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Cooler Master Elite 130 Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master
UK Price (as reviewed): £36.16 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $43.44 (ex. TAX)
Preferred Partner Price: 38.56 (inc VAT)

Cooler Master's first dedicated mini-ITX case, the Elite 120 proved to be a bit of a mixed bag in our review. It's design meant that despite its tiny dimensions (it's one of the smallest 'proper' cases we've ever seen), building a system into it was actually quite easy. It's price tag of less than £40 at the time was great, as was the fact you could use a full size PSU and graphics cards up to 34cm long. It was also possible to fit a 120mm radiator in the front and we've seen plenty of modded examples with even more elaborate cooling too.

However, it's out-of-the-box air cooling wasn't great with the CPU in particular getting pretty toasty due to lack of an exhaust fan and the limitation of a low profile CPU cooler. It's not entirely obvious how the case might have been improved either given its core design. But, Cooler Master has come up with a successor that claims to have done just that.

Cooler Master Elite 130 Review Cooler Master Elite 130 Review
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The aptly-named Elite 130 is actually slightly smaller than its predecessor, being a couple of centimetres shorter and nearly 3cm less deep, and is 200g lighter as a result. This is a development that's at odds with the usual progress we see with case sequels, which usually get larger. However, despite the lower volume, build quality is still excellent and there's actually just as much room for CPU coolers and graphics cards, which are still limited to 65mm/2.5inch and 343mm/13.5in respectively.

Cooler Master Elite 130 Review Cooler Master Elite 130 Review
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There's also no let-up in the amount of drive bays either. It still offers an external 5.25in bay, four 2.5in and three 3.5in bays, although these are shared (we'll go into more depth here in a minute). The overall design is fairly similar but the biggest and most welcome change is the fact that the front panel is now mesh-covered and not blanked off, which allows for much better airflow. Looks-wise we just about prefer the Elite 120 as the brushed metal panels did make it look less boxy, though frankly neither model makes for the most attractive case we've ever seen.

Cooler Master Elite 130 Review Cooler Master Elite 130 Review
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The front panel has had a small redesign and now includes two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port along with a single power and reset rocker-type button. The sides still include vents as does the top of the single-piece cover, with the latter providing ventilation for the PSU intake. Said PSU still sticks out the rear too, using an extension bracket. This is a necessary feature to make room for an optical drive, though we're not entirely sure why Cooler Master doesn't just make the whole case longer, potentially allowing for a larger graphics card too. Price-wise at time of writing it has yet to become widely available but Cooler Master stated a UK inc VAT price of £39.99, which is certainly just as wallet-friendly as the Elite 120 and a good £20-30 cheaper than the BitFenix Prodigy.

Specifications
  • Dimensions (mm)240mm x 377mm x 205mm (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 3.1kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, USB 2, stereo, microphone,
  • Drive bays 3 x 3.5in, 4 x 2.5in (shared) 1 x 5.25in
  • Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
  • Cooling 1 x 120 front fan mount (fan supplied), 1 x 80mm side fan mount (fan supplied)
  • CPU cooler clearance 65mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 343mm (single or dual slot only)
  • Maximum PSU length 180mm
  • Extras None