Elite 361 and the Cooler Masters of the Universe

A Review On: COOLER MASTER Elite 361 RC-361-KKR350 Black Computer Case

COOLER MASTER Elite 361 RC-361-KKR350 Black Computer Case

Rated # 17 in Computer Cases
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Price paid: $36.99
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Pros: Cable routing options, solid construction, high quality materials, extra stands, rotatable logo, accepts ATX despite uATX size.

Cons: Punch-out expansion slot inserts, unpainted interior, can get cramped inside when using full-size ATX board.

Since 2007 I've owned a different, much larger Cooler Master case: a CMStacker 810. I must admit that, while it's an excellent case, its behemoth weight and dimensions have turned me off from larger cases. This ties into my reason to go for something much smaller in size.

The Elite 361, despite its relative slimness, can accept a full-size ATX motherboard. This was accomplished by moving the power supply location to the front of the case. Aside from this, it also has room for a single external 5.25" drive, single external 3.5" drive, and three internal 3.5" drives - buy an adapter if you have an SSD. This raises a question though: does the power supply have adequate room to breathe? Yes; assuming your power supply vents out downward, if it's mounted properly, it will be on its own "cooling circuit," leaving everything else unaffected (of course, if you have the case laying on its side, make sure that the vent for the PSU is facing upwards).

While you can't mount a fan at the front of this case, you can place two 80mm fans in the back, one 80mm fan in the front, and one 120mm fan on the side aside from the 120mm fan at the top of the case that's already included.

Praise? The construction is solid for its size and price. The metal used across the case is nice, thick, resistant towards bending, and doesn't double as a steak knife. Cable management options are abundant as well. I honestly find this case to be one of the best for its category and price, at least when it comes down to Micro ATX.

Complaints? In what I assume was a cost-saving move, punch-out inserts were used for the expansion slots. I'll at least give credit for the fact that, as aforementioned, the metal is sturdy enough so that the area surrounding the expansion slots doesn't warp pathetically on their removal - or at all for that matter (something that I can't say the same about regarding many low and mid-tier HP and Compaq cases). It might be wise to purchase seven actual slot covers along with the case.

Another issue that's inevitable is its size. If you do put an ATX board in, expect to experience some uncomfortably close quarters. There are also restrictions regarding what CPU coolers you can use (personally, I'm using a Noctua NH-C12P).

Finally, and while appearance is arbitrary, some (including myself) may dislike the unpainted interior and rear it comes with.

1 Comment:

Can someone tell me how to get the PSU vent upwards as Fauxrrite mentioned?
Also, I'd like to know isn't the PSU being right next to the intake front fan - not so ideal?
Wouldn't the intake somehow suck some of that hot air coming out?