shows off an all black interior. A compact size hides a spacious interior support dual HD Radeon 5970, and large tower coolers. Elite 430 raises the bar for entry level chassis and modernizes a well-respected Elite product line.”
Once unwrapped, we find a nice black mid tower case. The drive bays are concealed behind a honeycomb mesh design. These seem to have become the standard on most cases. You can also see the easily accessible power/reset buttons and the front I/O (input/output) connections. Everything in the front flows well together and does not look “forced” so to speak. It is a somewhat basic design, yet very efficient.
Now you can get a glimpse of the big side window and some of the inside. The plastic bag comes with all of the motherboard stand-offs, zip ties, and a case speaker. You can also see the wires from the I/O connectors and the power/reset buttons. As you can tell, Cooler Master went with an all black finish to the case. You will also see the ‘Tool-Free’ installation on the drive bays by using the clips they provide.
A nice feature to the case is that they have a little “cheat sheet” engraved into the center of the motherboard tray (top left). It is there to make installing the stand-offs extremely simple and will take the guess work out. All you need to know is whether you have a Micro-ATX motherboard or an ATX motherboard. You can also see the honeycomb mesh bay covers from the inside. The smaller hole design is to help keep out as much dust as possible. Only time will tell if this is an effective way of doing so.
In the above picture (top left), you can see the very user-friendly addition of the CPU back plate cut out. This makes it a lot easier to change out CPU coolers by just taking the side panel off of the case and having access to the back plate. This is a great time saver, whereas in the past you would have had to take the motherboard completely out of the case to be able to change coolers that used different back plates. In the other two pictures you can see up close how the ‘Tool-Free’ drive installation works. It’s very quick and easy to install/uninstall devices.
With the pictures of the bottom and back of the case, you can see a few of the intake/exhaust areas the case provides. The expansion card slot area is very easy to work with. You pop off the slot cover with ease and you can install whatever expansion card you would like. Also, in the bottom right picture, Cooler Master has made available two access holes for water cooling. The top of the case is big enough to hold a single 240mm radiator unit. That is also a nice option to the case, because you will not have to drill your own holes if you want to run your water loop outside the case.
Cooler Master provided a quick look into how the airflow in the case will work. Take a look below to see how it actually looks in this detail.
With the above pictures, you can see what the Cooler Master diagram really looks like up close. With potentially six intake/exhaust areas in this case, it will be able to move a lot of air around. More importantly, it will be able to release the hot air outside of the case. A few of the fan areas have the option to use an 80, 92 and 120mm fan. This allows you to mix and match. It will also help if you have a tight space and a 120mm fan is just too big to go into that spot. You can get a smaller fan and still get some airflow instead of no airflow at all.
With the close-up picture on the top left, you are able to see just how small the dust filter’s honeycomb design is. We think it actually has a chance of keeping some dust out, but just how much? We could not honestly tell you, as we said before, only time will really tell. We also think that the design is better than using the actual mesh dust filters. Airflow is not as restricted, but this may come at the cost of cleanliness.
With everything installed in the picture above, you can see the tight fit. However, the dual ATI 5970′s fit just fine! This is great news for Cooler Master as well as the avid gamer. When the larger-sized cards started hitting the market, a lot of mid-tower cases were not able to handle the size. It looks like, for the most part, that is a thing of the past. The case is also deep enough to fit the rather large Cooler Master V8 cooler. What does that mean you ask? The size of the V8 is 120 x 128 x 161.1mm (4.7 x 5 x 6.3 inches). This means that anything on the market around that size will fit in this case without an issue.
We took out the drive bay clips so that you could get a closer look at what they really are. For installing drives, however, you do not take these clips off. You leave them where they are, slide in the drive you want to install, and then go from there.
Do you see any wire management options? We didn’t either! This was the biggest let down for us with the Elite 430. Maybe we were spoiled with all of the other new cases that we have seen with great wire management? Who knows! All we know is that once everything is installed, it becomes quite tight in there, and that is without anything from the PSU connected. Now there are places to conceal wires, but we do not consider jamming wires into drive bays wire management. This was a big turn off for us with this case, because it could of been so much better.
Overall, this is a well-constructed case. It has some really good features and is a step in the right direction for case construction. The amount of fan possibilities is a nice touch and they are positioned in key areas and will be able to keep the inside temperatures at a respectable level. The ‘Tool-Free’ installation for bay devices is always a plus. We are glad to see more and more cases going to this option. Another great feature is the cut-out in the motherboard tray. It allows easy access to the back plate on the motherboard and will significantly decrease installation times of new CPU coolers that require their own back plate.
However, in today’s market place, where all of the hardware seems to be pumping out more heat than ever before, cooling is extremely important. You cannot have proper cooling if you have wires everywhere blocking the airflow. Jamming the wires in the bay areas is not what we consider wire management. This has left a sour taste in our mouth for an otherwise great case. We guess the old adage is true in that ‘you get what you pay for’. Sadly, in this case, no pun intended, it rings true.
We still would recommend this case to our friends. However, it would come with a warning due to the lack of wire management options this case provides. If you do not mind wires jammed into drive bays or you’re a modder and plan on modifying the motherboard tray for wire management anyhow, then this should definitely be a case for you to consider.
The Cooler Master Elite 430 receives the TechREACTION.net Bronze Silicon Award!
For more information on this case or any other Cooler Master product, check out their website.