First, a little about the company,
Master Co., Ltd.
They are best known as Cooler Master or CM. This next blurb
is from their website on their corporate mission:
Master was founded with the mission of providing the
industryís best thermal solutions. Since its establishment a
decade ago, the company has remained faithful to this
mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services
for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be
In pursuing this
mission, Cooler Master is absolutely committed to delivering
solutions that precisely meet customer requirements for
features, performance, and quality. Moreover, we strive to
be a reliable long-term partner for our customers that they
can truly depend on. It aims to be the first and foremost
name that comes to mind for companies around the world
seeking thermal solutions, and seeks to build such a
reputation through outstanding technology, sophisticated
design, and superior service.
current business encompasses a comprehensive lineup of
thermal solutions for a full range of applications. Its
products range from heat sinks and fans to component
housing, chassis, and ducting for computers, industrial
machinery, telecommunications equipment, and many other
A critical component
of Cooler Masterís ability to successfully pursue its
mission is an unstinting commitment to quality, as
demonstrated by the ISO 9001 certification granted to its
main manufacturing plant in Taiwan. It has also enforced ISO
guidelines and is in the process of applying for ISO 9002
certification at its second and third plants, located in
China. Cooler Master has also implemented a number of
analytical and testing protocols to ensure top quality,
including at subcontractors, to further ensure thorough
quality control. Moreover, Cooler Masterís dedication to
quality extends beyond manufacturing to every aspect of its
operation, including service.Ē ~
Master has been a sponsor of 3dGameMan.com since 2002. The
first product I reviewed was their Cooler Master ATC 111-SX1
Aluminum Case, which was quite a product. I've reviewed
countless Cooler Master products since then that include: Hard Drive
Coolers, Heatsink/Coolers, Power Supplies, and
Most of the reviews I've done for CM, though, have been cases. The big hit
last year was their
Stacker Case and this year it is the
Stacker 830 Case. Both of these products were
exceptional! Now, let's have a closer look at this product.
This product came in the original case box, which is
common shipping practice for this type of product. On
occasion, cases are shipped in another outside box to insure no damage.
Thankfully, there was no shipping related damage to this
Please note, in the picture below left, the Styrofoam padding and plastic bag
for added extra
protection during shipment.
addition to the case, included in this package were screws
and tie downs.
The Cooler Master Centurion BTX-B541 Case (RC-B541) is
mostly steel (SECC chassis) with an aluminum front
By the way, SECC means
Steel, Electrogalvanized, ColdRolled, and Coil. The case dimensions
are: 42cm (L) x 18cm (W) x 39cm (H), and weighs in at
7 kilograms. It is a fairly tiny tower case, but the overall look of this case is great, and
resembles the original CM Stacker.
case is only available in the Black with Silver trim, although in Cooler Master's specifications
on their site it's listed as
They must have made a mistake because this is clearly not a
Silver colored case.
At the top front of the case, there are two external 5.25"
drive bays and 2 external 3.5" drive bays.
front of this case and each drive bay cover have removable
filters which are excellent for keeping out the dust. Just
remember to clean them once in a while,
otherwise it will clog and hinder air circulation.
To the left of the two external 3.5" drive bays are the Hard
Drive Activity and Power LEDs, as well as the Reset and
At the front bottom of the case there are 2 x
USB ports, a Firewire (1394)
port, and the microphone and headphone jacks.
The right side panel slides off by removing
two thumbscrews at the back.
Thumbscrews make removal/installation quick
The left side panel is riveted into place
and can not be removed. Note: there are no windows or ventilation holes
on either side panel.
At the back of the case at the very top is where an optional
ATX Power Supply can be installed. Two optional 80mm fans
can also be installed. Installation of these fans is highly
recommend to insure good air circulation inside the case. I'm not sure why they didn't include at least
one. Also, at the back is a place to install the IO shield
plate, and at the bottom back there are 4 expansion slots.
This is a small tower case, so there isnít a lot of
room to work on the inside and unfortunately the motherboard
tray isnít removable.
The form factor of this case is Micro BTX (m-BTX)
10.5. This is not a Micro ATX case, however,
Centurion Micro ATX 541 Case
The BTX form factor is short for Balanced Technology
Extended. The BTX form factor was initially supposed to
replace the aging ATX (Advanced Technology EXtended
motherboard) form factor. BTX has a few enhancements over
ATX such as lower profile and better thermal and structural
design. It basically came into existence to solve thermal
issues of the Intel Pentium 4 processor. There is much
debate in the Industry about BTX and its real world
applications. For additional reading on the BTX form factor,
please refer to
This case comes with two internal 3.5Ē drive bays. This
drive bay compartment is removable, which makes it ideal for
installation of Hard Drives outside the case. To install a
two included plastic rails on each side of the drive and
then slip it into the drive bay.
As mentioned previously,
there are two external 5.25" drive bays and 2 external 3.5"
Installing drives in these drive bays is a tool-less
operation. Many new cases have this design and it works very
well at firmly securing drives without using screws. To
install an external drive, first remove the front bezel.
Next, slip the drive into the drive bay. Then, lock it into
place using the inside mechanism (see below). Finally,
replace the front bezel. NOTE: Take care when removing the
front bezel! It can removed by pulling forward at the
bottom. Normally this would be a simple operation, however
with this case it's almost impossible to remove by just
pulling. You will probably have to pinch the inside plastic
latches to facilitate removal of the front bezel.
The expansion slots also have a tool-less design for easy
card installation and removal, again making installation
Below is a picture of the bottom of the case. The four feet
to reduce movement and vibrations. It also
protects the surface it's being placed on.
The Cooler Master Centurion BTX-B541 Case is one a few BTX
cases that are currently on the market. While most of us do
not have a BTX motherboard, this form factor is slowly
catching on. It still is not common place though, and the
future of the form factor is uncertain. If you are in the
market for a sleek affordable BTX case, be sure to have a
look at this one. The overall styling is excellent and it
has a tool-less design. At this time, it's a product that will only
target a small percentage of computer users. Most hardcore
gamers are not planning on jumping on the BTX bandwagon any time soon. Most manufacturers are still focusing on
the ATX form factor and I suspect this will be the case for
many years to come. Also, this case does not come with any
stock cooling which results in poor air circulation.
Remember to install at least one 80mm fan at the back of the
- Tool-less design
- Filters to prevent duct from entering the case
- No removable motherboard tray
- Stock air circulation is poor