Cooler Master MasterCase 5: Beauty is truly skin deep
The only accessory we didn’t get was the windowed glass panel. In fact, for now, the panel was the only missing piece of the puzzle. This is because if we had installed it, our MasterCase 5 will be transformed into the MasterCase Pro 5! This is the magic behind the FreeForm modularity system. To some degree, it will allow owners of the MasterCase 5 to modify the chassis with future accessory upgrades to suit their storage and cooling requirements. The MasterCase 5 is an extremely well-designed mid-tower chassis as it has well-thought-out features to cater to the discerning system builder. The ample supply of air-vents is evident the designers of the MasterCase 5 take cooling very seriously; there’s sufficient of cooling options to cater for both air and liquid cooling systems. In terms of air-cooling, it is one of the first mid-tower casings we had come across that can accommodate up to three front, 120-/140mm intake fans.
On the surface, the Cooler Master MasterCase 5 appears to be a simple mid-tower chassis. After experiencing its design and features, only then were we able to understand the FreeForm modular system. Together with its accessories, the MasterCase 5 is able to break out of its stoic shell and allow the system builder to exercise his upgrade and customization options. The MasterCase 5 is available now for S$169, which is certainly fair for a premium mid-tower casing with its unique set of features. The MasterCase 5 Pro, with its added features, naturally costs more at S$209, but it's still reasonable in our books. That said, Cooler Master did indicate to us that it would be more economical for users who needed the extra features of the MasterCase 5 Pro to purchase that particular chassis outright. Purchasing the MasterCase 5 first and upgrading along the way with accessories to the attain the same features of the MasterCase 5 Pro would cost more in long run.
To sum up, the MasterCase 5 is a solid mid-tower chassis that offers good features and is user-friendly and easy to use and install. It's hard to find fault with the chassis but if we had our way, we would want the MasterCase 5 to come with more preinstalled fans and also have a PWM fan control hub thrown in. Since there are numerous cooling options available, it would be ideal if we had a control and monitoring system for the installed cooling fans. Additionally, though the MasterCase 5 looks smart, it could definitely also do with more interesting design flourishes for added visual flair.
With the big picture in mind, the MasterCase 5 is just a showcase for Cooler Master's FreeForm modularity system. We understand that these are just tentative steps taken by the company to streamline its chassis offerings. In the long run, the number of casing series will be reduced in order to reduce clutter and create clarity for the consumer - advanced users can then opt for additional accessories to spec their casing to meet their requirements. At times like this, perhaps less is truly more; with less product clutter, the end-user is able to appreciate what's brought before him.