Coolermaster Centurion 5 mid-tower case

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The interior volume of the Centurion is uncramped and easy to work in, if a bit Spartan in the detailing. In keeping with Cm's reputation, the fit and finish is quite nice, with all the obvious metal edges having been rolled or deburred.

All of the drive bays are tool-less, utilizing a sliding plastic mechanism to lock them in place. For the internal HDD bays a sheet metal clip on the far side provides a friction fit. While quite secure, the rigid attachment does not lend itself easily to decoupling. The internal 3.5" bay rack extends fully to the floor, eliminating one of the preferred locations for resting an HDD. Suspending the drive in one of the five 5.25" is the next likely location, although that does move the drive out of the air stream from the 80mm intake fan. It's also possible to suspend two hard drives on edge in the bottom 3.5" rack.

The intake fan is a 80mm Coolermaster branded unit. A search for the model number turned up no matches, but with a labeled amperage of 0.06A, it's safe to assume it to be a fairly low flow model. While the amperage may imply low airflow, listening showed the fan to be noisy. At 12V it has a distinct buzz, with a very noticeable whirring, rasping bearing noise. It's bad enough that the testing was actually stopped to check to see if a scrap of paper had become lodged inside the hub. That was not the problem. While raucous at full voltage, drop the voltage below about 9V, and the whirring dies away, the buzz diminishes, and it becomes a fairly well behaved fan. Most likely it will find use either at the lowest of voltages, or not at all.

The tool-less-ness continues at the PCI slots, with all-plastic clips doing the securing. Unlike several other tool-less PCI slots, the Centurion's still maintains the options of using conventional screws in addition to the plastic clip. That's a nice touch.

The mainboard tray is not removable, but does have its own nifty little feature: the standoff holes are labeled... and labeled correctly! Not exactly mind-blowing, I know, but sometimes it is the little things that make a case easier to use. Not having to do the "mainboard shuffle" to get all the standoffs in the right locations is right up there with sliced bread.

After hearing the front 80mm fan, the 120 in the rear was powered up with much trepidation; after all, it lists the same 0.06A rating as the 80mm. Thankfully, this is a much different fan. In a side by side comparison with the reigning champion of 120mm fans, the Nexus, this Coolermaster put in a respectable showing: Louder, with a slight buzzing component, but blowing more air than the Nexus. The bearing noise of the 80mm fan is completely absent. This 120mm fan undervolts nicely, with the real sweet spot in terms of noise/airflow coming in the 7-9 volt range.

Rather than just hanging the PSU from the rear of the case as it typical, Coolermaster included the rare top-mounted screw holes. It is another nice touch. For PSUs that have the proper holes (such as many of the Fortron models and Fortron-made brands), attaching it to the ceiling of the case provides two benefits:

  • It helps prevent the possibility of the PSU rattling on its shelf, and
  • by connecting the PSU shell to both the back and the top of the case, the entire case structure is reinforced, reducing flex and the possibility of resonance.

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