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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.19.04]
Manufactured by: Cooler Master 

Price at $113 (incl. 350W PSU)
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Around Back

Taking a peek around back, you'll find a nice big 120mm exhaust fan. This makes for a wonderfully quiet operation.

Although both side doors are removable, thumscrews were only included on the one side. While it's not exactly difficult to replace the other screws with your own thumbscrews, it is the one thing that prevents this case from being a 100% tool-free installation. I guess you could get away with not removing the other side, but I would hate to see what the wiring job would look like without hiding some of the extra cables behind motherboard. We'll call this 99% tool-free for now :).


Starting with the motherboard, I regret to inform you that the Cavalier towers do not include a motherboard tray. This is not as big a deal as it could be though, as there is plenty of room for motherboard installation, and with the tool-free drive bays, it wouldn't be that hard to remove a CDROM or Hard Drive if are having problems digging a full-size ATX mobo out of there.

In a time when we've been seeing a lot of tool-free motherboard pegs on cases, it's unfortunate to see Cooler Master go back to using old-school screw-pegs. I really like a tool-free motherboard installation, as installing all those screws is time consuming.

Time to install the drives!

Every single drive bay uses a similar type of retention mechanism. Here is the CDROM version; you simply insert the CDROM, slide the retention mechanism forward, and slide the lock tab down. VERY easy and truly tool-free!

The top two 3.5" bays have their own retention mechanisms to fit floppy drives. The problem is, only one of them is exposed! That leaves the second bay pretty much useless; you can't put a hard drive in there, and there is not much else to install in a hidden 3.5" bay! Some sloppy design here.

And here are the HDD bays. All in all, I would have to say that this has been one of the EASIEST cases to install all sizes of drives in. They are all 100% tool-free, and best of all, there are no adapter tabs to lose!

You can't see it here, but there is an 80mm intake fan blowing over the bottom 3 drive bays here. A great idea of course, but they used a 4 pin molex connector for power. I would have liked the option of using a 3 pin motherboard header, and if that wasn't available, I could use my own 4 pin adapter.

How about expansion card installation?

Over the years we have seen various methods of tool-free expansion card installation methods. Sometimes they are a hit, sometimes you have to completely remove them because they are incompatible with many cards. These Cooler Master tabs are once again wonderful in their simplicity, and they work perfectly! Dual-slot video cards are perfectly supported, and as you can see on the right side of the image, fit and finish is virtually flawless.

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