Cooler Master CM Force 500 - The First of Its Kind

Launch SRP: S$65



The CM Force 500 is a classic example of an affordable mid-tower chassis, with ample options for cooling fans. This is especially so for the side-mounted cooling fans. Unfortunately, it's a pity there was only a lone bundled rear fan.

The CM Force 500 is a reliable workhorse of a mid-tower casing; with its tool-free installation of both 3.5- and 5.25-inch drives as well as its numerous cooling options. Its attractive SRP of S$65 makes it enticing; however, only if one can overlook its shortcomings.

Its thin steel construct at the rear had us a little worried as the expansion slots needed to be bashed out; and the two holes that are meant to accommodate tubes for liquid cooling systems, will also need to be punched out as well when the situation calls for it. Such flimsy construction at such potentially "high-impact" areas of the CM Force 500 does mark the Achilles heel of this casing.

The last casing that we reviewed, which called for such muscle work, was the Enermex Ostrog mid-tower casing. This casing did fair better than the CM Force 500 as the former featured rubber grommets to cover the tubing holes while the CM Force 500 still resorted to bash-out hole covers that are extremely crude in implementation. In addition, the Ostrog featured a removable, external-facing 3.5-inch drive bay while the CM Force 500 had none. On first impressions, we found the CM Force 500 rather similar to the Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus. Both of them feature tool-less drive bays; although the Elite 431 Plus' 5.25-inch drive installation is better implemented than the CM Force 500. In terms of drive bays, the CM Force 500 supports up to eight 3.5-inch ones (1 external-facing; 7 internal ones), making it an excellent choice for rig builders who have a large number of supported devices. Both of the casings can accommodate high-end graphics cards.

Although the CM Force 500 is made of the same 0.5mm SEC steel and hard plastic combination as the Elite 431 Plus; its rear steel construction at its expansion slots is rather flimsy as we accidentally damaged it while punching out one of the covers. This puts the CM Force 500 clearly behind the Elite 431 Plus; and when compared to the Enermex Ostrog, the CM Force 500 lacks options for bottom-mounted cooling as well as a removable 3.5-inch drive enclosure. Both of these casings hardly cost much more than the S$65 price that the CM Force 500 commands. However, if one can overlook some of its glaring shortcomings, the CM Force 500 should make a reliable and affordable chassis to house your components without straining your overall budget for a DIY desktop system.

The Good
Relatively inexpensive
Numerous cooling options, especially at its flanks
The Bad
Flimsy steel construct at expansion-slot area
Only a lone bundled rear 120mm cooling fan

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