Cooler Master’s first mini-ITX case, the Elite 120, proved to be a decent enough case for PC enthusiasts and, to some degree, case modders. However, out of the box it wasn’t great at keeping the internal components very cool. The Elite 130, though, is a step in the right direction and addresses many of the flaws the Elite 120 suffered from.
The Elite 130 is a little smaller than its older sibling, measuring 240 x 207 x 398mm and weighing 3.1kg, compared to the Elite 120, which measured 240 x 209 x 401mm and weighed 3.4kg. Despite the smaller dimensions, though, the engineering involved has proved to be more effective at cooling the internal components significantly.
With a front 120mm fan installed behind the black front panel mesh and a further 80mm side-mounted fan behind a large grill cut into the case, there’s enough airflow to keep all but overclocked components reasonably cool. The front of the case houses two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, headphone and mic audio, power reset and rocker-switch design power button. The sides and top are all vented and finished in a matt-black steel, as is the rest of the case, with the exception of the front button and port panels, which are glossy black plastic.
Inside, the layout and design is very well thought out, with enough room for a full-sized PSU and graphics card if needs be. There’s a single 5.25” optical drive bay, three 3.5” drive bays and room for five 2.5” drives — provided you use three on the 5.25” bay, one in a side mounted bracket and one bolted to the bottom of the case.
With everything in place, there’s still a surprising amount of space available. With some clever cable management and placement of the drives, you can easily have enough stock cooling with the Elite 130 to build a reasonably powered PC.
Saying that, though, there’s not a lot of room for more advanced cooling methods. There are a few examples of individuals modding the Elite 130 to accommodate more outré cooling solutions, but without having to significantly enhance the case, you’re going to be a little limited with what you can achieve.
You could limit the number of components inside the case to improve the airflow and cooling, but in those extreme cases you’ll probably want to use a bigger chassis. For the most part, though, the Cooler Master Elite 130 does a really good job of housing quality components at a reasonable cost. And with a little creative internal management you can pack a pretty powerful PC into this reasonably small area.
Unless you require something a little more unique in our design, the Cooler Master Elite 130 will be an ideal mini-ITX case that will see you well into the future.