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Cooler Master MasterCase 5: Beauty is truly skin deep

By Wong Chung Wee - 18 Aug 2015



The installation process was a straightforward affair.

The motherboard installation was easy and fuss-free. Moreover, stand-offs on our review unit were already installed to accommodate our ATX board. Next, we installed our graphics card and secured it with two thumbscrews. The PSU installation was a break from norm as we had to remove the PSU bracket from the case and attach it to the PSU. Following which, we had to slide the PSU from the rear of the chassis, with the rubber-padded rails to guide the unit inside and cushion it from vibration.

The plastic drive adapter of the drive cage allows for the tool-free installation of a 3.5-inch HDD as it has four rubber-padded, non-threaded screws that fit into the corresponding screw holes of the HDD. The rubber pads provide both grip and dampening effect.

Using the drive adapters, we mounted the 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives at the 3.5-inch drive cage. Installing 3.5-inch drives is a tool-free affair, requiring users to only latch the drive onto the adapter itself.

The drive adapter can also fit a 2.5-inch drive, but they would have to be secure in place using mounting screws.

However, 2.5-inch drives would need to be secured to the drive adapter with additional screws. After both drives were secured in their adapters, they were slid into place at the drive cage.

 Looking at the amount of cables from the PSU, it might not be such a good idea to install drives behind it.

Here's another view from the rear of the motherboard installation area. Seeing how the power cables bunched up at near the front of the chassis, we feel that it might not be a good idea to install a drive at the drive tray there as ventilation will almost certainly be negatively affected. 

However, if you really have to make use of that space, you would have to use the mounting tray. We remove the tray for a closer look. The 3.5-inch drive cage will slide into place from the front of the tray.

The drive cage is installed from the front of the tray, and secured with three mounting screws.

The drive cage is installed from the front of the tray, and secured with three mounting screws.

It's recommended to slide the 3.5-inch drive cage onto the mounting tray and secure the cage from within the chassis.

We hit a little snag here; after we put the drive cage onto the mounting tray, we couldn't get the entire unit back into the chassis. Therefore, the removable mounting tray should stay in its place, and the drive cage has to be secured to the tray from within the chassis.

Here's a look at the front and rear of our finished product.

As we mentioned earlier, we would avoid using the space behind the PSU due to cable clutter from the PSU itself. After securing the side panels, we had ourselves a well-ventilated, mid-tower chassis.


Accessories installation

The happy story didn’t end here as we were armed with MasterCase 5 accessories that can be purchased separately. The accessories allowed us to exercise the FreeForm modularity design concept in order to customize the chassis to suit our needs. Here's a look at the accessories that users can purchase separately to add additional capabilities to their MasterCase 5.

  • Liquid cooling bracket, and the top mesh cover
  • 2.5-inch drive bracket
  • 3.5-inch drive cage (two versions; one that fits up to three drives, the other can accommodate up to two drives)
  • window side panel (this was the only accessory that wasn't supplied to us)

On the left, the liquid-cooling bracket, and on its right, is the top mesh cover. They are sold as an accessory set.

The first accessory was the liquid cooling bracket and its accompanying mesh cover. This would allow for the installation of liquid-cooling radiators in the top panel.

We removed the original top mesh cover, as well as the plastic rear handle cover.

So in order to fit a 240-/280 mm cooling radiator of a liquid cooling system, we had to remove the original top mesh cover and the plastic cover of the rear metal handle.


Following which, we installed a water-cooling bracket, it was a tool-free affair as the bracket was held in place by four thumbscrews.

This is how the MasterCase 5 looks like after we installed the top mesh cover for the liquid cooling bracket.

After that, we installed the top mesh cover that covers the entire top cooling bracket. The entire radiator would thus be hidden and ensures a sleek and uniform look.

On the left, we have the 2.5-inch drive bracket. After turning it around, we slide in our 2.5-inch SSD and secure the drive with four mounting screws.  On the right is our finished product.

For mounting additional 2.5-inch drives, we were supplied with a 2.5-inch drive bracket. We had to secure our 2.5-inch SSD to it with four mounting screws.

The 2.5-inch drive tray can be mounted below the cut-out at the motherboard installation area.

There are two of mounting positions, which are located below the CPU cooler cut-out of the motherboard tray. The bracket is easily secured with its thumbscrew.

The 2.5--3.5-inch drive cages that are sold as accessories.

The last accessories we were supplied with were two 3.5-inch drive cages with three and two drive adapters respectively. They were fairly easy to install as they had thumbscrews, so we didn't have to fiddle with any additional mounting screws at all.

We installed the 3.5-inch drive cage accessory.

We installed the three-drive, 3.5-inch drive cage below the one that was pre-installed. If we added them all up, the MasterCase 5 can accommodate a total of four 2.5-inch drives and five 2.5/3.5 drives for a grand total of 9 drives.

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  • Aesthetics 6.5
  • Functionality 8.5
  • Usability 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Economically priced
Well-thought-out features
Ability to customize and expand via optional accessories
Straightforward to install
The Bad
Bland, unexciting design
Lack of a PWM fan hub
Area behind PSU not really suitable for additional drives
Only comes with 2 preinstalled fans
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