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Review: Coolermaster ATCS 310

by David Ross on 27 January 2001, 00:00

Tags: Cooler Master

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Coolermaster ATCS 310

Model No: ATC-310
Material: All Aluminum Alloys
Drive Bay: 5.25" Bays(exposed) X 5
3.5" Bays(exposed) X 1
3.5" Bays(hidden) X 5
Slot Bracket: 7
M/B Type: ATX / Full size (extend)
I/O Bracket: ATX
Power Supply: Optional Power Supply Unit(400W or 300W+300W Redundant Power)
Cooling: One 300mm Cross Fan attached
Four 80 x 80 x 25mm Fan attached back panel
Two 120 x 120 x 25mm Fan attached
Dimension: 592 mmX 363 mmX 558 mm
Weight: Case :12Kg
Power Supply :2Kg for 400W, 6Kg for 300W Redundant Power

- Cool air is drawn through the 300mm cross fan at right side panel and blown directly onto motherboard and maximizes cooling.
- Two 80mm fan blown directly on to all devices, exhausts the hot air which rises and accumulates.
- Drawer-style motherboard tray(full size) for easy installation and maintenance.
- Full EMI shielding to protect user from harmful electronic emissions.
- Entire case is constructed of aluminum to conduct and disperse heat like a huge heat sink.
- Highly flexible power supply options of 400W and 300W+300W redundant power
- Tool-free assembly/disassembly for quick and convenient maintenance or upgrades.

Well, here it is the first review of this case in the world. Ever since I reviewed the first coolermaster case, the ATCS200, I have had a lot of emails and questions about it, people were mostly concerned about the lack of CD Rom bays. This is because once you have the CD Rom drive installed, the DVD installed and then a live drive then your case is full. I went from running a large Aopen HX08 case to this smaller case but it was worth it, the case is a work of art.

When I heard of the 310 I knew I wanted to review it so I contacted Coolermaster again and they arranged on for me to review, bare in mind there is only 15 of these in the UK they aren't the most common case. I collected it during a lunch break at work, and took it to the office. Everyone knows I review kit for the site but they were more than surprised at this server case, no one had seen anything like it before, and yet again the build quality was amazing. We had several suggestions on what we could use it for, some suggested a mini fridge in the office, and some suggested it as a new house for a cat (don't ask me how he came out with that). Anyway whilst sitting at work my manager walked in and was shocked at the case and decided to sit on it, yes he isn't the largest chap in the world but I was surprised it didn't break, but it didn't! It held his weight, so we now have another use for it, a portable chair;)

The case itself is made out of aluminium, the same as the old Coolermaster but it is bigger, a lot bigger, it is a double width case, with 5 CD Rom bays, and enough space for 5 hard drives. The main thing which I noticed straight away was the fans, in the case there are 2 120 MM, 4 80MM and a 300MM yes you did read that right, a 300MM but it isn't what you think, you will find out more later. All of the external fans had proper grills on them just like we saw in the Coolercase XS case. But the 120s and the 300MMs are inside the case therefore they don't need grills. There is also room for a single floppy drive, and there is the standard on off and reset switch and of course a power and hard drive led. One thing, which really annoyed me about this case, was the fact that Coolermaster have changed how the bayplates are held in therefore my baybus doesn't fit, so I need to get another one made for me by Team Hexus. Anyway I got the case home after being at work all day I couldn't wait to build it, and finally when I did get it home I realised how big it really was, it was massive. I stripped out my Coolermaster 200 and that has now been set as a LAN box for me to use, and then started to build this case, the one thing I have to say is that this case isn't designed for people changing hardware all of the time. It took me a good 2 hours to mount everything properly. I mounted 3 CD Rom drives, a Digi Doc2, my 3 hard drives all in the case, with all of the screws in it. It wasn't that hard to put them in but it was a small pain having to put screws in through some fan fins, which is what I had to do with the mounting of the hard drives, but it is worth it to make sure they are in properly. Also a little advice make sure you put the floppy drive in last, as this is located next to the CD Rom mounting points and if you decide you need to change something out comes the floppy drive. But this wasn't much of a pain as I don't use a floppy drive in my pc and I haven't used in for about 4 months now, they are too slow and they need to be changed! So if there is an inventor reading this get your thinking cap on ;-)

After doing this the case weighed a ton, it was very heavy and felt very robust I was starting to like this case more than any other I had worked with, I then put in the Abit KT7 Raid motherboard (this case is going to be used in an upcoming project but I wanted to get a review done so I used my current 1Ghz Setup within it). I then mounted everything within the case and the PSU. This case can be used for 2 PSU units and it doesn't come with any installed so I put my 300W Aopen PSU in it and then worked with that ;-) I then finished sorting the system and tried to mount my baybus found it wouldn't and decided I still want it there as I thought it would be useful to be using it until we can get another one made as the fans look loud (menacing more like!). Once the system was built I took it upstairs in to Hexus`s labs, ok the spare room but it has lots of kit in there and it is where we do our reviews, I powered up the pc and it worked straight away (I am the man!) I would like to state at this point that the case was cold to touch!

I powered up and Huston we have lift off, the fans were loud, but remember it isn't designed for an end user; it is designed for hardcore overclockers and also for people with mission critical servers! This is the case to have! We then did some testing and we were amazed, without the fans the case was at room temperature, and with all of the fans it was over 9 degrees below room temperature. Wow that is some serious dropping in temperature. It had also dropped the temperature of the CPU as well, even thought it was only by 2 degrees it still made a difference. This case was one serious performer, you need to remember this case has 3 SCSI hard drives in it an Athlon and a Geforce 2 all of which get very hot but this case just chilled them away as if nothing was wrong!

Some details about the case.

The case is made up of 5 main parts it has 2 sides, the main chassis, the top of the case, and then the motherboard tray.

The motherboard tray is removable and it gives easy access to the motherboard and all expansion cards, also thumb lock screws hold the case together again, yep the nice large silver ones giving you real easy removal.

The case has 4 wheels on the bottom of it and as it is such a large case this is a good idea and it makes life a lot easier when you want to move it about, this also allows airflow under the case (so that the case doesn't get warm if you stand it on the ground in a hot area, it is also tempting to cut 2 80MM holes in the bottom of the case just so better airflow can happen.)

Inside this case there is a lot of room, and it is ideal for the overclockers with the masses of pc kit and the one who wants to have everything it also has a lot of room for hard drives so it is idea for a server, it is one of the best cases I have seen. But the best thing, which this case can be used for, is for water-cooling it is ideal for a decent water-cooling kit there is good access to the case and also a lot of room. I couldn't find fault with the case over this aspect.

Another feature of the case is the fact that there are large vents down the side of the case to allow better airflow. But with all of these fans I would recommend to people to have a baybus in the system this isn't because you will want it for the looks you want it because the case is going to be loud. Another system, which would fit in here, is the vapochill system this can entirely fit inside this case, meaning you would have THE ultimate cases.

The only thing which I can find fault with this case and I'll tell you now it was hard to find this was the fact that the developers of the cases need to work out some way of the fans being mapped to a certain area, it is ok to locate them in the case but it makes a very untidy case when trying to wire it up, maybe if they should look at putting in wiring round the case to allow them to be easily powered? This is what my baybus does but not all of our readers have.

Another thing which I have done is get a rubber mat which is large enough to fit on the top of the case to make sure it doesn't get marked as I am often putting kit on top of cases and this case is such a nice one you don't want to damage it!

Now on to some secret bits, as I said before there are some fans in it the 4 80MMs which are located at the back of the case make a big difference to the systems coolness, they have cut a blow hole in the back of the case and then put grills on it, then they have put 2 120MM fans next to the hard drives which when you have a high end system with fast SCSI drives which get hot. Then we move on the fan which you all want to know about yep the 300MM it is a large fan, but it isn't the normal one it is a cylinder fan, like the ones which we saw in the GlobalWin Ion storm cooler, but there are 3 of these in a long tube allowing some serious cooling. This fans it he quietest I have heard and I have it on all of the time as it helps to develop the overall airflow in the case.

This case is the most impressive that I have seen, I really liked it and I enjoyed reviewing it, they have listened to what the end users wants and made it, they have included bays which will take full height hard drives, which the ATCS 200 only had one for, and some people criticised this, they have also got a good cooling layout and overall the case is excellent, it is strong and well developed. Coolermaster get the Editors choice on this case.

Good Cooling
Good expansion
Excellent layout
Good design
Easy access

Too Large for a LAN (not portable)
Some wiring needed internally as there are a lot of fans.