by William Kelley on May 14, 2008 in Cases & PSUs
When the budget is tight and you have to have a quality free flowing case for that next gaming PC you are building, who are you going to give your money to? Once again, Cooler Master has a new release for under $70 that looks to be jam packed with the features you are looking for.
Today’s gaming PCs are red hot machines with red hot parts inside them. Keeping them cool is never an easy task. When you throw in multiple graphics cards and a Quad-Core CPU, you are really turning up the thermostat. From needing multiple case fans to using large heatsinks, your chassis had better be up to the task, or you will quickly realize what a poor decision you made.
Another major consideration is the ability to use water cooling. With the proliferation of water cooling gear and the fact that it has become quite easy to build and install your own system, case designers are beginning to take a serious note. Not only do we want to fit that water loop, we want it internal as well. Mobility should not have to be sacrificed over cooling choices.
Airflow is the other major aspect of case design that has to be taken seriously. You can have those flashy windows and pretty cathodes blazing away, but if your machine can’t keep itself cool, it will show you its own colors which won’t be so pretty. Fans need to be properly spaced and directed to where it matters most. A well thought out design will show itself no matter the price bracket.
Straight out of the box, the Centurion 590 is a very attractive case. It forgoes the flashy lights and fancy windows and gives you a no nonsense approach to fan placement. It should be noted that the side panel and top panel can hold 80mm, 92mm, 120mm or even 140mm fans for your pleasure.
I really liked the top panel’s ability to house dual fans. Heat rises so the ability to remove it fast is a huge asset for any case.
The rear of the case is standard fare with pass through for ½” OD tubing for that external water cooling setup. The 120mm fan comes pre-installed beside the I/O port.
I really like that the side panel comes ready for dual fans. Both are placed very well to cool vital areas of your machine.
Inside you can see that not only did they place venting in the bottom of the case so you could orient your power supply properly, they also made it possible to place a thin 80mm fan behind the CPU socket, to help pull even more heat out.
With a few well placed holes in the motherboard tray, wire management is a breeze. I was surprised as to how easy it was to hide most of the wiring.
I had to include a shot that shows how the entire front of the case is allowed to breathe and let in fresh air. There is an included blue LED fan on the hard drive rack (which holds 4 drives) that pulls plenty of fresh air into your PC. I also loved the placement of the power switch and peripheral connections.
I really want to commend Cooler Master for taking the time to place the vent in the bottom of the case under the power supply. Many cases with a bottom mounted power supply do not do this and you are forced to orient it with that large fan opening up just inviting a wayward screw or cable to drop inside the PSU where it could stop the fan or worse yet, short it out. Not only is it well placed, but there is proper spacing for it to get lots of airflow in while blowing all its heat out.
On the next page, we’ll take a look at installation, testing and then I’ll finish off with my final thoughts.