Cooler Master MasterCase 5: Beauty is truly skin deep
Exterior & interior design
The Mastercase 5 has a full wire mesh front panel, where behind it, are removable dust filters. There are two smaller filters in front of the pair of 5.25-inch drive bays; the larger filter piece runs the rest of the length of the front panel.
The front I/O panel is angled for easier access should you decide to place the MasterCase 5 on the floor, and it houses a pair of USB 3.0 ports and two audio ports - one for headphones and the other for microphone. The power button sits in the center while the reset button is at the end on the right. The front carry handle extends over and beyond the front I/O panel. The mesh cover, with outlet air vents, is removable.
Tipping the chassis to its side, we are able to slide out the dust filter of the bottom air vents. The front and rear metal stands are sturdy; they also have rubber pads for cushioning.
At the rear of the chassis, we can see the 140mm cooling outlet fan. There is a total of six expansion slots, and near the bottom, there’s a bracket for securing the PSU. There's also a fair amount of outlet air vents at the rear.
The plain vanilla looks of the side panels are rather deceiving; at the bottom of each panel, there’s a curved groove that allows the panel to slide into place with relative ease. As with most other side panels, getting them into place involves some amount of jiggling. However, with the MasterCase 5, the re-designed side panels are extremely easy to install or remove. Together with the front and top panels, we took off the sides for a closer at its interior.
From the front, we can see the bundled 140mm intake cooling fan. The front of the chassis can accommodate a total of three 120-/140mm cooling fans; in such a configuration, the top fan will have to be shifted up and mounted with a bundled fan adapter. Also, when the 2.5-/3.5-inch drive cage is removed, a 240-/280mm radiator of a liquid-cooling system can fit at its front. It is evident the MasterCase allows for a wide selection of cooling options, and we shall examine other options, should the owner opt to accessorize the case.
At its rear, there’s a single 140mm exhaust cooling fan. You can also replace it with a 120mm one. An interesting point to note is the mounting grooves of the rear fan as they allow you to reposition the fan to your heart’s content. This is unlike the usual practice of having fixed mounting holes where the position of the fan cannot be changed. We can also see the six expansion slots of the case.
On the inside, there’s a large cut-out that takes up almost half the area where the motherboard is supposed to be mounted. This allows for CPU coolers to be swapped with ease. Speaking of which, the MasterCase 5 can accommodate CPU coolers of up to a height of 7.5 inches or 190mm. The rubber grommets are thin but they allow for cables to be passed through with ease.
Perpendicular to the motherboard mount area, we see a pair of 2.5-inch drive trays; they can also be installed at the rear of the motherboard mounting panel. Also, each tray is sold as a separate accessory by Cooler Master. As the PSU is house is a separate compartment away from the motherboard, there are rubber grommets at the panel, which allow for the PSU’s power cables to be threaded through to the motherboard and other components.
In keeping with the MasterCase 5's spirit of flexibility, the entire 5.25-inch drive cage is also removable. To install an ODD, simply slide in the device from the front and secure it with a latch at the side of the bay. The bundled accessories and mounting screws were packed neatly into a paper box that fit right into the 3.5-inch drive cage. Unlike the ODD drive cage, the 3.5-inch drive cage is removable and can be shifted to accommodate longer graphics cards or liquid-cooling radiators. The cage has drive adapters to fit 2.5 and 3.5-inch drives. According to the manual, the MasterCase 5 is able to fit graphics cards that measure up to 412mm in length (with the 3.5-inch drive cage in place), which should suffice since even the most powerful graphics cards are seldom longer than 12 inches (30mm) these days.
As we cross over to the PSU segment of the chassis, we see rubber-padded rails to guide the PSU and also cushion it from vibration. There are also the outlet vents, which we saw earlier, for the cooling fan of the PSU. One unique design feature of the MasterCase is the clear segregation of the PSU and other installed PC components, which includes the motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card.
In order not to waste space, there’s a removable mounting tray for a 3.5-inch drive cage, just beyond the PSU installation area.
To the rear of the motherboard mount area, we see the mounting options for the 2.5-inch drive adapter, just below the cut-out. There’s much attention to details, in terms of cable management, where we see the existing cables bundled neatly with Velcro bands. The bundled cables are tucked snuggly into a shallow recess just after the rubber grommets. Let’s proceed with our installation process with our usual components; we also fielded a pair of Samsung SSDs.