Cooler Master ATCS 840 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on December 11, 2008
The new Cooler Master ATCS 840 is an all-aluminum full-tower case supporting two power supplies, coming with four fans (one 230 mm fan on the front panel, two 230 mm fans on the top and one 120 mm fan on the rear), removable motherboard tray, several other features we will talk about and a very conservative looks. Let’s take an in-depth look at this latest release by Cooler Master.
ATCS 840 is available in two colors: black or silver. We reviewed the black version.
Don’t let the very conservative looks from ATCS 840 fool you: it has tons of features, being a very complete product.
In Figure 3, you can see its front panel. It has six 5.25” external bays, the lower one coming with a 3.5” adapter that can be used by either a floppy disk drive, a memory card reader or by a hard disk drive (the adapter has holes matching those on a hard drive, allowing this installation).
On the front panel there is a projected aluminum plate and the space between this plate and the case servers as an air intake for the fan present behind the front panel. This fan is officially labeled as a 230 mm fan, but its blades measure 180 mm, making it to be smaller than other “smaller” fans. This is something we’ve been complaining a lot lately; we think the manufacturers should announce both the external size of the fan and the size of what really matters: the blades.
This plate can be removed to gain access to the washable dust filter present attached to the front fan.
All fans from this case use a motherboard three-pin connector, allowing you to connect them directly to your motherboard and thus monitor their speed. They also come with adapters to install them directly to the power supply. No speed control feature is provided.
In Figure 5, you can see the top panel from ATCS 840. This case comes with two 230 mm fans there (180 mm blades). The small panel containing the audio and USB connectors is hidden and you need to press it to have access to these connectors.
This case comes with four USB ports, one FireWire port and one eSATA port, the most perfect combination possible. The USB ports are separated in two sets and each set is distant enough from each other allowing you to install two “fat” USB devices at the same time. The two ports within each set, however, are too close to each other.
The bottom panel from this case has some features as well. In Figure 7, you can see the air outlet from the power supply on the left (features a washable dust filter accessible from inside the case) and the washable dust filter for an optional 120 mm fan that can be installed on the bottom of the case (doesn’t come with the product).
The feet are very stylish, looking like the ones used by audio receivers.
The rear panel from ATCS 840 can be seen in Figure 8. By default the power supply should be installed on the lower compartment. This case, however, has a second power supply compartment on the top, which can be used if for some reason you want to install your power supply on the top or if you want to install two power supplies on this case.
In order to install a power supply on the top part of the case, however, you need to permanently remove one of the two top fans (or the two of them if your power supply is more than 8” – 20 cm – deep). Thus it is recommended that you install a power supply on the top only if you want a system with two power supplies. In this case you need to add a metallic holder for the top unit, which comes with the product.
ATCS 840, however, doesn’t come with the necessary adapter to make two power supplies to turn on at the same time. If you install two power supplies you will need to either buy this adapter or manually connect the green wire (pin 14) from the two power supplies together, to allow them to turn on at the same time when you press the standby (a.k.a. on/off) switch from the case.
This case comes with two holes protected with a rubber cover for installing external water cooling solutions, so you won’t need to drill or break anything on your case to install such solutions. These holes are available where the top power supply is installed, so if you install a second power supply you lose this feature.
There is a 120 mm fan on the rear of this case (you can monitor its speed if you install it directly on your motherboard).
This case has seven slots for expansion boards and all they use meshed covers, enhancing the airflow, especially if you use the feature we are going to talk next.
ATCS 840 comes with an external exhaustion chamber for the expansion boards. This is especially attractive if you have high-end video cards that generate a lot of hot air on the back of the computer, which probably is the case if you are willing to by this product. In order to use this device, however, you need to buy a 120 mm fan, because ATCS 840 doesn’t come with it.
As you can see this box has two holes protected by rubber covers to allow you to route the cables from your computer, like the monitor cable.
Now let’s take a look inside ATCS 840.
Opening ATCS 840 is very easy since both side panels are fastened using thumbscrews. In Figure 11 you can have an overall look from inside ATCS 840.
In Figure 12 you see the top part of the case with its two 230 mm fans and the 120 mm rear fan. As explained, when installing a power supply on the top you need to remove at least one of the top fans. They both need to be removed if you want to install a water-cooling radiator based on two or three 120 mm fans directly inside the case. The case comes with four plastic parts to allow the installation of such radiator.
On the bottom part of the case (Figure 13) we have a washable dust filter for the power supply fan (which should be installed with its fan facing down) and a place for installing an optional 120 mm fan that doesn’t come with the case.
Daughter boards are fastened to the case using regular screws. No screwless mechanism or thumbscrews are provided. We think Cooler Master should have included thumbscrews here, since we are talking about a high-quality case. As already mentioned, this case use meshed covers here.
This case allows you to install two extra 120 mm fans (which don’t come with the product) attached to the hard disk drive bays. These fans cool down the hard disk drives and at the same time improve the airflow inside the case.
On this case you can remove the motherboard tray in order to facilitate the PC assembling process. The tray slides on a high-quality ball-bearing rail.
This case has six external 5.25” bays and one of them comes with an adapter for installing a 3.5” device, which can be a floppy disk drive, a memory card reader or a hard disk drive (the adapter has all the necessary holes). These bays use screwless mechanisms that work very well.
ATCS 840 comes with six bays for hard disk drives. These bays are small drawers that don’t need any screw or tool for the hard drive installation. They feature little shock absorbers to prevent the noise generated by the hard disk drives from propagating to the chassis and thus being amplified.
Since you can use the adapter that comes with the case to install a hard disk drive on any 5.25” bay you can have up to seven hard disk drives with this case, if you don’t have an external 3.5” device, of course.
Cooler Master ATCS 840 (RC-840-KKN1-GP) case main specs include:
* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this review.
Cooler Master ATCS 840 is a full-tower case targeted to users that want top-notch all-aluminum case. Here is a summary of what we found about this case.
As one could expect, this is an expensive product, but since we’ve seen fully loaded all-aluminum cases costing far more than USD 300 ATCS 840 pricing isn’t bad at all for the market segment it is targeted. It can be found, on average, for USD 267, just a little bit above fully loaded steel cases such as Thermaltake Spedo Advantage Package and another aluminum full-tower case from Cooler Master, Cosmos S.
It provides more features and has a better quality than Cosmos S, even though we like the handles available on Cosmos S.
If you are willing to make a USD 270 – USD 280 hole in your wallet, we think Cooler Master ATCS 840 is one of the best options around.
Usually we don’t give awards to cases on this price range because most of them have too many little flaws that are inexcusable if you are willing to pay that much for a case. ATCS 840 is a good exception, being a practically flawless case. You won’t regret buying it.For the average Joe, however, there are several other full-tower cases on the market that provides a better cost/benefit ratio.