Cooler Master Elite 130 Review


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Mini-ITX Case Final Thoughts

Hackintosh builds are well-suited for the mini-ITX form factor since SLI and CrossFireX aren’t supported in OS X. Since you can only have one graphics card, it might as well be a powerful one, and the Cooler Master Elite 130 mini-ITX case easily accommodates a full-length card like the NVIDIA GTX780. It’s also nice to see an m-ITX case with a full-sized 5.25″ bay, since this feature is increasingly rare as optical drives begin to fade away like the floppies of old.


No mini-ITX case is going to have very much room inside, and while the system I built– with its three drives, optical drive, card reader, 120mm water cooler, and full-length graphics card– stretches the boundaries of what most would consider reasonable for an mITX system, the Cooler Master Elite 130 handled it all pretty well.

Removing the drive cage used in the Elite 120 Advanced made this possible, but the tradeoff was an ad-hoc drive mounting system that makes cable management a nightmare. Admittedly, for most builds with only one or two drives, this will be less of a problem. I do plan to make another pass at cable management at some point, but for now, things are functional.

Cooler Master Elite 130 Computer Case Conclusion

Like its Elite 120 Advanced forebear, the Elite 130 mITX computer case is a fantastic blend of features, quality, and low price. It’s my new favorite in mini-ITX case, if only because it’s the smallest production case I know of that you can actually install a water cooler in. The only thing I can complain about is the cable management problems that come with multiple internal drives.

Performance of the case was excellent. I couldn’t overclock at all in the CM 120 Advanced, since I was limited to using a low-profile cooler. Now I can use a water cooler.

The appearance of the case is pretty bland: it’s a black cube. You can spice it up a bit by replacing the stock front fan with an LED unit, but it’s still going to be a black cube. The brushed metal accents at either side of the mesh front are the only aesthetic touch on the case.

The black steel construction of the case is very sturdy. If you look at some of the interior images, you’ll see a thin black brace across the middle top of the chassis. Although it’s only a few millimeters thick, this brace is easily strong enough to serve as a handle to carry a fully loaded system (with the cover off).

This case may be the most functional mITX case in existence when you take “bang for the buck” into account. It can handle up to five internal drives, or three internal drives plus an optical drive; it accommodates a water cooler, full-sized ATX power supplies if you are so inclined, and full-length graphics cards, all while remaining quite compact. The one functional thing I can nick it on is the cabling problems engendered by the drive mounting system.

Value-wise, this $49.99 (Amazon | Newegg | B&H) is a real winner. You simply won’t find another mITX case at this price point that offers this array of features and functionality. If you’re looking at building a high-end or gaming m-ITX system, this will be the best $50 you’ll spend.


Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Accommodates 120mm closed loop water cooler
+ Can use full sized ATX power supplies and full length graphics cards
+ Full-sized 5.25″ drive bay
+ Three front USB ports
+ Aggressively priced


– No intake air filter
– Drive mounting system makes cable management problematic for more than two drives


  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 8.00
  • Construction: 9.25
  • Functionality: 8.75
  • Value: 9.75

Final Score: 9.10 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: What is your favorite computer case?



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  1. Nyks


    thanks for the nice review.

    I’m looking for a case in these dimensions; before seeing your image above, I missed a possibility build a DVD-RW and a cardreader into the Elite 130.
    Which components are needed for the this combination? A slim-DVD-drive and a 3,5″-Cardreader … and anything else? Do I need to buy a “mounting frame”?

    PS: Sorry for al the certainly existing mistakes … I’m not a native english-speaker.

    1. Olin Coles

      There are too many options to list, but we did just review this: http://benchmarkreviews.com/15508/fractal-design-node-804-micro-atx-case-review/

  2. David Ramsey

    Hi Nyks,

    Yes, I like an optical drive and card reader in all my computers. To mount both a slim optical drive and a 3.5″ drive adapter in a single 5.25″ bay, I used this adapter:


  3. Nyks

    @Olin: The Note 804 doesnt sound good: it isnt jet relased, the dimensions are unknown, there are no front-mountingtrays, and the estimated price is rather high (99 EUR).

    Thank you David Ramsey! A mount like this (SLIM + 3,5″) seems to be very rarely available. But I could find the “SLIMCDFDCAGE” at least from one german amazon-marketplace-retailer.

  4. Ludewig Kepler

    Nice review and plenty of pictures ! Excellent ! My case is on it’s way and already planning to build, as you did, an hackintosh for my self and your review has inspired me 🙂 One question though, what motherboard model you’r using ?
    I guessing it’s a Gigabyte but which model number ?
    Thanks for the answer

    Ludwig K

  5. David Ramsey

    I’m using a Gigabyte GA-Z77N mini-ITX board.

  6. Dominik de Lioncourt

    Could you please recommend a few Water Cooling 120mm AIO units that will fit into this case? Thank You!

    1. David Ramsey

      Virtually any 120mm AIO cooler should fit, although those with double-thick radiators like the Antec Kuhler 920 might be tight. Any of Corsair’s 120mm AIO coolers will work fine.

  7. Josh

    I bought an SFX power supply but it’s too small. How did you fit it in your build? Thanks!

  8. David Ramsey

    The Silverstone SFX power supplies I’ve used come with ATX adapter plates so they can be mounted in ATX mounting holes.

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