Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5 Review

Manufacturer: Cooler Master
UK price (as reviewed):
£109.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): TBC

At Computex 2015, Cooler Master launched its Make It Yours concept and a design ethos termed The Maker Spirit, which together formed a company-wide approach to future products that would be upgradeable and customisable and which drew on its experience in the PC modding scene. That concept becomes a reality today with the launch of the MasterCase series. The MasterCase products utilise the new FreeForm modular system, inspired by the MasterConcept case that was developed with the help of world-renowned modders.

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Launching today are two mid-tower cases; the MasterCase 5 and the MasterCase Pro 5 above it. The MasterCase Maker 5, the top-end model, is also incoming, although the current ETA is Q1 2016. While these cases constitute separate SKUs from a retail perspective, the whole idea is that users can upgrade from one to the other by buying and installing the necessary accessories to do so, or alternatively customise and tailor the case to their needs by only choosing the bits they need – hence, Make It Yours. Cooler Master says the MasterCase is designed to accommodate needs that change over the time. We'll talk you through which parts of the case will be sold separately, but please note that Cooler Master has not set pricing for accessories, more of which will be added over time as the concept develops further.

With that out the way, let's look at the MasterCase Pro 5. Initial impressions are good; the front panel is plastic but it's not excessive and it's rather strong too. It includes a top-to-bottom mesh section split into three parts; the two ODD covers and the single lower section. This should provide ample airflow, especially as two 140mm intake fans are fitted behind it – this constitutes one of the upgrades over the MasterCase 5, which only ships with one fan here. The mesh sections, including the ODD covers, double up as dust filters too and are easily removed from the outside with no tools required. Note that a third 140mm fan can be fitted in this area (unique for a mid-tower), provided you remove the optical drive cage inside.

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With the case's mid-tower dimensions (albeit relatively large ones), the location of the front IO panel above the mesh section should make for easy access regardless of whether your case sits on the floor or desk. It offers the standard set of connections and that hole you see in the roof gives you some space to rest a charging device. There is no immediately obvious way of removing the front panel, which does call into question the claims of adapting to needs over time, but Cooler Master says it's currently confirming the spec for 'future changes/accessories' related to USB 3.1, suggesting that some sort of upgrade path will be available eventually.

The left side panel features a full-size, clear window with a blacked out strip along the bottom to hide the PSU and its associated cables from view. This is one of the accessories that will be sold separately, as the basic MasterCase 5 will have a standard solid steel panel, as seen on the right side here. Both panels feel fairly durable and sturdy.

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Like the front, the roof is equipped with plenty of mesh, and it's again backed by dust filtering material. It's extremely easy to remove the top cover by sliding it backwards, and doing this reveals the 280mm/240mm radiator mounting bracket. This couldn't be easier to use really – simply loosen the four thumbscrews to release it. In most ways it's a better design than the one Phanteks uses in the Enthoo EVOLV ATX, for example, as that requires a screwdriver and means you lose space above it. The radiator bracket and roof cover will be bundled together and sold as another accessory for upgrading the MasterCase 5, which simply comes with a rear handle and flat, ventilated steel cover with regular fan mounts. At some point, you should also be able to buy either the radiator bracket or the mesh roof cover completely separately as well.

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Around back is a 140mm exhaust fan secured to adjustable height mounting struts, along with seven expansion slots. Rubber feet are always good to see as well, and the slide-out PSU dust filter is both easy to remove and to replace after cleaning. So far, this is a very user-friendly case; let's delve inside.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 235 x 548 x 512 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel, plastic
  • Available colours Dark metallic grey
  • Weight 10.7kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 2 x external 5.25in, 5 x 3.5in/2.5in, 2 x 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
  • Cooling 3 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (2 x 140mm fans included), 1 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mount (140mm fan included), 2 x 140mm/120mm roof fan mounts (fans not included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 190mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 412mm (296mm with HDD bracket installed)
  • Extras Expandable and modular design, removable dust filters

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