The Lazy Days of Summer Case Review

Coolermaster Centurion CAC-T01, Continued

The Centurion CAC-T01 seems to turn back the clock to the cases of previous years. This mid-tower offering does not have the innovative and well designed appearance that higher-end Coolermaster models have. However, this case is priced at approximately half of what these other Coolermaster models retail for. The case construction is all steel, and it is very thin. While Coolermaster has used a variety of techniques to keep the number of sharp edges low, in certain areas of the case it appears that they were not successful. We found a variety of places within the Centurion CAC-T01 that are quite capable of inflicting at least mild cuts on the hands of a typical installer. The major areas of this case are U-seamed and rolled to prevent this, but there are still some areas with rough edges capable of a good knuckle scrape or two. The layout inside the case supports the use of four 5" devices and two 3" devices, and offers bays capable of holding two or three hard drives, depending on the type of drive and how they are mounted. The bay itself is removable, but you will have to remove both side panels to get it out. Speaking of removal of the side panels, unlike cases that allow you to remove the side panels by simply sliding them off to the rear of the case after removing a couple of screws, the Centurion CAC-T01 takes a unique approach, and requires the removal of the top of the case and lifting each side panel straight up. While this is not a major issue, it is certainly a different way of approaching side panel removal.

The front bezel that is so elegant looking on the Centurion CAC-T01 has a grill used for air intake with a front-mounted, 80 mm fan, allowing a significant quantity of air intake through the case that is exhausted through the rear with another 80 mm fan. This dual 80 mm fan design provides adequate cooling for most situations; however, neither one of the 80 mm fans was included with our test unit - they are listed on the box as "optional." We don't want to nit pick, but at the price point at which Coolermaster is selling the Centurion CAC-T01, we would expect at least a couple of inexpensive, 80 mm fans gratis for use with this case. Coolermaster does not include a power supply with this case, either.

During our testing, we had no problems installing our test system into the Centurion CAC-T01. However, as with other cases in this review, we found the CAC-T01 still on the cramped side internally. To its favor, however, this case includes a welcomed channel between the chassis and one of the side panels, which can be used to conceal much of the cabling. Using this arrangement, it is possible to make the Centurion CAC-T01 look good inside, but unfortunately no one will see it, since this case does not include a side panel window or offer the option for one. The case does include a power and a reset switch, as well as two front mounted USB ports, audio ports and a 1394 port. To Coolermaster's credit, all of the ports and the power and reset switches are well labeled and easy to use. The case does not include any type of cover to protect these front mounted ports when they are not in use.

The front mounted ports on the CAC-T01 are very well labeled when compared to other units.

Overall, the Centurion CAC-T01 is an interesting offering from Coolermaster. Although it does have a nice appearance on the front, it certainly leaves some room for improvement on the inside. With a quick check on the Internet, we found this model for approximately $80 US. While Coolermaster is looking to move large quantities of the Centurion CAC-T01 to system integrators, individual purchase of this case is still rather pricey for what it offers. This is not a bad case if it is bundled or included with a complete system purchase or offered by a system integrator in a package, but as a consumer purchase we believe there are other case choices available that are significantly more affordable and attractive. Coolermaster has the right idea in trying to offer its quality cases to the masses, but the Centurion CAC-T01 doesn't seem to be the blockbuster case that is capable of doing this.