Installation and Performance
As expected, building a PC in a smaller case like the Elite 130 took a little more pacience than normal. This is mostly due to trying to work in a smaller space, but it’s also because wiring in a small PC like this is even more important. Because of that, when building in the Elite 130 I saved the power supply installation for last. To get started I installed our motherboard, ram, and CPU. Being Mini-ITX this only takes four screws. To really put the Elite 130 to the test, I went with a GTX 780. Being such a large card I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t fit well but as you can see I had no issues at all. There is still additional room for an even longer card, should you need it.
Once I test fit the power supply I can see why Cooler Master went with the PSU extension on the back of the case. Our full sized power supply fit well with a little room for accessing the modular cables. I would recommend hooking up all of the wiring first before fully installing the power supply like I have though. This will give you more room to reach in and plug everything in. Once hooked up, you will need to do your best to clean up the wiring as well but without a motherboard try to hide everything behind it can be a little tough. Clean wiring means more airflow, more airflow means better cooling.
After installing the power supply I was able to see one of the downsides to Cooler Masters design. You are going to be limited to a stock CPU heatsink or one of the few low profile models like what I have used on our Lunchbox builds. I’m not typically a big fan of stock heatsinks both because of the noise they tend to make as well as their cooling power. I would highly recommend looking for an aftermarket option, especially in such a small case.
With the GTX 780’s power connections facing up hooking them up was a little tighter than I would prefer, but I was able to get them connected.
With everything installed I was finally able to see how well the Elite 130 performed. The front mounted fan wasn’t too bad for noise, especially when next to the stock Intel heatsink that I had to go with. For cooling I think the combination of my wiring and the more open front mesh paid off. I have heard of some people having heat issues in the Elite 120, but I didn’t have any problems this time around. At least no more than expected from such a small build. The best part about the Elite 130 is the ability to pack everything up and take it with you without breaking your back. I found the power and reset buttons to be a little weird feeling, but they still got the job done.