Introduction

Cooler Master is a very familiar brand name amongst enthusiasts. The company started off as a manufacturer of PC cooling solutions and quickly diversified towards cases and power supply units, to which they owe much of their current reputation. Today, the company enjoys global recognition and produces dozens of products, but they never cease to update and upgrade their catalogues either. In recent shows they had discussed that in previous years their vision was perhaps a little unfocused, and at the time they were taking in comments from users and media as well as determining their overall direction, platform and portfolio in the second half of the decade. Today we are having a look at their latest creation, the MasterCase 5 - part of their refocus towards a more 'make-your-own' product philosophy, which also formed part of their Computex demonstration platform around the slogan 'Make It Yours.

Although the MasterCase 5 externally looks like just a tower case, Cooler Master is actually taking a huge bet with this product. This is their first case featuring the "FreeForm Modular System". Much like its name suggests, the company's aspiration is to make this the first truly modular case ever. Some extra parts and accessories were released alongside with the case but Cooler Master claims that many more are going to follow. We are having a thorough look at this new, unique design and some of its available extra accessories in this review.

CoolerMaster MasterCase 5
Motherboard Size ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 2 × 5.25"
Internal 2 × 3.5" (internal drive cages)
2 × 2.5" (System Area) or
2 × 2.5" (Rear of motherboard tray)
Cooling Front 3 × 140 mm or 3 × 120 mm (1 × 140 mm included)
Rear 1 × 120 mm or 140 mm (140 mm included)
Top 2 × 120 mm or 140 mm (none included)
HDD -
Bottom -
Radiator Support Front 240/280 mm radiator, up to 40mm thickness without fan
Rear Up to 140 mm
Top -
Side -
Bottom -
I/O Port 2× USB 3.0, 0× USB 2.0, 1× Headphone, 1× Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 190 mm
PSU -
GPU 410 mm (<295 mm if a HDD cage is installed)
Dimensions 512 mm × 235 mm × 548 mm
20.16 in × 9.25 in × 21.57 in
Prominent Features · Dual Chamber Design
· Slip-and-clip SSD pockets
· Free Form Modular System for unparalleled flexibility
Price $110 + Shipping (no accessories)

 

Packaging & Bundle

We received the MasterCase 5 in a large, sturdy cardboard box. The artwork is simple, based on a dark theme and focused on pictures of the case itself. Inside the box, the case is well secured between thick Styrofoam slabs and wrapped in a soft nylon bag. The packaging ought to offer more than sufficient protection during shipping.

The bundle of the MasterCase 5 is very simple and straightforward. Still, it comes well presented in a compartmentalized small cardboard box. The bundle consists of a basic manual, an extra mounting bracket for a fan, several simple black cable ties, two black Molex to 3-pin fan adapters and the necessary mounting screws and hardware. With the exception of the motherboard's standoffs, all of the screws are black.

Accessories

The modular nature of the MasterCase 5 is supposed to allow upgrades and changes. Some of them are offered in the form of aftermarket accessories that can be purchased separately when needed. There are only a few accessories available right now but, we are told, more will become available in the future as the "modular case" trend picks up. Cooler Master supplied us with all of the accessories currently available for the MasterCase 5 and we are having a quick look through them.

The most basic accessory is that of an extra 2.5" drive bracket. Two come with the case, but the MasterCase 5 actually has four 2.5" bracket slots (two in the system area, two at the rear of the motherboard tray). Cooler Master offers extra brackets for those that want to populate more than two of these slots.

Perhaps the most obvious accessory for such a case would be the extra HDD/SSD drive cages. Cooler Master offers them in two variants, one for two drives and one for three drives. They come complete with their drive trays and extra mounting screws. The trays can hold either 3.5" or 2.5" devices.

 

Two accessories are available only for the MasterCase 5, as they are standard with the MasterCase Pro 5. These are the top mesh cover and the windowed side panel.

The windowed side panel is just what its name suggests - a windowed right side panel for those that would like to display their system. The black stripe that covers the PSU compartment area can be removed if desired.

The top mesh cover replaces the straight metallic cover of the MasterCase 5. It is more than just an aesthetic upgrade, as it comes alongside a deep bracket/mount that allows for the installation of a liquid cooling radiator at the top of the case. 

 

The Exterior of the Cooler Master MasterCase 5
POST A COMMENT

32 Comments

View All Comments

  • Terry Suave - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    It would seem to me that Fractal Design is a better choice over this half-baked attempt at modularity. Even the Define R4 allows both a front radiator + HDD cages at the same time, and the R5 has even more quality of life improvements. Reply
  • Achaios - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    I have to agree with Terry Suave.

    What is actually happening in the market of PC Cases, is Swedish Fractal Design taking the PC entusiast world by storm.

    The Fractal Design S & R5 have been reviewed by every single major You Tube PC Enthusiast reviewer, including Jayz Two Cents, Linus Tech Tips, Paul's Hardware as well as the British Kit Guru.Net, and have received dithyrambic praise by ever single reviewer.

    From what I see of this case, it offers nothing to the PC enthusiast that Fractal Design S doesn't have and there are even several features that are missing.

    All in all, I am quite disappointed. I am a Cooler Master fan btw, having owned a Cooler Master Cosmos RC-1000 case. It is very disappointing to see Cooler Master fail to study the Fractal Design S and produce a similar case.

    In my humble opinion, there isn't any reason for an enthusiast to buy anything other than a Fractal Design S or R5 at this stage. Personally, I was forced to buy a Corsair Graphite 780T to replace my former Cooler Master COSMOS RC-1000, but this only because Fractal Design cases are sold out everywhere here in Greece. Generally, I dislike Corsair and tend to avoid them as a company that sells over-priced medium to low-quality hardware.
    Reply
  • usernametaken76 - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    "The Fractal Design S & R5 have been reviewed by every single major You Tube PC Enthusiast reviewer, including Jayz Two Cents, Linus Tech Tips, Paul's Hardware as well as the British Kit Guru.Net, and have received dithyrambic praise by ever single reviewer."

    Some or all of them do advertising for Fractal Design. They're also YouTube reviewers, high on production value (in some cases) while light on critical details. Not always, sometimes they give the specific reasons for why they feel something could use improvement, but all in all, those YouTube reviewers you mentioned are fluff.
    Reply
  • Achaios - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    While it is true that some of them do advertising in the form of spots inserted into their videos or product presentation, I wouldn't call any of these reviews as fluff. In addition, it is somewhat condescending & baseless to assume that every viewer of the said channels cannot discern said reviewers heavily and disingenuously pushing a specific product.

    It is no coincidence that every single reviewer is of the same opinion regarding Fractal Design cases.

    As a final note, Kit Guru. Net (Brits) have been specifically excluded by AMD in their latest GPU presentation due to their refusal to compromise on delivering impartial reviews, so you are misinformed in addition to being wrong.
    Reply
  • usernametaken76 - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    I would and did. They are light on details and anytime you accept advertising and free products from the company you're reviewing, it's 100% suspect that you're able to provide an unbiased viewpoint. Those guys have to make a living, I don't fault them for that. But many, many videos they put out start out strong and ride off with a whimper. Almost as if they said what they needed to say before getting to the final bits of advertising (some of which consume 20-30% of the total runtime of said videos. I don't take them seriously. They do provide a service but, for the most part, it's all just entertainment. They are entertaining. When I want to make an informed decision I read Ars and Anand and pcper, HardOCP, bit-tech, etc. Reply
  • usernametaken76 - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    p.s. you could just as well be a shill for Fractal Design. There's no way for anyone to know.

    As far as Kit Guru, one example. If they (AMD) have limited supply, and believe Kit Guru or anyone else may be shilling for Nvidia or anyone else, that's their call to supply or not supply them with free review hardware. If Kit Guru wanted to or did purchase retail product for review, that's their prerogative.

    As far as being wrong and uninformed, that's your opinion. You're generalizing based on me disagreeing with you, and I don't care if you agree with me or not.

    My opinion is those YouTube channels are providing a service, an entertaining one, but they are too short and do not provide enough "meat" for me to make an informed decision. Almost never do that do that, and if they are pushing Fractal Design products AT THE BEGINNING of their video, I'm going to judge them based on what they are...paid endorsers.
    Reply
  • Isambard - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    Kitguru? You mean the same site who just copied their PSU testing equipment from another website and are claiming to be doing tests impossible to be done? The same site that continuously posts odd ripple and single digit numbers with a 12bit usb oscilloscope with a maximum resolution of 10mv that can show only even numbers? Those who are making new posts based on what they overheard from company members sitting next their table at a cafe?

    Please. Everyone who knows a thing or two about computers and electronics knows that this site is a sham. They have done so many amateurish mistakes betraying most of their reviews and articles are fake that it is obvious they are not even at a level allowing them to cheat properly.
    Reply
  • Samus - Friday, August 28, 2015 - link

    O SNAP Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    *snaps 7 fingers on both hands Reply
  • romrunning - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    Achaios: "In my humble opinion, there isn't any reason for an enthusiast to buy anything other than a Fractal Design S or R5 at this stage."

    So what if I wanted a small, mini-ITX case? I guess I wouldn't be buying a Fractal Design S or R5. ;)

    (I could, however, buy one of Fractal Design's Node series.)
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now