While very compact being the name of this game, Cooler Master is able to deliver a design that not only allows for a full sized power supply, but it has an ODD bay that we can actually use, offers plenty of locations for storage drives to fit any layout, and delivers all of this in an attractive package that is super light on the wallet. We liked that there are two fans supplied, and we liked that the PSU can be installed to help CPU cooling by running its heat through and out of the PSU, or you can flip it fan side up and draw much cooler air through the top of the chassis.
There are just enough tie points to keep the wiring under control, and we also liked that they were black and just disappear into the build. The last thing we really liked is that while most cases of this nature will not fit the HIS HD 7950, the Elite 130 took it, allowed the panel to pass, and because of the venting on the side panels, thermals there were not an issue. Of course, with such limited room for the CPU and its cooler, the added 80mm fan introducing cooler air for the cooler to use helps a bit, but still leaves that area a bit on the warm side.
However, with this sort of design, heat is an element that must be contended with not only by cooling, but with the total power of the parts being used as well, and knowing that, there is no reason not to try out this chassis.
As we sit and ponder if there were any downfalls to the chassis, the only thing we can come up with is the fact that even when this chassis is loaded with components, it did have a tendency to slide around. Outside of that, every part we put in the chassis went smoothly. From installing the standoffs, through the wire management, and on up to the point where we put the top on and reinstalled the thumbscrews, the Elite 130 has been a pleasure to build in.
The Elite 130 has so many options, soft rounded edges that won't make you donate DNA to get the build finished, and it sits there looking slightly aggressive, but still subtle enough to make for a great sleeper candidate. Considering what we were able to pack inside of here, I can see some serious power being packed into this chassis and being toted around, rather than some of the much larger choice for either the tech on the go or those wanting to spend three to five days in your own funk at a LAN.
Considering you can get the Elite 130 almost anywhere, and you can find it at a really great price, the only things left were the layout, which we liked, and the features, which there are plenty in a compact chassis like this. The performance in audio was good considering they do get some good airflow into this chassis with very little room to accomplish this. While the video card was fine, the limitations in CPU coolers may limit your overclocking potential, but will run our i7 2600K at stock levels in a comfortable range of temperatures.
All said and done, Cooler Master adds yet another great offering to the Elite series of cases, and with this Elite 130, it gives that growing market for Mini-ITX gamers out there yet one more option, but this time, one that is so affordable your wallet almost doesn't feel its purchase.
PRICING: You can find the Cooler Master Elite 130 SFF Chassis for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Cooler Master Elite 130 SFF Chassis retails for $49.99 at Amazon.