Installing the motherboard is painless, thanks to three open sides of the chassis. You should, however, put some thought into cable routing, and connect these before going on to the next step in the assembly process. As you can see, a standard Intel OEM cooler is used, since the chassis is not very tall.
Installing the hard drives is quite easy. Simply use the included rails, which do not require any tools, for the 3.5" drives. Placing a 2.5" drive onto the tray, however, does require screws, which means using a screwdriver to secure it properly.
Once ready, simply slide them into the bay of your choice until they snap into place. The connectors of each drive point away from the side where the graphic card is to be installed. You should install the drives before adding a high-performance GPU because the graphics card will partially block access to the bays.
The installation of the optical drive requires you to pull the front cover off to free up the single external drive bay. Once the cover is removed, the single 120 mm intake fan is revealed as well. Simply slide the drive into place and flip the lever of the screw-less mechanism. You may want to secure the drive with an additional screw or two to make sure it doesn't pass any vibrations onto the metal structure of the Elite 120.
Installing the graphics card is rather simple, but you should make sure that all cables that need to be connected to the board are in place before inserting the graphics card. You should, thanks to the layout and the direction of the hard drives, have no issues installing most modern graphics cards, making a gaming rig a definitive possibility.
Once all the other hardware is in place, place the cap on the PSU and slide it into the bay through the back of the chassis. Once again, you have to make sure that all the required cables from the power supply are attached to the appropriate parts. I used a unit of standard length with plenty of room left for the slightly above average long ODD on the opposite side. You should, ultimately, be alright, even with a somewhat longer power supply.
Once everything is in place, the case seems to be jam packed to the rim, but the impression is a deceitful one. While the non-modular PSU used really adds a bit to the cable clutter, the entire motherboard area is pretty much free of cables. The majority of the cable clutter has been tucked away in-between the board and the drives, or below the hard drives.
Once turned on, the Cooler Master Elite 120 makes a good impression. It is compact enough to be used as a LAN rig and quiet enough with the right components to act as a HTPC system.
The black optical drive looks like a good fit and the grey aluminum panel gives the entire front some much needed contrast. A blue LED lights up after turning the system on. It is not too strong, and you won't have to worry about it bothering anyone during a dark gaming session, or while watching your favorite movie.
Looking at the air vent, you can clearly see the graphics card fan through the air vent. This means that the GPU has access to fresh air, but also to dust because there is no protection in place. In the rear, everything is where it should be, with clear access to all the major aspects of the system.