When the temptation strikes me to build a new ITX rig, the first thing I look for is a case to house it. There’s new mini-ITX hardware dropping regularly these days and it’s fast becoming a viable format for many PC gamers. Sadly, finding a quality case with the features most gamers want is still a tall order. Aside from the staple PC-Q series from Lian-Li and the SG series from SilverStone and hosting coupons, finding something different to handle a high-end ITX build with double-wide GPU’s is a challenge.
Whilst perusing various sites reading up on forthcoming Trinity APU’s, I came across a review on AnandTech for a new case model from Cool Master. They call it the Elite 120 Advanced. After reading AnandTech’s excellent review and checking out the features listed on the official Cool Master website, I think this might be the home for my new build.
There are several features on this case that I really like, one I don’t. There’s a single USB 3.0 port on the front, yet it uses the entire header on the motherboard. Why not just put two ports on the front? Seems like a bit of a waste. As for the rest of the front, the styling will be hit-or-miss. I find it subdued and functional, but there’s a lot of negativity regarding the design. To each his own.
The standout feature so far is the mount for a full-size ATX PSU. There’s an extension on the rear of the case that allows the PSU to stick out of the case slightly, freeing up room inside the case. Many other ITX models require careful sizing of the PSU and optical drive depths to ensure that they will both fit. The design of the Elite 120 Advanced should allow for wider selection of components. Cool Master claims 180mm deep PSU’s. That’s 30-40mm deeper than most other ITX cases. The mount can also be inverted, allowing the builder to position the PSU fan to pull air from inside the case or outside.
Cool Master has also left room in the Elite 120 for full-size video cards. They claim even HD7990’s and GTX690’s will fit. I’ll take their word for it. That too much horsepower for any build I’m about to do. The specs list the maximum GPU length at 13.5” (343mm).
The case measures 9.4” x 8.2” x 15.8”. It houses one 5.25” drive bay and three internal 3.5” bays. Two of those can be converted into four 2.5” bays. Along with the aforementioned single USB 3.0 port, the case offers two USB 2.0 ports and the standard microphone and audio output on the front panel.
Conveniently, the specs also list the maximum available height for the CPU cooler, 65mm. A listing that I think every mini-ITX case manufacturer should include.
Upon first glance, it appears that the Cool Master Elite 120 Advanced is a capable case for a mini-ITX gaming system. I’ll see about picking one up for a test build in the near future.
Check out the ITXGamer forums and share your thoughts on the Cool Master Elite 120 Advanced.
And also let me know if I should put Ivy Bridge or Trinity bits inside.