Cooler Master Elite 310 Reviewairman - September 1, 2009
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Opening the Elite 310 is easy, thanks to the included thumb screws on the side panels. Once inside, a clean and simple interior presents itself. The optical drive bays and the PCI slot covers are the tear out type, which means they’re held in by a little leftover metal from the cutting process and only requires a little bit of wiggling to get them out. Once they’re out, they don’t go back in. This is common for the optical drives, but I haven’t seen this as much for the PCI slot covers anymore.
Inside the Elite 310 is room for four 5.25" bays, two external 3.5" bays and five internal 3.5" drive bays. Included is a rear 120mm exhaust fan above the PCI slots. The fan has a 3-pin header and includes a 4-pin adapter. The area beside the PCI slots is perforated, which allows for additional passive airflow, although the small holes do seem restrictive and not as effective as they could be. I like to turn my hard drives around in order to have less wires showing. This is achievable in this case, but without right angle SATA power and signal cables, it’s impossible to slide the drives far enough back to allow the screw holes to line up. I tucked the wires as best as I could, but the case itself had nothing in place to help with wire management. There is only about an inch between the stock heatsink and the power supply, which doesn’t leave much room for some of the enormous coolers on the market today. To narrow it down, any coolers that extend more than half an inch past the top of the motherboard will not fit.
Included accessories are pretty slim; one bag of screws, one bag of zip ties, and the rear 120mm fan, which is factory-installed as an exhaust fan. It runs off of 12v and has a 0.16A current draw. The fan includes a directly attached 3-pin connector, as well as a 3-pin to 4-pin molex adapter. The case includes a small tab of metal that sticks out through the side panel in the rear that you can put a lock through. This is useful for the LAN party goers, because when the lock is in place, the side panel cannot be removed.
The construction has impressed me so far, considering the price. I feel that Cooler Master hasn't taken the inexpensive route to save a buck anywhere on this case, but coming up, the case will be tested where it counts the most - temperature.