With the packing materials removed, the 310 has a definite presence with its shiny black plastic bezel and blue trim. The side panel features an asymmetrical window and incorporates a 120/92/80mm fan placement giving the user some cooling options for the expansion card area.
Besides blue, the Elite 310 also comes in red, silver and orange trim.
Rumor has it that the 310 will soon be available in white with blue or pink trim as well, possibly to tempt the female enthusiasts among us.
Black power and reset buttons (with diamond cut edges) share a 3.5-inch bay cover with the blue indicator lights, and the I/O panel near the bottom of the front panel has the customary audio and USB ports. The spacing of the USBs allows for the use of large devices, and the lack of a FireWire port really isn't that much of an issue anymore. On the other hand, one of my pet peeves is the blocked off hole for the absent FireWire port. This only adds a bit of cheesiness to an otherwise attractive front façade. Definitely not cheesy is the Cooler Master logo badge.
The rear panel is…wait for it…conventional. The fan placement will accept a 92 or 80mm fan but I can't think of a good reason to replace the included 120mm fan with a smaller one. There doesn't appear to be much room between the top of the motherboard and the top-mounted power supply, but we'll see about this in the installation section of this review. The non-replaceable expansion bay covers are another personal pet peeve, but to be fair, I've seen this become more and more prevalent lately, even on some cases with a much heftier price tag than the 310. The side panels are secured with thumbscrews and the windowed panel features a padlock tab for the more paranoid among us.