Cooler Master Gladiator 600 Reviewairman - September 6, 2009
» Discuss this article (0)
Opening the case is easy, as both side panels are held in with two thumbscrews in the rear. Once inside, you’ll notice that the case houses five external 5.25" bays and five internal 3.5" bays. The tool-less system on the 5.25" bays is nice, but since it only secures one side of the drives, a screw or two on the unsecured side may be necessary. If a fan controller or another short 5.25" accessory is used, you’ll probably need to do this, as a fan controller already lacks the larger area for more friction and stability that a full-sized optical drive has. Forward and rear facing hard drive configurations are possible; turning hard drives around allows for fewer wires to be seen. Headers for the front power include power and reset switch, power and activity LEDs, USB, audio, and eSATA. The expansion slots are also tool-less. I'm not usually a fan of tool-less expansion slots because they never get along with the built in coolers of the newer, larger video cards. They work fine for smaller cards though.
The fan included is a 140mm fan attached to the top, factory-installed as an exhaust (upward facing position), and has a 3-pin connector, but includes a 3-pin to 4-pin adapter. The rear label states that it is runs on 12v and has a .14A current draw. Included accessories are a 5.25" to 3.5" external bay adapter, five pairs of tool-less hard drive clips, a motherboard speaker, and the usual bag of screws. The tool-less 5.25" drive bays work similarly to most others; slide the drive in, line the face up flush with the front of the case, and then slide the lever over until it is all the way into position. A secondary slider is on the main slider, which locks the main lever in position.
One extremely convenient feature of the case is the cut out behind the motherboard tray, right behind the CPU socket. This makes installing large heatsinks that bolt down a breeze. Without the cutout, changing a heatsink would require removing the motherboard to have direct access to the rear in order to place a retaining bracket and tighten the nuts down. Even though the interior is unpainted, it still looks good. For the price, I didn’t expect it to be painted anyways. The case does lack holes for an external watercooling loop, which a lot of case manufacturers have been including recently. All the edges are rolled to ensure safety against sharp edges; I was unable to find a way to get cut by this case.
As you can see above, this is what can happen if you try to use the expansion slot clamps on a large video card; the weak plastic just pops out from the hinges. I ended up removing them all and using the fail-safe screw method shortly after these pictures were taken. To install a hard drive using the tool-less system, take two of the plastic rails and slip them on to both sides of the drive. Holding the plastic rails securely to the drive, slide the drive onto one of the tracks of the cage, and keep sliding it until it clicks. To remove the drive, pinch the tabs sticking out past the front of the drive and it slides right out.
The PSU is bottom-mounted and the screw holes allow it to be flipped either way, which is nice. If you are wiring-conscious, this allows you to flip the PSU so the power cables can be closer to the wire management hole below the motherboard. There is a vent directly below the power supply, but it won't really do much good unless the power supply is oriented so that its intake fan is on the bottom. In my case, it is not.
The hole beneath the motherboard tray was thoughtful, but if more than a few cables are pulled through there won’t be enough room to close the side panel. There is maybe half an inch between the tray and the side panel and it would have been nice to have another quarter of an inch of room to work with. There is no way the main 20/24-pin connector will fit through and allow the side panel to be easily attached.
It is now time to take a look at the specifications and then dive into testing and results.