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Thavion Hawk

Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 Review

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Posted · Original PosterOP

 

My last Case Review was for the Cooler Master Master Box Pro 5 RGB. As I said at the end of that review, I would be doing this case at some point in the future. Well it's some time later and now that I've done a build in the case I'm ready to give my opinion on it. Much of my review will be referencing the last one so I do recommend you read it before reading this one, although it is not strictly necessary.

 

First Impressions:

 

Pulling the case out of the box and looking at it, it's a showy design. Opting for form and function over the clean looks of the Master Box Pro 5 RGB. This is a good thing for the MB500 as it forgoes the closed off flat face of the Pro 5 RGB in favor of a bolder front panel featuring a bottom mounted half height mesh grill. Behind the grill you'll find Two of the case's Three 120 RGB fans installed providing ample(if sub) optimal air flow. The Third RGB fan can be found mounted to the back as an exhaust and give's instant value to the Tinted Tampered Glass Side Panel. For $95 it's hard to find a better RGB Gaming case.

 

Cracking it open:

The front of the case is bold. It slants from the top down and bottom up with a solid plastic top and mesh bottom meeting at the middle. The mesh is not super fine so it won't restrict too much airflow and allows plenty of light to shine from the pair of RGB Fans mounted behind it. The front of the case features room for Three 120mm Fans with spot empty. Where the Pro 5 featured all Three of it's RGB Fans up front, the MB500 moves one to the back replacing the 4th non RGB fan of its cousin. Even with one fewer fan this layout gives far better airflow and has the side effect of providing much more value to the Tampered Glass Side Panel with an RGB Fan in direct view. If you want to change the fan's up or install an AIO, there is room four up to Three 120mm or Two 140mm Fans and like wise up to a 360mm or 280mm(Restrictions do to the PSU Shroud may apply) Topping the front panel you will find the same basic IO as the Pro 5 RGB with CM's trade mark 45 degree slant. There is little to note about the layout. From left to right you'll find the Reset Button, Headphone and Microphone jacks, Power Button with Power LED Ring around it, Two USB3 Type A ports (Normal USB3 not the newer 3.1 Gen 2) and a Data Access LED.

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(Finished Build with RGB fans linked to ASUS Aura)

 

I do like that CoolerMaster once again used the Pro 5 RGB's Half Hinged mounting system for the Tempered Glass side panel. Two rubber gasket screws hold the top in while the bottom lip of the Glass has a metal hinge plate that sockets onto the bottom frame rail of the case allowing the panel to pivot out at the top. The downside I've found is that the hinge plat can make centering up the top screw holes with the Glass a bit finicky, but I find it a better design then full rear hinges or simply using four screws.

 

Once inside the case you find a reasonable layout for the internals. Working front to back, you find the two RGB fans, each with relatively short 3-pin DC power and standard 4-pin RGBV headers. If you have a motherboard with enough fan headers or a fan controller you can discard the Three into One Molex Power Adapter they come connected to. The same goes for the Three into One RGB Cable and included SATA Powerd One Button RGB Controller. Given that most Motherboards these days come with one or more RGBV headers with Software to control them, you're more likely going to go with that method over the bundled Controller. (All Three RGB Fans come Pre connected to the Molex and RGB Cables. The RGB Controller is packed in with the Case Accessories) 

 

Moving back from the RGB Fans you have two removable 2.5" SSD/HDD Sleds with cutouts above and below for clean cable running.

 

At the bottom of the Case you'll find a non removable, Full Cover Power Supply Shroud with slats and a Cutout in the Middle and Front to allow for Pump/Res mounting and Radiator installation. It is clear that Liquid Cooling is something this case was built for to some extent.

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Next up you have the Motherboard tray itself. The mounting options and support are quite good with lettered standoff points to help guide a novice builder. As a plus CM includes a Standoff Driver with the screws so you won't have to improvise(Anyone that has had to use pliers to install standoffs.)  if you didn't already have a socket driver handy. Above, in front and below the Motherboard tray there is ample cutouts for cables(More on that later)

 

The back of the case has nothing out of the ordinary. All of the Slot Covers are removable, vented and held in by normal screws(Thumbscrews would be nice but really are not needed) The Rear IO cutout is well done making installation of IO Shields easy(Not all cases stamp it out equally even at higher price points) As for the PSU, the rear of the case has two thumb screews holding in a mounting bracket. This is meant to allow easier mounting of PSU's sliding it in from the back. This is a handy feture given the PSU Shroud also hides a Non removable HDD/SSD Rack limiting the area you have to slide a PSU into place. The PSU can be mounted both Top or Bottom facing with a filtered intake on the bottom, although the limited venting on the PSU shroud could choke off smaller PSU's.

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Taking off the rear side panel you'll find a solid selection of Cable Management loops to run all the included cables along with those for power and data without much trouble. The included Zip Ties and Twist Ties make this job more or less painless. As ever a modular PSU will help with limiting Cable Runs, but the PSU Shroud does come up big in hiding any disused Cables from site. It is also here that you can get access to the HDD/SSD Drive Bay giving you a total of Four places to mount 2.5" HDD/SSD's with two of those also fitting 3.5" HDD's should you need the larger capacity.

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The top of the case features a magnetic filter covering an off set mount for two 120mm Fans or a 240mm Radiator. Given the offset and height above the Motherboard, there should be little problem with parts clearance. 

 

Pros:

 

-All and all this is a good case with solid cable management options allowing for clean builds.

-There is more then enough room for large GPU's for an SLI or Crossfire Build

-The PSU Mounting Bracket is simple to use and helps offset the constraints of the PSU Shroud and Drive Cage.

-The included fans are bright enough to shine through the tinted Glass Side Panel.

-Airflow is good, thought not perfect. Steve from Gamers Nexis has shown cases with this fan layout do well to chill GPU's but the airflow can starve CPU Coolers some what.

-Top and Front mount Liquid Cooling support is solid.

 

Cons:

 

-The Front of the case is a bit much. Personal preference for cleaner looks aside it's okay though making this a week con.

-There is no real Filters on the intake. The Mesh in the front will help, but it's not removable without taking the full front panel off.

- CPU cooling could suffer do to large GPU's blocking off airflow from the low mounted Front Fans. (Gamers Nexis showed many times)

- Like with the Pro 5 RGB, the Tint on the Glass Side Panel is too dark for the front RGB fans to shine through. the MB500 does however move one fan to the back giving better RGB out of the box.

 

Conclusion:

 

For under $100 this is a solid choice for a Gamer build with RGB cred. For every negative I've found there's one or more positives. It's easy to build in, has room for all but the largest parts and really it's more than enough for the vast number of those looking for something like it. I'd pick this over the Pro 5 RGB purly on its inproved Airflow even if it's neither perfect nor to my liking (Front panel)

 

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