FSP CMT340 RGB Tempered Glass Mid-Tower Case Review
The FSP CMT340
A Compact Mid-Tower with Tempered Glass and Addressable RGB
In case you don’t know, FSP is one of the few companies that actually manufactures the power supplies they sell. I know that many of the ‘name brand’ PSUs for sale are actually built by FSP (in fact FSP is the OE manufacturer for the EVGA unit that is powering the PC I’m using to type this review).
FSP entered the case market in 2017 with the CMT210, and this CMT340 is from their latest series of cases released this year. At the time of writing, this unit can be purchased for $96.99 USD on Amazon.
“The CMT340 is a mid-tower PC case designed for e-sports and PC gamers. It features 2 semi-transparent tinted tempered glass panels, a sleek metal chassis, all black coating throughout the inside and out for a streamlined look. The CMT340 is a complete package with the look and features that you would want for a gaming PC case.”
Features from FSP:
- Two tempered glass panels (1x front, 1 x side)
- Four preinstalled addressable RGB (ARGB) fans (3 x front, 1 x rear)
- Supports RGB Sync for most motherboards
- Compact design with the stunning good looks
- Built-in 2 x USB3.0 for high-speed data transfer
- Model Name: CMT340
- Type: ATX Mid Tower
- Color: Black
- Materials: SPCC, Plastic, Glass x2
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro ATX, ITX
- Power Supply Type: ATX
- Drive Bays
- 3.5“ HDD x2
- 2.5″ SSD x2
- Fans (pre-installed)
- Front: Addressable RGB x3
- Rear: Addressable RGB x1
- Fan and Water Cooler Support
- Front: 120mm x 3 or 360mm Radiator
- Top: 120/140mmx2 or 240mm Radiator
- Rear: 120mm x1
- Max Radiator Support: 360mm x1 & 240mm x1
- Component Clearance
- Maximum CPU Cooler Height: 160mm
- VGA Card Length: 350mm
- Maximum PSU Length: 170mm
- External I/O port: USB 3.0 x2, HD Audio
- Dimension (DxWxH):368 x 206 x 471 mm / 14.49 x 8.11 x 18.54 inches
- Weight: 6.2 kg
A funny thing happened on the way to the PCPer forum
(Editor’s Note: We introduce a new contributor to PC Perspective this week as Kent Burgess provides his first review. I will let him tell the
terrifying uplifting story of how he ended up choosing the life of an enclosure editor in his own words, and it’s almost all sort of true at times!)
Funny story: one Wednesday night I was peacefully working on my new Plex server while listing to the PC Perspective podcast. I’ve been listening to, and watching these guys for years, while occasionally throwing in the random, snide comment in the chat. After the show, they’re all still hanging out talking, and Sebastian brings up that he needs someone to help with case reviews.
By nature I’m a pretty helpful person, so I sent an email to Sebastian offering my meager skills to assist. So, following a background check, a credit check, and a visit from a guy who may or may not have been a “doctor” (and bore an uncanny resemblance to Josh) a few days later, I received this case for my analysis.
FSP CMT340 Exterior
When I saw the size of the box, I was really glad that I had determined to use a Micro-ATX motherboard as the test system for my case reviews. The box was so small, I had to believe this was a Micro-ATX tower.
I was once again shocked when I pulled the case out of the box, saw the diminutive size, and 7 expansion slots. “No way, this little thing can’t be ATX.” It is. To give some reference, the CMT340 specs list it at 18.54” H x 14.49” L x 8.11” W. The numbers seem to belie the actual impression of the case in person, because it looks and feels smaller than those numbers. The CMT340 is absolutely dwarfed by standard mid tower designs. I was immediately intrigued.
Most people I build systems for are looking for more reasonable sized systems, and often even Mid ATX towers are too bulky for their tastes. Something this size that’s full ATX would be perfect for people looking for a capable PC that’s small enough to not take up much room on a desk. While I generally try to shove as many radiators, drives and fans into my personal rig as will physically fit, I also realize that I’m not normal. Dr. Josh told me so. (I hate to tell you this, but he isn’t a real doctor. – Ed.)
The front I/O, located at the top, just behind the glass panel, includes two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a hard drive activity light, a power indicator, a power button, and an RGB control button. The included accessories were fairly limited as they included a power supply mounting bracket, an assortment of black screws, four zip ties, and a very basic owner’s manual.
Now that I’ve got the initial impression out of the way, I’ll get into the part that FSP wants people to talk about and notice: the tempered glass and RGB. This case has a 4mm thick tempered glass side and front panels, which combined with the four (three intake, one exhaust) 120mm full RGB fans makes the appearance very striking.
FSP CMT340 Interior
FSP specs say the case will support a 160mm tall CPU cooler. I actually found this was probably a conservative estimate as I measured just over 165mm between the top of the CPU and the side panel. The full length power supply basement conceals two 3.5 inch hard drive trays which can be moved back to accommodate a 360mm radiator in the front of the case.
There is also space for two more either 120mm or 140mm fans at the top, but radiator support there is limited to 240mm (2×120).
The full length power supply basement conceals two 3.5 inch hard drive trays which can be moved back to accommodate a 360mm radiator in the front of the case. However, due to the very short length of this case, there is already limited room for cable management with all but the shortest ATX power supplies. With my test system’s 160mm long PSU, I already had very little space with the hard drive caddies in the default location. Moving them back to make room for a radiator would make cable management a real problem.
Above the ventilated cover of the PSU shroud, there are two 2.5 inch drive caddies. This location has become pretty popular over the last couple of years as it allows owners to make use of what is otherwise wasted space. The problem I’ve encountered in the past with trays such as this is that they don’t have adequate height from the shroud, and they can force the SATA power plugs to sit at some stressed angles. This case is no exception and I was very careful to not stress the plug when installing a drive here. (Having broken the SATA power connector off an SSD in the past I can tell you that it is not fun. I don’t recommend it. Many four letter verbs will follow.)
There is a unified fan/RGB controller mounted to the rear of the motherboard tray. The fans only have one plug that provides power to the fan and the RGB. It appears to be a proprietary plug, and is quite clever, making cable management here much easier than any RGB fans I’ve used previously. There are a large number of different RGB effects on this system and they can be controlled from a button on the front I/O, or by connecting them to an RGB header on your motherboard.
As the fans are receiving a full twelve volts from the control unit, they spin at 100% while the system is powered on. This isn’t a problem as they are not very loud, and I believe they spin at under 1000 rpm (FSP does not list the fan specs on the case website or in the manual). The only major drawback to this philosophy is that these fans, their controller, and this case are really designed to go together. If you want to add a radiator in the front and swap fans (these are not ideal for use on a radiator), then the control hub would only be used for the exhaust fan.
As I mentioned, FSP is highlighting the tempered glass and the RGB on this chassis. The tempered glass on the front and side is of good thickness and clarity. The side panel actually has a very good removal system, with a small metal lip at the bottom of the panel so you can just hook it in, then slide it forward into place without the worry of it slipping off.
The front panel attaches simply enough with four thumbscrews, but the two on the back side of the motherboard tray are in a pretty tight space to get to, and since it’s tempered glass, and doesn’t have a support lip like the side panel, it has to be supported securely while removing the screws, so taking it on and off can be a little annoying.
A minimal air gap for the front fan intake behind this glass panel
To really showcase the intake fans behind that tempered glass front panel, FSP decided to forego the use of a dust filter. There is also the fact that there is only 4.5mm of space between the tempered glass panel and those three fans, so all the air coming into your system has to be pulled in through that narrow gap.
This could also be part of the reason that FSP didn’t use a dust filter, as the addition of one would have added more restriction for the fans to pull air in from the front. The case does include dust filters for the power supply intake and the top panel, with the latter being magnetic.
As I got into the build process, I began encountering my main issues with the CMT340. Yes, it’s really nice and light. But “light” on a steel PC case, generally indicates thin sheet metal, and that is the case here. Some cases will uses thinner metal in certain areas, but thicker in places that need more reinforcement (like the motherboard tray). That really doesn’t seem to be the case here.
The motherboard standoffs come preinstalled for an ATX motherboard, so I needed to move three for the install of my micro-ATX test system. Enter problem number one: two of the standoffs that I needed to move were cross threaded from the factory. When I went to reinstall them I discovered why. There was a lot of uneven paint residue on the threads of the screw holes in the chassis. This, combined with the large amount of flex in the motherboard tray, due to the thin sheet metal used, made it a trial to get the standoffs installed without cross threading.
If you’re going to use a standard ATX motherboard, you probably wouldn’t encounter this, but it’s still an issue that is symptomatic of the main problem with this case.
A greater problem was the flex of the metal around the PCI expansion slots. To screw the GPU bracket to the chassis required me to push against the chassis to get the screw holes to line up. Not only do the holes not come close, but there is enough flex in the chassis to force them to line up. In this case, perhaps the chassis flex is a feature, not a bug. Otherwise, I probably would have had to zip tie the GPU to the bracket.
I’m also not a fan of the locking mechanism of the PCI expansion slot cover. It’s just a metal cover that holds things in place. It’s held in by two screws but there are no retaining hooks or slides so it has to be held in place when removed or reinstalled. I’ve seen some cheaper cases using a similar bracket and I can understand it as a cost saving measure for a $50 case, not a $100 case.
Cable management was pretty good. There is plenty of space behind the motherboard tray, and then towards the front of the chassis, there is almost an inch between the tray and the side panel, though you have to be careful how you route the cables because there are no covers or grommets on the cable passthroughs. If you have a cable behind the opening, it will be visible from the viewing side of the case.
I was very happy to see that there are a large number of cable tie points, so you can keep things nice and neat.
|Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Xeon E3 1245 V2|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z77 Pro M Motherboard|
|Memory||16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3-1666|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SC|
|Storage||Intel 520 Series 120gb SSD|
|CPU Cooler||Scythe Choten w/ be quiet! Silent Wings 3 fan|
|GPU Cooler||Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo II|
After temperature testing, the numbers show an interesting story, though not wholly unexpected. For testing the be quiet! Silent Wings 3 fan on the Scythe Choten CPU cooler was set to 100%, and the Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo II cooler on the GTX 980 was set to a 33% fan speed (the highest fan speed reached on default curve during open bench stress test).
The standardized airflow test employs 2x be quiet! Pure Wings 2 120mm fans (2 intake, 1 exhaust) at 100%. Temperature testing was conducted using the following benchmarks:
- CPU Temperature Testing: OCCT set to Small FFTs for 30 minutes
- GPU Temperature Testing: Unigine Heaven set to Extreme at 1080p
- Sound testing conducted during run of 3d Mark Time Spy Extreme
With the stock fans, the CPU and GPU temperature both reached 4 C higher than with the standardized airflow fans. In the standardized tests, the CPU temps were within margin of error of the other cases tested so far, but the GPU temps were still well above what should be considered good.
Even with the higher airflow fan at the exhaust, the case just isn’t flowing enough to get rid of the hot GPU exhaust during a long gaming session. If a 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler were being used at the top of the case, and the fans set to exhaust, that would most likely help, but then the hot GPU air is passing right through the CPU cooler.
When testing the noise levels of cases, I’m taking my measurements with the stock fans. I don’t have the lowest noise floor (37.9 db), but the system was clearly audible (42.7 db) at both load and at idle. This is because there is no fan control and the FSP fans run at 100% at all times.
So, once all is said and done with my first review for PC Perspective, I just really have a hard time recommending the FSP CMT340. It really has three things in its favor: it’s very compact, and it has nice quality tempered glass panels on the front and side, and it includes 4 RGB fans which have a large number of built in effects, or can be synced with your motherboard controller.
Going against the CMT340 are the below average build quality, the airflow, the noise levels, and the price compared against those issues. For the right person, who needs a small, low power system that they want to show off, this might be the ticket. For most, there are better options in the price range.