Cooler Master’s Centurion 5 II is known for being a basic PC case for a standard build, something you would normally use to build your parents PC. It’s also known for being a great value in the budget PC market. When Cooler Master told us they had received a few limited edition red Centurion 5 II’s from Japan, I was more than happen to take one off their hands for a closer look. Will a little extra style bump this up from a budget build case to something you would be proud to show off at LANs? Let’s find out.
Product Name: Cooler Master Centurion 5 II Limited Edition Red
Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
USB 2.0 x 2 , eSATA x 1 , MIC x 1 , Audio x 1 (supports HD / AC97 audio)
Micro-ATX / ATX
Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)
Net Weight: 7.5 kg / 16.5 lbs
Black with red interior
Front: 140 x 25 mm Red LED on /off fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 19 dBA
Dimension (W / H / D)
202 x 440 x 485 mm
Cooler Master packaged this special edition in a standard Centurion 5 II package with the exception of a sticker for the Black and Red Attack with a photo on it. Outside of that sticker this is a standard Cooler Master case box with their white and purple design. The front also includes two photos of different variations of the Centurion 5 II, as I said before this special edition is special enough that it doesn’t have its own photo on the front. Around back you have a feature listing and pictures of each of the case’s features. Other than the lack of red or black in those photos, they are exactly what to expect with this case also.
The exterior of the Centurion 5 II is black with a minimum use of plastic other than the front panel of the case. The front panel is covered in mesh including its four drive bays, for maximum air flow. Just above the drive bays you have the front I/O panel. The front I/O panel includes two USB 2.0 ports, your microphone and headphone jacks, and an eSATA port. There is a punch-out for a firewire port but it is unused. Down below the drive bays you have the power button along with the reset and a lighting control button. On the original Centurion 5 this is surrounded by a chrome piece, but this time around it is all blacked out, a nice touch.
Around to the left side you can catch a glimpse of the red and black interior through the side panel window. This window isn’t exclusive to this special edition, you can actually pick up a standard Centurion 5 II with a side panel window if you would like one, it just wouldn’t have as nice of a view as this one. The side panel is very basic in design and is held on with fairly large rivets all around its edge. The rivets aren’t really a problem, but on more expensive cases Cooler Master spends more time trying to hide them. The side panel itself has an acrylic fan mount attached to it for a 120mm fan, perfect to help cool off your hot video cards if needed.
Up top you have a vent for a 120mm fan with added mount holes for a 140mm fan. Both the top and right side of the case are very boring other than that one vent. Without a big extravagant plastic shell the top and side panels are both flat steel panels.
Around back there are a few things that are really noticeable. Obviously the bright red color around the I/O panel and PCI slots is the first thing you see. But the black finish for the rest of the back complements the red perfectly. Each of the PCI slot covers has a black finish giving the PCI slots an interesting look. For ventilation you have perforated holes above the PCI slots and a 120mm fan above the I/O panel. The fan area has an unintentional medallion styling because of the inclusion of mounting holes for 90 and 80mm fans, along with the perforated area also being embossed. Also a little odd for a budget case but more than welcomed is the inclusion of thumbscrews for both side panels, not just the more often used windowed side.
It’s impossible to ignore the bright red interior of the Centurion 5 II. Cooler Master covered the PCI slots, motherboard tray, and hard and disc drive bays in the sexy color. The rest of the interior has a powder coated satin black finish that looks amazing itself and even better when contrasting against the gloss red finish.
The motherboard tray features a adequately large access hole on the back, not as large as other cases on the market but more than enough to get the job done. Wire management is limited to a large hole near the power supply and then access from the side of the motherboard tray. There are no special grommets or other features we see on other high end cases, but please remember this is a budget case. The same goes for the included wiring; there isn’t any sleeving on the front I/O cabling. A good wiring job should make that almost unnoticeable, but it’s nothing an entry level enthusiast couldn’t fix with a sleeving kit.
For cooling you have the rear 120mm fan and the 120mm LED fan on the front. The top and side window both have additional locations to add fans but Cooler Master didn’t include them. This is still an improvement over other budget cases, some only have one fan. Not to mention both of the fans that Cooler Master included are good looking fans, not generic flat black fans.
Cooler Master did a good job implementing a tool-less setup in the Centurion 5 II. All of the PCI slots use a small plastic clip to keep the PCI cards in place. They did still leave screw hole for anyone who isn’t secure with leaving their expensive video card in place this way. All four of the 5.25 bays have a black plastic piece that slides over to hold your device in place and then has a slit down lock to lock everything into position. For the five hard drive bays they used guide rails that snap on to the side of your hard drive and then just slide right into the bays. The rails include rubber mounts to keep the vibrations to a minimum also.
The power supply mounts at the bottom of the case and is a very simple setup. Two tabs on the motherboard tray hold the power supply from the top while four indents on the bottom of the case hold it from the bottom. To keep it in place the standard four screws hold it from the back plate.
Typically I would be installing a gaming rig into cases that come into the office but this time around we decided to rebuild one of our file servers into this case. Using a Mini ITX AMD fusion motherboard may look a little funny through the window, but it will give us a great view of that red paint job.
Being a file server installing the hard drives was the first part of our installation. Popping the guides on and sliding them into the drive bays couldn’t have been easier, so easy that you have to question if you did it right, lol. Our Fusion motherboard only required four screws but I did still find it strange that the four standoffs still needed to be installed. Normally though, these four standoffs come preinstalled on every case because all of the motherboard sizes use them. Not that it was too big of a deal, it only took a minute to install and drop the motherboard in.
Installing the power supply was as simple as four screws but would wiring it be the same? With us using a mini ITX motherboard it turned out that my wiring was simply going to be a mess no matter how I attempted it, the small board raised the 24pin connection up high enough that I couldn’t route it behind the motherboard tray. Just to check everything out though I went ahead and routed it around to make sure that Cooler Master gave enough clearance for wire management and was pleasantly surprised with the space given. The wire management on the Centurion 5 II is what I would consider standard for today’s aftermarket cases. There aren’t any perks over any other case, but it still provides everything you need to get the job done with a little patience.
With our focus being on a home server use of the Centurion 5 II most of our testing was limited to noise output from the hard drives and fans. Cooler Masters tool-less design for hard drive mounting is both easy to use and very quiet. At no point during testing did I even notice a hard drive spooling up or vibrating. Considering the amount of use we put it through this was impressive. The two fans did a great job keeping everything cool, even after we moved this box into a closet we had no overheating issues. I did notice the sound of the fans when they were running, but I wouldn’t call them loud. If I were to rate them between 1 and 10, 10 being a house fan and 1 being silent, I would give them a 5.
This is an interesting case. You have a budget level case but with a few changes its actually a sharp looking case. With two 120mm fans and the potential to add two more I am confident that this case would be capable of supporting a budget gaming build. Picking a motherboard that is going to match up with that red may be an issues, ASUS ROG here you come! The only real problem is as far as I can tell you can’t even buy this anywhere. But you can pick up a standard version along with a can or two of your favorite color of paint and you’re good to go. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have the most expensive case to have a little style.