Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX Case Review
With Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX Case gaming systems on the rise lately, it’s no wonder why more and more manufacturers are getting into the Mini-ITX market. Cooler Master is a name that I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with. They have been around for a LONG time and make TONS of different PC-related goods including cases, CPU coolers, laptop coolers, keyboards, mice, headsets, and the list goes on.
A year or two ago, Cooler Master came out with the Elite 120 Advanced Mini-ITX case that was small in size but big on room and features. Cooler Master has just released their latest Mini-ITX in the series, the Elite 130!
The Elite 130 takes the base setup from the Elite 120 Advanced and removes the internal HDD bays in favor of 120mm water cooling support. It also adds in a unique drive mounting system to make up for it. They were kind enough to send us one to check out so let’s get it on the bench for testing!
A Closer Look
The front of the Elite 130 looks similar to that of the Elite 120 Advanced, but the main difference is the mesh grille instead of the aluminum-style paneling. The Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX Case features a single 5.25″ bay sitting atop a 120mm intake fan.
On the right, we have a single USB 2.0 port underneath the power/reset button. The power LED is blue and resides directly behind the power button while the HDD LED sits between the USB port and the power/reset button assembly.
The rear of the Elite 130 looks almost identical to that of the Elite 120 Advanced. There is a removable PSU bracket (that’s also used on the HAF XB), a venting above the I/O plate hole, and a pair of expansion slots with solid covers on the right side. There are only three thumbscrews that hold the shell of the Elite 130.
The top side of the Elite 130 features a filtered venting area for the power supply intake and is otherwise plain black steel.
The bottom features four plastic case feet as well as numerous holes for drive mounting (more on that later). You can also see the hole to grab to remove the front panel.
A Closer Look – Interior
Looking at the right side we see the same removable 80mm slim fan carried over from the Elite 120 Advanced as well as the addition of a drive mounting plate just in front of that.
Here’s a close-up of the 80mmx15mm slim fan rated for 2000RPM and 20dBa. It comes with a 3-pin connector with a Molex to 3-pin adapter. This will provide a little extra airflow over your board. The fan and its bracket are removable should you choose not to use them.
The hardware bag contains all the necessary parts you’ll need to install a system into the Elite 130. The rubber grommets are for mounting your drives and are held in place with either the coarse-threaded screws (for standard HDDs) or the fine-threaded screws (for SSDs).
The SSD screws are packaged in their own separate bag so you can easily tell them apart. There are also four motherboard stand-offs with an installation tool and various black screws for securing your devices.
Read our other article on the Thermaltake Core V1 mITX Case Review to know about other PC cases.
The first thing to do is to install the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer into the front intake area. The 120mm radiator fit with both fans in a push/pull configuration with no problem.
Here is a close-up of how the rubber grommets and screws are installed to your HDD/SSD. You will utilize the bottom mounts for the Elite 130, not the side mounts you’d typically use with 99% of the cases on the market.
I chose to mount the HDD to the side bracket because I was installing an ODD and with the Thermaltake cooler installed in push/pull it made room tight on the base of the case. You can see here how the grommets work. Simply place the drive with the grommets facing through the holes and slide it to the smaller end of the hole to lock it in place. This will also double as a vibration damper for your HDDs – perfect for HTPC setups.
Now our Enermax Platimax 1200W PSU is LARGE, yet it fits with plenty of room between it and the ODD. This is thanks in part to the extended PSU mount on the back of the Elite 130. Using a smaller PSU will most definitely give you even more room here as well.
Cable management in the Elite 130 is far from ideal, but that’s what you come to expect when working in small Mini-ITX cases. Despite this, you can see here that even with the 120mm radiator mounted, there would still be room for a monster double-slot GPU like a Radeon 7990 or GTX 690.
Making room for a 120mm AiO CPU cooler was a great idea. In settings where noise is a concern (like HTPC usage), this can help keep the overall system noise to a minimum as most CPU air coolers for Mini-ITX setups tend to be on the noisy side due to their small size.
All in all, Cooler Master definitely has a winner with the Elite 130. Improving upon the Elite 120 Advanced chassis they removed the HDD mounting system in favor of supporting 120mm AiO CPU coolers and also swapped from one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 to one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 – both a sign of the changing times in the PC world.
Cooler Master also created a unique HDD/SSD mounting system, seeing how the typical rack system found in the Elite 120 Advanced was now long gone. One thing didn’t change though and that’s the price – the Elite 130 has the same $49.99 MSRP as the previous generation Elite 120 Advanced.