Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
With two cases under our belt from FSP, we have seen their high-end, and we have seen their low-end. It would only make sense that we also see something they have to offer in the mid-range of what is possible in mid-tower cases. The basic concept with the latest chassis we are looking at is to be very similar to the CMT230 while adding much more bang for the buck for their potential customers.
The next chassis in the line is the slightly bigger brother to the CMT230, and not only is it bigger it is wiser, has more interior space, and has learned a few tricks its smaller sibling has yet to figure out. This chassis does have a more aggressive look, yet at the same time brings a feel of elegance to the mix. There is room for better water cooling options, a new PSU cover is in play, and capabilities of hardware potential has also been increased. To be blunt, this is more of what we expected to see when we opened up the CMT230.
Middle of the road is never a bad plan when it comes to buying something new. There are those who always need to have the latest and greatest, as well as those who are on a restricted budget, but for the vast majority of the people, getting as much as you can with as little investment as possible is the spice of life. The CMT330 from FSP that we are about to dive into is a chassis that falls into the latter segment, and if you are out for an affordable design that holds a few surprises, this may be the case for you.
The CMT330 is billed as an ATX mid-tower, which is made mostly of steel, with some of the components made of plastic. At this time, it is only available in black, but like the CMT230, the CMT330 also sports a plastic side panel window. The front of the chassis has sharp corners, the majority of it gets a hairline metal finish, and ventilation is cut down to thin strips around the edge. The front I/O panel offers a pair of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, HD Audio, along with power and reset buttons, and a couple of LEDs. Dimensionally the CMT330 is taller at 510mm, it is 215mm wide, and is also 495mm deep. All told, fresh out of the box and internal packaging, the chassis weighs in at 5.6 kilograms.
Inside of the CMT330, there is room for Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, or even EATX motherboards, but to use the EATX motherboard, you have to delete the use of the pair of 5.25" bays. There is a cage in the bottom to house a pair of 3.5" drives on trays, but the trays will also hold 2.5" drives as well. There are also four other dedicated 2.5" drive locations too. At the back of the chassis, there are eight expansion slots rather than seven.
The CMT330 ships with three fans inside of it, all of which use a 4-pin Molex connection to power them. Each of the fans is identical, where the two in the front of the case, as well as the one at the back, are all 120mm in size and are illuminated by blue LEDs. Those wondering about water cooling options, the CMT330 offers more than the CMT230 did. The front of the case will accept three 120mm or 140mm fans, but the mention a 360mm radiator fitting and not a 420mm radiator. The top of the chassis is capable of three 120mm fans or a 260mm radiator, but 140mm fans and radiators are limited to just two fans or a 280mm radiator. The rear of the chassis can also house a single 120mm radiator, but that will depend if a thick radiator is used at the top.
With improvements in style, some new features found in the PSU cover, and room for more bits, on paper, the CMT330 is shaping up to be quite the contender. To help with the decision-making process, while many cases like this are in the $100 range, FSP can deliver this chassis for just less than $80. The MSRP is set to $79.99 by FSP and looking around to buy the chassis; we see much of the same. Everywhere we looked, including Newegg and Amazon, all show the chassis currently in stock, and they want $79.99 with free shipping to members in both camps. We are a bit more excited to see how the CMT330 plays out in the end, after seeing the downfalls of the CMT230. Hopefully, this is an instance where we can leave the old behind and move on to better and brighter things.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Code Z270 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: Team T-Force Night Hawk RGB TF1D48G3000HC16CBK
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: Samsung XP941 256GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
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