FSP CMT271A Case Review

Conclusion

Today we have looked at the FSP CMT271A case, a value-oriented case that is affordable at under $100 in the ATX form-factor for DIY’ers. Overall, FSP has produced a fairly compact case here. With the outer dimensions closely trimmed around ATX motherboard specifications plus room for a fan and radiator stack in the front or the top, while still supporting tall CPU coolers, long GPUs, and water cooling, the CM271A is flexible but comes with a few tradeoffs that potential buyers should weigh before considering.

Our Thoughts

We found that overall building inside this case was not the most enjoyable experience. While it is absolutely possible to build a decent system inside, the experience of an enthusiast who wishes to grow or regularly rebuilds their system isn’t. Simpler upgrades like GPUs, additional memory, or CPU swaps on the same motherboard wouldn’t be a problem, but motherboard swaps and PSU changes would be more cumbersome than necessary. We also found the expansion slot panel to be rather weak, and the inclusion of just one fan is cheap. In addition, the fan having a Molex connector is a bit backward for today’s PC building age and the lack of a USB-C port reduces modern connectivity options.

When looking at marketing documentation for the FSP CMT271A, whether on FSPs website, on retailers’ websites, or in the manual for the case itself, there are two different case feet portrayed. The review sample has a common round chrome-colored foot, while some of the marketing material shows streamlined case feet that taper inward. The tapered feet are both sleeker and more subtle, as presented in marketing imagery, but the bigger issue is that it isn’t really clear which version will actually be shipped. This is important because it shows some inconsistency, and what you exactly get you may not know until you get it.

As for temperatures, it seemed to do the job generally well, we didn’t detect any major obstructions to airflow from the front panel. It intakes air from the middle grill section, plus the sides. It’s not completely obstructed, but it is more obstructed than a full mesh flow design. It doesn’t have the best front intake on air we’ve seen, but also not the worse. There are certainly better cases from FSP with better front air intake.

Final Points

The FSP CMT271A case is a compact solution that while limited out of the box, can be made to work for a basic build. If the aesthetics are acceptable and the case is big enough for you, it will do the job, but just. You will need to provide better cooling yourself. If you are an enthusiast, looking for modern features, better cooling, and a better overall working environment, we’d recommend looking at more updated and more fully-featured alternatives from FSP. As it is, at the price of $69.99, we feel this case is overpriced for what it offers and you can find better cases at this price point, considering its value nature with what it provides. There just isn’t much on the table here, but FSP does offer other cases worth a look.

Discussion

John Tharp
Long-time follower of computer gaming and computer assembly from the days of the i386, photographer, husband, and lover of gaming peripherals

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