The Centurion 534 conforms to most people's general impressions of a casing, from its traditional rectangular box-like exterior to the conventional front bezel. The major difference is that instead of having front intake vents for case ventilation, Cooler Master has opted to go with a twin-meshed design located at both sides of the front bezel. This is not particularly innovative but it does seem to allow for proper airflow without compromising its looks.
However, when we looked at the meshes from the inside, we found a different scenario. Most of the meshes ended up being blocked from the interior frame of the steel chassis so we have some doubts about the effectiveness of this design. Much of the intended airflow may simply be running into a steel barrier, though the front 120mm fan at the bottom helped overcome this. As a nod to those who can't resist having their casings light up like a Christmas tree, this fan glows blue when turned on and this glow should be visible through the wire meshes.
The aluminum front bezel has space for up to five 5.25-inch devices, more than sufficient for most users and almost a standard for a mid-tower. These drive bays are exposed, meaning that if you are concerned about aesthetics, you should carefully choose your devices. The Centurion logo is embossed on the bezel for the 3.5-inch drive bay, so if you need to attach a floppy or Zip drive, that has to go too. Meanwhile, the power button is prominently located in the middle, with the indicator lights right below it. At the bottom of the casing we find the usual array of I/O ports. Only the standard ones are included, like a pair of USB2.0 ports, audio jacks and a FireWire port.
Going completely aluminum would have made the Centurion 534 a lot more costly, so not surprisingly, the chassis and side panels are made of steel. The side panels come in a handsome black that fits the silver front quite nicely and we soon left lots of fingerprints on the glossy black surface. Here we find another modern feature that makes the Centurion more than your typical boxy casing. There is a shrouded air guide on the inside of the right panel right over where the CPU is normally located. This should help alleviate the temperatures in the casing by redirecting exhaust from the CPU fan out of the casing.
The back of the casing is also pretty standard, from the large 120mm exhaust vent to the gaping space reserved for the optional power supply unit. Unfortunately, the exhaust fan is not included though this is expected, considering the price segment that the Centurion series is targeted at. A nice touch is the array of vent holes above the expansion slots, which should contribute somewhat to the overall ventilation of the casing, though this is not unique to the Centurion 534 and can also be found in some of the other casings in the series.