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
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  • Smudgeous - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    Their Node 304 is fantastic. I was able to move all 6 of my 3.5" drives from my previous midtower case into that little box, plus a pair of 2.5" SSDs I wedged on the floor. Granted, you'd have to remove a pair of 3.5" drives if you wanted to throw in a PCIe card, but the fact you have that ability in something so small is fantastic in my opinion. Reply
  • shadvich - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    You don't even need to wedge the SSDs on the floor. You can attach them to the two outer 3.5" mounts (so in between the case door and the drive mount). Reply
  • meacupla - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    Node 304 is pretty large at 19.5L. It can accommodate large video cards and a 14cm double tower cooler.

    Node 202 (new) is a failed design. Absolutely terrible cooling performance for what it can pack.

    For ITX, Silverstone, hands down.
    RVZ01/FTZ01: 14L, can pack some high power parts and still remain cool.
    RVZ02/ML08: 12L, slimmer version of the above, but still allows for high power parts.
    SG13: 11.5L, very difficult to top this case.
    Reply
  • romrunning - Friday, August 28, 2015 - link

    Agree on Silverstone - I love my little SUGO SG05! Reply
  • umaxtu - Monday, August 31, 2015 - link

    So using your logic, the only car anybody in the world should be buying is a Honda Accord (Which has been on Car and Driver's 10 best list 29 times). Do you want every car company in the world to only make copies of the Accord? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    Both are designed to meet consumer needs while increasing revenue. It's a lot like buying parts of a video game, a little at a time until your total cost is far greater than just a game. Reply
  • vothr - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    I'm not sure what to think about this computer case. I would have to build a computer with it before I could give a proper opinion. Reply
  • usernametaken76 - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    Isn't that the point of reading multiple reviews before making a purchase? Of course after purchase anyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but what's the point of stating the obvious? Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, August 27, 2015 - link

    I so love dusty perspex windows. How very last decade. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Saturday, September 12, 2015 - link

    The custom water cooling mods are getting more popular these days, which would justify putting a windows on it. Personally I'm happy with just having a padded metal lid, like on my Silencio 352, for the silence and also not having to see the cable mess I aways leave in my PC. :D Reply

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