Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced

At AU$59, it's hard to complain too much about the Elite 120 Advanced's lack of flexibility. A mid-ranged system should be perfectly happy inside it. Still, unless you're space challenged, it's worth springing more cash on BitFenix's Prodigy instead.


7.0
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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


As components become smaller, and more things get integrated into the CPU, the desktop form factor shrinks down. We're at the stage where the diminutive Mini ITX is viable even for high-end gamers.

Cooler Master has thrown its chips in with the Elite 120 Advanced — a case that's slightly reminiscent of the old "shoebox" PCs from Shuttle, just a tad larger.

The power and reset buttons, and the USB 3.0 port. The other side has two USB 2.0 ports, and headphone/microphone jacks.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Given that it's not as large as BitFenix's Prodigy, the Elite 120 isn't as flexible in terms of what you can fit in. Your options are limited as far as water cooling is concerned: a single 19mm diameter hole is provided at the back. This isn't especially useful, and, considering that the internal drive bays aren't removable (at least without drilling out rivets), if you intend to water cool you're going to have to indulge in epic modding.

The 5.25-inch bay quick-release mechanism works well.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Getting inside the case is as simple as removing three thumbscrews, then lifting off the U-shaped lid. There's a grille on top, but this is for hot air escape only; there are no fan-mounting points. This is just as well, considering that your power supply is likely to be sitting flush with the top. It should be said that Cooler Master supplies no exhaust fan, nor is there facility to install one; it's essentially relying on a top-mounted power-supply fan to help with that job. You can optionally add a 120mm fan to the other side of the drive cage if you have room.

Larger power supplies can be fit in, thanks to Cooler Master's extended bracket, and you'll be able to jam in a full-sized, double slot graphics card as well.

The rear has an extended power supply mounting bracket, along with a single, lonely water-cooling hole, which isn't terribly useful.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

With all of this crammed into such a small space, you're going to have to be choosy about what HSF combo you throw in — there is, after all, only 70mm clearance between the CPU and PSU.

There are only two fans included in the case: an 80mm fan on one side, which can be removed, and a 120mm fan at the front to cool the drive bays. Cooler Master supplies three quick-release 3.5-inch drive bays (two of these come with 2.5-inch converters), and a single 5.25-inch bay.

An 80mm fan is attached to a mounting plate. The entire plate can be removed if the user desires.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

The 3.5-inch bays, two which come with 2.5-inch converters.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

Removing the 5.25-inch drive bay panel is arduous: you first need to remove the entire front case panel, then push in. The front itself features one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks.

Behind the front panel.
(Credit: Craig Simms)

At AU$59, it's hard to complain too much about the Elite 120 Advanced's lack of flexibility. A mid-ranged system should be perfectly happy inside it. Still, unless you're space challenged, it's worth springing more cash on BitFenix's Prodigy instead.

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