Cooler Master Centurion 590 Page: 1
Often we're caught up with the ever moving world of the high-end, whether it be graphics cards or cases. At times, taking the opportunity to sit back and look at the smaller end of the scale is a good idea, and can really be an eye opener as to what actually constitutes the high-end (besides price).
Cooler Master are no strangers to the case market, having produced some chassis which have reached almost legendary status, such as the Stacker and Black widow to more recent triumphs such as the Cosmos S.
The Centurion line has proved a popular choice for the more budget conscious enthusiast looking for a quality mid-tower case. Today we take a look at a recent evolution of the popular Centurion mid tower case, the Centurion 590.
Cooler Master have this to say about the Centurion 590 on their website:
PC enthusiasts are no stranger to the name Cooler Master. Known for industry leading designs and superb thermal performance, using Cooler Master means using the best. Today, Cooler Master is proud to launch the latest PC chassis in its award-winning Centurion series – the Centurion 590. Sporting a fully-meshed front panel design, tool-free user-friendliness, and an extra roomy interior, the Centurion 590 offers a mid-tower case fit for PC users everywhere.
Bold and sleek, the Centurion 590 performs as well as it looks. Its front panel features a fully-meshed design that provides superior airflow. Add to that fully ventilated side and top panels and you have a PC chassis capable of keeping the most demanding systems cool as can be. In fact, the Centurion 590 can accommodate up to eight 120mm fans for high-efficiency ventilation. Air cooling not enough? The Centurion 590 has you covered with rear retaining holes designed for after-market liquid cooling kits. Any way you slice it, the Centurion 590 is one cool customer.
And the specifications:
Ok, enough of the official blurb and on with the case! The box the Centurion 590 came in was a pretty standard affair, with nothing offensively bright or depressingly dull. One side states the specifications of the case and the other shows an overview shot of the Centurion 590. Both the front and back show another overview shot and the case's features respectively.
The case is held in place and protected from rough handed couriers by two molded Polystyrene inserts that hold it securely in the box. Wrapped in a clear Polythene bag, the paintwork is protected from scratches and chips. Nothing fancy here like the Cosmos S’ sack.
The next page shows off the exterior of the Centurion 590…
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Looking at the front of the case I couldn’t help but think one thing: Stacker. Nothing wrong with this of course, in fact implemented properly the design is certainly a positive thing. 10 drive bays down the front translate to 9 useable ones as the top one isn’t actually a bay, but rather it's built into the chassis to house the power & reset switches along with the other usual front panel commodities.
Below the function panel there is a bay that the middle pops out of to support an internal 3.5” device, situated in just the right place to house a LCD display in this reviewers opinion. Also it's noteworthy that even when you don’t want a 3.5” device, the bezel meshes in nicely. Cooler Master also decided to incorporate the Centurion logo onto one of the covers. The all-mesh front looks pretty and is of course going to aid with the thermals of the case. I cant help but think that it might be a dust magnet however.
The side of the case shows off the glossy black paint work. The right side sporting two massive fan mounts - one above the CPU and one next to the PCI slots. These support a full range of fans up to a massive 140mm. The left panel housing an 80mm grill, although the purpose of this is a little quizzical to me.
Moving around to the back of the case we get the first glimpse of the layout of the case. The PSU bay is mounted at the bottom instead of the top; a strategy that we are seeing more and more of with newer cases. Elevated above that are the traditional 7 PCI slots, and here we get the fist glimpse of the tool-less features of the case. Although at this point it's not very revealing.
To the right of the PCI slots there are two grommeted holes cut to allow water-cooling tubing to pass through. While it’s a nice touch, allowing people to externally mount a radiator and still have water in a small case, the holes were only big enough for 3/8” or 10/8mm tubing. Finally we see the I/O panel and the exhaust fan mount, which like the others on the case support 80, 92 and 120mm fans (no 140mm here though).
The top of the case is the last port of call on the tour around the outside of the chassis. Here we see the Cooler Master name tattooed onto the front rim of the case. With two more monstrous fan mounts towards the rear of the case. Looking at these it made me wonder if a 240mm radiator could be fitted here, which is something I will be testing while installing the other hardware.
Overall the Centurion 590 is a rather good looking case. It’s got a smooth, simple look about it which works extremely well. With all its features blended in well it wouldn’t look out of place in the majority of setup's. The only major gripe I found was that the paint was very, very easy to scratch. By simply moving the case about seemed to gain it a few extra marks each time.
On the next page we take a look at the internal layout of the case…
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Now personally I've never been a huge fan of smaller cases. For the simple reason that there's not enough room inside to house monstrous components and still keep the shop tidy. However, after opening the side of the Centurion 590 for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised. Inside the main chassis is a huge void which is uninterrupted by sidebars to hold the PSU or silly looking hard drive mounts.
Starting with the Stacker-esque drive bays, we can see the tool-less method for holding in the componets that would reside in the mounts behind. I couldn't help but feel these looked a bit naff, but even if the side had a window they wouldn't be seen once assembled so it wasn't a big deal. To use them: simply flick over the purple locking switch and lift. Doing this released two pins that hold in the device.
Hidden away inside the bay's is the hard drive cage. It clips in using the system shown above and can be mounted pretty much anywhere up and down the front of the case. Attached to the front is a blue LED fan to keep the drives cool and, presumably, act as the intake fan for the case. Above that was the external 3.5" mount wich sat behind the special bezel we saw on the last page. Like the drive cage you're free to move it to whichever position you so desire.
Moving to the motherboard area you can see a vent on the motherboard tray. This directly relates to the vent on the rear side panel, presumably to give a little extra airflow to motherboards with components mounted on the reverse side. The exhaust fan was a standard, 3-pin Cooler Master branded fan and below it are the PCI slots with their form of tool-less operation. Here the little purple clip pushed in, then arced out the back to allow the card to slot in. Locking the card in is achieved by simply pulling the purple clipback into place. Unlike the 5.25" bay locks these were a bit fiddly. I think that while innovative, the normal screwed aproach here could have been benifical.
The bottom of the case houses the PSU bay and a hole in the motherboard tray from which the front panel connectors protrude. I was pleased to see that the tidying of such lengthy cables had basicly been done for me. All that was needed was for the excess cable to be fed back through the hole. The PSU bay itself was an area for slight concern. Sucking up air from under the case is good as long as there is enough clearance. However, the feet on the Centurion 590 were not particualy tall and if placing/using the case on carpet you run the risk of a PSU filled with dust.
Overall the interior of the case is pretty impressive. Cooler Master have clearly put a lot of thought into the layout and design of the inside. Although it's let down a little by the fact that the tool-less componets are sketchy. The only other gripe that I could mention would be that the chassis is constructed of steel. But then again if Aluminium were used it would drive the price of the chassis up.
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Testing Method & Hardware
Testing a case is not as simple as the likes of a graphics card in that there's no real benchmarks that can show performance in a quantative form. In light of this I will try to convey how easy the case is to work with and then test its thermal performance with the components installed. Today's test setup consisted of:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 ( 3.6Ghz, stock cooler)
1GB Crucial Balistix
Cooler Master Real Power M850
Installing hardware into the Centurion 590 was a fairly painless affair. The roomy insides meant that there was plenty of space to get your hands around components, and to get to the fiddly bits such as the twist and push system on Intel's reference cooler. The biggest challenge came from putting such a large PSU into the chassis. The larger PSU significantly obscured the cable hole in the motherboard tray where the front panel connectors poke through.
As you can see the Centurion 590 allows for a reasonable effort to be made when routing cables. With more time you could hide away the majority of the wires that litter the bottom next to the psu. Looking at the motherboard area, Cooler Master have clearly put a lot of thought into allowing the user to keep the main area clutter-free and it's paid off. Only the worst laid out motherboards could thwart their efforts.
Unfortunately my hopes of fitting a 240mm rad were hindered. It could be done, but would require some creative thinking from the individual. The two fan mounts on the top wouldn't house an 120.2 radiator straight off, but by using some large headed screws a low profile radiator could be fitted using the holes in the mesh, rather than the default fan holes.
Temperature Tests and results
To put the Centurion 590 though its paces the system was left ide for 30 minutes and the temperature recorded. After that it was loaded up with ORTHOS for the CPU, ATItool for the GPU and HDtach's long benchmark for the drive. In order to ensure a fair test, only the fans that came with the chassis were used.
As you can see the Centurion 590 did a reasonable job at keeping the hardware inside cool, and only allowing a 7°C rise between idle and load. Obviously though this could be reduced by adding fans to the mass of extra mounts that the case provides. Overall the case faired well, by not allowing anything to overheat and providing plenty of flexibity.
Lastly we look at the conclusion...
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As mentioned at the start, enthusiast can often overlook a mid-range product simply through habit. The Centurion 590 is a shining example of why this shouldn't the case. It's a well designed chassis with a myriad of features that all hide away nicely behind its minimalist exterior. The Centurion 590 has enough fan mounts to generate a small tornado inside, and with a modders touch could be adapted very easily to accommodate a water-cooling loop. Inside there's more than enough space to house the hefty GPUs and monstrous heatsinks that make up a modern system. The mass of drive bays means that the chassis will accomodate all but the largest of drive configurations.
However, unfortunately it's not perfect. The major gripe I had was the fact that it's constructed of steel. This probably isn't so much of a issue as I perceive it to be but after being spoilt with Aluminium chassis for a good while, steel feels clumsy.The second issue was the easily marked paint. All brushes against the panels left a mark that wouldn't polish out, and even in the sort time I had it the case developed a heavlily used look.
Now onto the cost. The Centurion 590, despite its many features can be picked up for the very reasonable price of £60 from Tekheads
. This makes it even more attractive to the consumer who' s looking for quality at a price.
Overall, if your looking for a solid, functional, good looking case and can overlook the steel and position it so it will come into little contact with anything harder than a feather duster, then the Centurion 590 should make the short list with no question.
- Well thought out layout
- More than enough fan mounts
- Good looks
- Quite Modable
Thanks go out to Cooler Master
for providing the Centurion 590 for review