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  • IlllI - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    this thing is hideous!
  • dave1_nyc - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Maybe it just doesn't photograph well, and of course beauty is in the eye....

    Maybe it just doesn't photograph well.
  • mlmangum - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Yikes, that thing is uggo... course everyone's entitled to their own opinion. I prefer the understated, stylish aesthetic of the FT03-Mini over this. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Let be realistic here. It's a computer case and sells for $50.00. If your looking for a high-fashion computer case...then just pony up and pay more.

    What I find nice about this case is it seems it would be a good candidate for a home-server. It has the capacity to hold four drives (No need for Optical drive) and takes a standard PS.

    The only weakness I see is the thermals. An easy fix for anyone who has a dremal and decent fan/grill combo handy. Children (includes IIIII), ask your mother first before attempting.

    I modded an APEX MI-008 to hold four 3.5 drives (hang like four slices of bread in a toaster) and added a quiet 80mm fan that gently blows on the drives. Zero heat issues and its been running 24/7 for a couple of years now. This case would have been a breeze to setup with the same hardware.

    I'll keep this in mind as I'm thinking of using an AMD APU Itx system to replace my current Atom based MB.

    Good review, but the photos could due with being a bit sharper. Next time.

    Best wishes.
  • Scannall - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    But I'm sure it has a nice personality... Reply
  • mgl888 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Really? I don't think it looks bad at all. Nothing flashy but definitely not hideous. Looks rather clean IMO Reply
  • n13L5 - Sunday, August 26, 2012 - link


    and a blatant SG05 ripoff to boot

    both are kinda cheaply made.
  • davos555 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Just wondering if anyone has released any ITX Z77 boards -I think Asus has one P8Z77-I Deluxe. It's a bit too pricey thought, I don't need all the features (wifi etc). Are manufacturers planning to release more? Im in the UK, so if anyone has any localised info...

    I dont really want to go along the H77 route as I believe these don't offer multiplier overclocking.
  • Menty - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Yeah, there's the Asus one and an ASRock Z77E-ITX that I'm aware of, as well as a handful of older Zotac Z68 boards. Quite spotty availability in the UK, but you can find them somewhere usually :). Reply
  • Brenex - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    There is a Zotac Z77 itx board out on their site. Just got one in. Reply
  • Beaver M. - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Gigabyte and MSI still havent released new ITX boards, so I dont know how you can say that ITX is going anywhere... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Asrock, Asus, Zotac and Intel all have ITX mainboards with 1155 socket. You can choose from a total of 8 boards. Reply
  • Beaver M. - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    You dont get what Im saying.
    There are 2 big manufacturers that dont have ANY recent ITX boards and have actually discontinued all or almost all of their old ones. Remember how much ITX boards there were last year at this time? FAR more. Even Intel had several H67s and H61s. Asus had 2 H67, H61s, Biostar, Foxconn, Gigabyte, MSI, etc, etc.

    Last year I would have agreed on a phrase like this, but not anymore.
    Hell, they even offer more high end mainboards for $300+, that nobody buys, than ITX boards.
  • robinthakur - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    I'm also waiting on a decent gigabyte ITX to use for a Hackintosh, so would like to know when they are going to release one! Reply
  • Jeppeth - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Did you really mount the PSU with the fan facing up? The PSU fan has to fight natural convection and can't really help in evacuating hot air from the case. Maybe this could explain why the case did so poorly. Reply
  • Menty - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with this :/ surely the fan in the PSU is better off pulling warm air from around the motherboard rather than staring into the sky? Reply
  • JPForums - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Fighting natural convection isn't really a big deal with forced airflow. The air is cool going in and by the time it is heated, the high pressure from the intake fan is far more influential than natural convection. Just don't put it in a place where it is likely to suck in its own exhaust. Given a 120mm + 80mm intake and no forced exhaust, it is possible that pulling from the inside of the case may facilitate better airflow and lower case temperatures. However, the 80mm side fan provides fresh air directly (if less than ideally) to the CPU. The PSU fan may actually harm CPU temperatures by pulling air away from the CPU. The video card would have even less air directed at it. Ironically, it may actually work better in such a setup to cover most of the exhaust holes on the sides such that airflow is forced towards the GPU and PSU. It doesn't look like the case facilitates it, but moving the 80mm to the other side might actually be an overall improvement for setups with a PSU pulling from the inside. Fans wouldn't fight (as much), it would keep dGPUs cooler when present, and I can't see it being any worse on the CPU when a dGPU isn't present. Of course, the PSU's temperatures will undoubtedly rise in any setup pulling hotter air from inside the case, but it may not be that bad if the case temperatures drop significantly as a result. Reply
  • Nukemaster - Saturday, July 28, 2012 - link

    I would tend to agree with this, My SG05 temps are better with the PSU fan facing down.

    Even got a cpu heatsink the blows up towards the psu later.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, July 29, 2012 - link

    JPForums actually has it right on the mark, you grossly overestimate the importance of natural convection. If you look at SilverStone's rotated enclosure designs, they'll advertise that natural convection is part of what makes them work but testing on other sites has essentially debunked that: what makes them work is the fact that the fans (at least in the FT02) have a straight shot into the hardware. SilverStone's Temjin TJ08-E operates with the PSU flipped at the top in the same fashion, and it works just fine. Reply
  • Iketh - Sunday, July 29, 2012 - link

    Natural convection... you don't realize how minor that force is...

    And why would you want 2 fans fighting for the same air?

    That being said, I'd buy this case only to have the PSU sucking air from inside with a fanless CPU cooler...
  • philipma1957 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    The case looks decent in a htpc rack.

    problem is it is noisy.

    I use a sapphire hd 6670 ultimate video card. it is passive. = silent

    I use a seasonic 400 watt fanless psu = silent

    i use an asrock itx board = not cheap

    i use an intel i5 2500t cpu = low power runs cool

    i use an ssd = silent

    i use a 500gb 2.5 inch 5400 rpm hitachi = very quiet

    i use a samsung blu ray drive.

    this would have been a nice htpc machine in a rack ,but the stock fans are noisy.

    I need to play with it some more.

    the small 80 mm fan on one side is the problem very noisy.

    also using a low cpu cooler heatsink is a must.

    the cpu cooler blows right into the psu.

    I think if i had a psu with a fan and let it pull hot air out of the machine

    i could keep the machine cooler. maybe then i can lower the fan speed on the small fan.

    as for ugly the cooler master label is flat out not needed and is truly the worst part of its looks.
  • lwatcdr - Monday, July 30, 2012 - link

    Why an i-5 and an external graphics card for an HTPC? A Celeron or I3 T would be more than good enough for for an HTPC with a GPU. Or you could use an Ivy-Bridge i5 with the onboard GPU for lower cost and thermals. The only good reason to have an i5 and a GPU would be gaming. Also you might want to consider dumping the HD and using a NAS for media storage. That can be in another room and you can put as many big cheap drives as you want on one. Even something like PoGo plug will work for serving media. Reply
  • flparula - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    I've built 2 mini-itx systems. I used one of the older Lian cases. The case uses a full sized ATX power supply; but I only have used modular cable-ling. The last build used a all-in-one water cooler. Is there enough room to put a water cooler, e.g. Corsar H60 or Antec 620. Water coolers also fix a problem that low-profile fans run into with all of the cables (usual power supplies have too long of cables) a fan can hit the cable and stop cooling. No such problem with the water cooler. Reply
  • ggathagan - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Water cooling in this case would require some cutting and would almost certainly require you to mount both the fan and the radiator on top of the case.
    It would be possible to snake the coolant lines between the PSU and the GPU, but the length of the coolant lines might be an issue.

    All in all, you'd be better served with a different case.
  • cjs150 - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    Whilst I agree a different case would be better I think this case is capable of supporting water cooling, just a little imagination is needed. Remove the drive cage and use a slim line optical drive with room for one or 2 2.5 drives beneath it (or drop the optical drive). Take a 120mm radiator (140 may fit) and turn it 90 degrees so barbs are on the side. Use the new swiftech apogee drive and you have a watercooling system that can cope with the CPU and (probably) a low heat GPU. You can also use the water cooling hole at the back as a fill port so not entirely wasted.

    Personally I think it is all a bit too cramped for that but it is certainly plausible
  • KasiorMC - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    on forums someone posted one of these:

    is there any chance of you testing it in near future?
    it's roughly the same size, same price... only with different (better?) layout
  • adboelens - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    I have owned two mini ITX cases that had SFX power supplies. Both I found too noisy, while an entry level 300 ATX one can be almost completely quiet. I now have a Lian Li one and very happy with performance and noise level. Reply
  • Metaluna - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Yes it's a problem of trying to cram too much power dissipation into too small a space. There's only so much you can do with forced airflow before the fans get too noisy. Using standard modular components makes things worse as they aren't going to be tailored to match the case's layout and airflow (the author touched on this a bit talking about the chore of trying to cram ridiculously long PSU cables designed for a tower case into a mini-ITX case.) Reply
  • Guspaz - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Well, when you try to remove all the heat dissipated in a computer using 300-400 watts with a single 92mm fan (what the Shuttle SZ77R5 uses, because that's as big as they could possibly fit on the rear), you're going to have to spin that fan pretty fast to exhaust all that heat. And when you spin a fan at 3000+ RPM, it's going to get loud no matter how fancy your fan gets.

    I think they could have designed the SZ77R5 (and other similar SFF cases) a bit differently, though. For clarification, in the SZ77R5, the CPU's cooler is just a plate attached to heatpipes that connect to a heatsink that mounts to the rear of the case, and a single 92mm fan blows air through that, acting as both a CPU and case fan. If, instead, a 92mm fan was placed on the top of the case, a 120mm or even larger fan could be used, which would allow the same amount of air to be moved while spinning at a much lower speed.
  • PyroHoltz - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Get rid of the massive logo on the front. I'm not in the market to advertise for the companies I buy from.

    If people want the Cooler Master logo, give them a sticker.
  • Guspaz - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    It might be nice to see a review of the Shuttle XPC SZ77R5. I'll admit it won't drive a purchase decision (I've already got one), but it's a pretty impressive piece of kit. Somewhat similar in size to the case reviewed here, but with a better use of space due to a custom-sized PSU and motherboard, but at the same time, it still officially takes third-party mini-itx motherboards, unusual for a Shuttle.

    It's not perfect. Top-mounted videocard power plugs and the drive bay assembly require some effort to fit in the case, and there is a BIOS bug that causes the default "smart fan" to fail on the i7-3770k (despite a recent BIOS promising to fix this), but it does seem to be quite an improvement over the case reviewed here in many respects.
  • philipma1957 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    To follow up on the review.

    the 1 usb 3 vs 2 usb3 was a dumb move.

    the review called that correct.

    the case is very nice for 2.5 inch drives.

    the small trays are good.

    I am going to put a fan based psu in it .

    then play with the small side fan. it is really too loud.
  • Termie - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Thanks for taking a closer look at the mini-ITX designs out there. This is a nice one, at a fantastic price point. Looks a whole lot like a Silverstone Sugo knockoff, but that's ok - I love my Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E, but I know that SS sometimes gets away with charging a lot (too much?) due to the lack of competition. It's just a shame that CM didn't replicate SS's excellent thermal design. Seems like a silly design flaw that could have been avoided with better intake air flow.

    Two corrections: you say that the Elite 360 was one of your favorite micro-ATX cases. I actually use it as my HTPC case, and it is indeed a very novel case, but mostly because it is ATX, not mATX. Just thought you might want to update that. Also, you inadvertently left in some text from your GD-07 review in the testing methodology section.
  • nubian1 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Can't really say I like the look of this case and it has a big issue for me, It is not water cooling friendly. My main desktop is ITX based using the Silverstone SG05-450 with a corsair H60 in push/pull. The only advantage I see for the Elite 120 is that you can use a full sized power supply. Reply
  • thok - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Without 5.25” and front connectors but therefore cleaner looking Fractal Design Array 2 => Reply
  • philipma1957 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    The entire point of this case is it uses full size parts.

    many people want the dvd/blu ray and the full size atx. No logo in a rack and the face looks fine.
  • Grok42 - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    Very sweet looking case and on my short list for my next build. I'd love to see it compared to the Lian Li PC-Q16B which I can't find any reviews of at all. These are the only two cases on the market that don't have 5.25" bays.

    Who uses low density optical media anymore except maybe to install the OS once. With OSx, Linux and Win8 USB flash drives take care of that as well.
  • Solandri - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    I was shopping around last year for a SFF mini-itx case which could take 3 HDDs minimum, preferably 4 for use as my home RAID file server / virtual machine host. The only cases on the market which fit were pre-made NASes (e.g. Synology, QNAP, HP) which don't have the CPU power I wanted. I couldn't figure out why nobody seemed to make such a case. There were multiple cases which looked like they could take 3-4 drives if the manufacturer had made it just a little taller or just a little longer. But most of them seemed designed for single- or dual-drive desktop use as a primary computer. Why limit your case to only desktop use to save a half inch in height or length?

    I ended up buying a Shuttle case and wedging in a 4-drive tray in the empty space suspended by velcro cable ties. It works but I have to be careful moving it. I would've preferred something more like this Cooler Master - with an integrated 3-4 drive rack and something which could take my motherboard of choice (I wanted ECC RAM and a 5th SATA port for a small SSD boot drive).
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Chenbro has made 3 cases like that. My friend has one of the earlier models; he had a SATA backplane fail but it's otherwise been OK as a NAS server for the last few years.
    Most vendors are showing the first 2 models as discontinued, but the 3rd is available on Amazon and other sites for under $150:
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    They have 4 hot-swap SATA bays, btw. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    Hi Dustin,
    for your case reviews, could you please add a "removable filter / unfiltered" description to the Specifications matrix on your case reviews? Maybe in the 'cooling' section (or clone that section since some cases have filters where there are no fans).

    Thanks for the great reviews!

  • zorky9 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    You're wrong. The Elite 360 could fit an ATX. Reply
  • mgl888 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - link

    The assembly picture gallery is not working for me.! Reply
  • CosmoGeek - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    I'm thinking about using this with a single SSD drive.

    I was wonderring if the side fan bracket could be modified to hold an SSD instead of a fan. then the entire drive cage could be removed to improve airflow. Also, it seems like the airflow might be better if the PSU were not mounted upside down.

    I think I would use the COOLER MASTER GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 CPU cooler. One of the Newegg reviewers said it fits.

    With these mods, an i7-3770s (65W) CPU, and no video card, it seems like there shouldn't be a thermal problem.
  • ypsylon - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    Do we need it? I guess not. Certainly going back to the original question mATX is more flexible option. mITX is mostly for low level HTPC, primitive home servers (if there is enough space for more than 1 hdd), etc. mATX offers much more without ridiculously cramped boards/cases. There is a niche part of the market for mITX, but from my point of view I can't see me choosing mITX over mATX any time soon. In truth I believe in large boards XL-ATX, EATX, it is my bread and butter, but for a server builds in confined spaces mATX trumps mITX in every way. Reply
  • philipma1957 - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    having built some very nice mATX cases and just finishing this build. I Agree.
    An Asus maximus v gene mobo in a good mATX case is better in every way but one; Size
  • just4U - Saturday, July 28, 2012 - link

    I am a fan of those gene boards and recently had a oportunity to build a setup with the new Gigabyte M3s (the gene competition) Very nice boards. I'd pick either or over an itx option anyday. Reply
  • 7amood - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    hey dustin
    I want to know your thoughts on this
  • 7amood - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    in combination with this... if possible
  • CosmoGeek - Friday, July 27, 2012 - link

    Wish you could put your own PSU in that thing. I think the PSU up front makes for the most space efficiency. 180mm case fan in a mini-ITX case, nice! Reply
  • Grok42 - Saturday, July 28, 2012 - link

    Great review. I'm really glad to see any and all reviews of mATX and mITX cases as I think they are the future of all my builds. As I said elsewhere in the posts, I would love to see any cases that don't have 5.25" bays reviewed as there are so few and no one reviews them.

    I think you were spot on that mATX has suplanted ATX and mITX has taken over as the board to buy if you want a small rig. USB2, USB3 and eATA along with a steady push to integrate graphics, network, sound and wireless onboard has killed any need for expansion slots. USB flash sticks and fast internet have killed the need for optical drives and therefore 5.25" bays. Finally, multi-core processors have removed the need for multiple sockets.
  • max347 - Sunday, July 29, 2012 - link

    Great cable management Reply
  • CosmoGeek - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    To Improve airflow, I would like to remove the HDD/SSD cage. However, I want to keep the 5.25 drive bay. Are these two rivited together? Is it all bent from one piece of metal? are they welded together? If the cage is removed, does the 5.25 drive bay enclosure still have sufficient support? If the cage were removed, could it be put back in later?

    I don't mind drilling out rivits, using a nibbler, or sawing, but my ability to do metal work is limited. I would appreciate any opinions on this from people that actuall have one of these cases. Thanks.
  • Cynold - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    Maybe my mod could give you idea on how to improve the airflow. I used a corsair H60 to cool my processor to take away the heat from a very confined CPU area on the board. I did mod the DVD drive bay as a mounting pad for the H60 radiator. I drilled holes on the drive bay plate for the fan to draw air from the intake fans below (I added one on the right side facing the HDDs) . I drilled another 120mm hole on top of the case cover to exhaust the hot air. You might wanna check these link of my system. I hope this would help you.
  • Cynold - Monday, August 13, 2012 - link

    Thde 5.25 drive bay is supported by the HDD/SSD Cage and also it hangs on the brace at the same time. It is riveted on the HDD cage and screwed on the braces on the upper part. You can remove and put it back together using rivets/screws Reply
  • Cynold - Friday, August 10, 2012 - link Reply
  • c-bi - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    nice mod Cynold !!

    I searching a way to put a H2O 620 inside :)
    Did you put the H60 rad in place of the optical drive ?
  • MaromG - Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - link

    Hi! Could I install 3 HDDs inside?
    I only want to install 3.5 inch drives.
    Can I use the default 2x3.5 inch bays and instead of the CD-ROM drive, install a 3.5 inch HDD using an adapter? It's a crucial point for me in deciding if I want to buy this product of not.

  • Silenzio - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    "Whatever air that does get through seems like it may also be slamming up against the drive cage, at least if the abnormally high temperatures on the SSD during our GeForce GTX 560 Ti test are any indication."

    An additional cooler can be attached at the back of the drive cage making a fair air flow performance. Congratulations, dear Anandtech. This is the best miniITX case considering price/performance ratio and you failed to make a reasonable review of it because of this tiny - little issue...
  • nakabaka - Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - link

    I know this is an old link, but I've been looking for a good mini-ITX case for a decent enough build. Witht he new 65W quad-core i7's out these days, think that would fit with say, a low-profile nVidia 640? Also I am planning to use one of those mini-ITX boards with the mSATA feature to reduce cable clutter. Reply
  • nakabaka - Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - link

    Oh, and in addition to that comment I just posted, MY favorite mATX case of all time was that sweet little Elite 341. True it doesn't have much room in liu of hard drive bays, but I really only use 1 SDD these days, used to only use 1 HDD for my needs. The four 120mm fans without a drive cage to block intake flow from the front was beastly, and I still have two of those cases around. Reply
  • jimbob343 - Monday, July 14, 2014 - link

    I have recently bought this case as I wanted a good looking small system to put on my desk that could take a full size GPU... and.... I've managed it...

    The photo taken with the ugly blu-ray drive doesn't do it justice.. and cooling...well...
    Change the fan on the side so it pulls in air into the case, the front fan removed for the water cooling FAN to the CPU which creates a lot more space in the case. Also add an extra fan on the side to pull more cool air in

    PSU is pulling the warmer air out of the case and circulating!

    A10 -7850k CPU
    Coolermaster seidon 120v
    GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XN motherboard
    EVGA GTX 780
    G-Skill Ripjaws X 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 PC3-14900 1866MHz
    Crucial CT240M500SSD1 SSD Hard drive
    Seagate 1TB Hard drive

    Case temp is 30, CPU is 30 on idle, 51 on full load! I'm no expect but I can live with these temps for what I have in it!
  • MaromG - Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - link

    Hi! Could I install 3 HDDs inside?
    I only want to install 3.5 inch drives.
    Can I use the default 2x3.5 inch bays and instead of the CD-ROM drive, install a 3.5 inch HDD using an adapter? It's a crucial point for me in deciding if I want to buy this product of not.

  • jimbob343 - Monday, July 14, 2014 - link

    Update.. Had Windows Update running so wasn't idle... Idle temp is 20c.
    Full load playing Titanfall on Insane quality.. 50c
  • wintermute000 - Saturday, August 09, 2014 - link

    Yes I completely believe you that you can chuck a 100W card and a 95W CPU in there and get better performance than the reviewer in a tiny shoebox case with no clearance or airflow or ability to install a 'real' cooler. sure. Reply

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