Cooler Master Gladiator 600 Review

airman - 2009-08-13 19:46:08 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: airman   
Reviewed on: September 6, 2009
Price: $69.99

Introduction:

When picking out a new computer case for your rig, a few things come to mind. Some of those things are price, looks, air flow and build quality. Many high priced cases out there with flashy designs and lots of extra plastic are usually more form than function, and can leave the end user disappointed in their purchase. Cooler Master has become notorious over the years for its well-built cases that perform well, especially with the extreme heat that the latest and greatest hardware can produce. In this article, I will be reviewing the Gladiator 600 from Cooler Master. The Gladiator 600 is an upper-middle end mid tower case that offers good looks and seems to have some nice features as well, which will be discussed on the upcoming pages.

 

Closer Look

The Cooler Master Gladiator 600 is packaged in a nicely printed, gloss finish box with nice graphics on the outside. The front of the box shows a nice quarter shot of the case. Looking at this picture alone, it's already obvious that the case offers a simple and sleek look without a lot of flashy plastic. The sides of the box show specifications, such as motherboard support, dimensions, etc. The rear of the box show pictures of its individual features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cooler Master Gladiator 600 is well protected between two large, flexible Styrofoam blocks and wrapped in a plastic bag with the usual package of silica gel. The case made it unharmed to my front door.

 

Closer Look:

Out of the box, the case looks attractive. Vents can be found everywhere you look and you can practically see through the back half of the case. The chromed plate on the front adds a nice accent and houses the power buttons as well as the front I/O ports. The paint looks like it is a powder coat, which is extra durable and has a nice, smooth feel. The only downside is fingerprinting, but I prefer the semi-gloss finish and it adds a nice touch in my book. The interior is not painted, but that's not too much of a concern to me. However, some people do like the extra clean look it adds. I prefer the money spent elsewhere in additional features. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The case is vented on both the top and bottom. The top perforations support a 140mm fan, as well as a 120mm fan, while the bottom vent under the power supply will just serve as a passive cooling solution. If the power supply is rotated a certain way, which will be discussed on the next page, the bottom vent can actually serve as an intake.

 

 

The Cooler Master Gladiator 600 includes the traditional front I/O ports (two USB, a headphone and microphone jack), as well as an eSATA port. Three buttons include power, reset, and one to control the lights on the front blue LED fan, which can be turned on or off. This was very thoughtful on Cooler Master’s part as some people do not prefer lights, although, through the perforated steel, it adds a nice glow.

 

 

The first thing I noticed while opening the case were the drive bay covers. They are made from perforated metal and each have foam on the inside, for both noise reduction and dust filtration. They don't flex so you can't wiggle them out from the front, the whole bezel has to be removed to pull them out from behind. It is a little inconvenient, but they are very well made so that makes up for the extra effort required in moving them around.

 

 

Closer Look:

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.

Specifications:

Model

RC-600-KWN1-GP (with side window);
RC-600-KKN1-GP (without side window)

Color
Black
Dimension

7.95 in (w) x 17.12in (h) x 18.89in (d)
202mm (w) x 435mm (h) x 480mm (d)

Weight

21.3lbs
9.7kg

Material

SECC Body ; Mesh Front bezel

Motherboards
M-ATX, ATX

5.25” Drive Bay

x 5

3.5” Drive bay

Exposed x 1 (when using supplied adapter)
Hidden x 5 (HDD)

I/O Panel

USB 2.0 x 2, eSATA x 1, MIC x 1 and Audio x1
(Support HD Audio)

Cooling System

Front: 120mm Blue LED on/off fan x 1, 1200 rpm, 19 dBA
Support 140mm fan
Rear: 120mm Standard fan x 1 (optional)
Top: 140mm Standard fan x 1
Side: 120 or 140mm Standard fan x 2 (optional)

Expansion Slots

x 7

 

Features:

 

 

 

Information Courtesy of Cooler Master @ http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id=19&product_id=2929">http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id=19&product_id=2929

Testing:

 

To test the Cooler Master Gladiator 600, temperatures will be recorded of the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and the overall system temperature during load and idle phases. Load will be simulated by Prime95 small FFTs and HD tune for 1 hour with maximum temperatures recorded by RealTemp, and the GPU load will be the maximum value recorded by Rivatuner after five loops of 3DMark06’s Canyon Flight test. Fan configuration is front and side (bottom position) 120mm intakes and top and rear exhausts. The data collected will have the same fan configuration with top exhaust if applicable.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gladiator 600 outperformed all the other cases in all the tests by a few degrees except for the hard drive test, which was surprisingly taken by the Elite 310. The rest of the results were rather flat, most likely due to the extra fans used during testing. On the next page, I'll wrap this up.

Conclusion:

For the $70 price tag, the Cooler Master Gladiator 600 is an exceptional bargain. It offers good airflow, sturdy construction, convenient features, and looks great. Cable management is easy, but could use a little more room on the back side, and the exhaust fan at the top doesn’t leave enough room for the huge coolers that are on today’s market. As pointed out in an earlier Cooler Master review, as well as this one, the tool-less design of the PCI retention used flimsy plastic and I had the same issue with them popping out on large video cards. A simple screw or two alleviates this problem well. The case is capable of fitting the large current-generation video cards with about a half inch of room or so to spare. I was very impressed with the construction of this case. It is very sturdy and withstood my weight standing on it without flexing at all. I love the look of it, and enjoyed going in depth and putting it to the limit. Overall, those looking for a mid tower case with an affordable price tag should definitely consider the Gladiator 600 by Cooler Master.

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons