The Bottom Line
- + Includes six aRGB PWM 120mm fans - 3 normal, 3 reverse fan blade design
- + $100 price tag
- + Supports two 360mm radiators simultaneously
- - Initial cable mess
- - So-so cable management
- - Not all standoffs were pre-installed
- - Must remove the lower center fan to install bottommost standoffs and motherboard
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
CPS, a spin-off PC Cooler brand, has sent over their new C3 T500 ARGB mid-tower case for us to look at. The C3 T500 is a value-priced tempered glass offering from CPS that kicks off at $100, making it at least $20 cheaper than the Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini, which has similar design elements. Why don't we see what the C3 T500 is all about?
The packaging is unsurprising, with the standard brown cardboard box with the product name and company logo.
The C3 T500s specifications are listed on the side of the packaging, along with the model number.
Removing the C3 T500 from its packaging revealed two pieces of very good quality multi-layered foam and the standard clear plastic to aid in protection while shipping.
Outside the PC Cooler C3 T500 ARGB Mid-Tower Case
Removing all the packaging shows a more squared-off PC case approach, with all six 120mm aRGB PWM fans visible from all angles.
The front tempered glass, which has a slight gray tint, normally blocked off by a mesh or solid panel, clearly shows off the internals of the C3 T500.
The tasteful logo, CPS, is in the upper right-hand corner of the front of the C3 T500.
Flipping around the C3 T500 to the rear side panel shows intake mesh with dust filters on the side as well as additional mesh intake for the rear compartment for the PSU. This side panel is completely toolless and is held in with two POGO pins on the top rail, just like the side tempered glass side panel.
Moving to the rear of the C3 T500, it has a dual chamber design with the PSU vertically centered in the rear chamber. A six PCIe slot design allows up to an ATX motherboard to be installed. A single 120mm aRGB fan is installed as exhaust. However, a 140mm fan can be installed as well.
Going to the undercarriage of the C3 T500 shows the spacing where the three 120mm aRGB fans are installed. A magnetic dust filter is also in place to aid in easy cleaning. The feet, which are two formed bars, each with two rubber feet, raise the C3 T500 20mm from the resting surface.
They are finishing the tour around the C3 T500; the top panel has to mount up to three 120mm fans, two 140mm fans, and their corresponding radiators. Another full-length magnetic dust filter is also in place. The front I/O includes:
- A single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port
- Two USB 3.0 Type-A ports
- A combo mic/headset 3.5mm jack
- A small LED button
- A larger circular power button
Opening up the accessory box that PC Cooler has included shows various screws and a few zip ties, and the user manual, which is not very extensive at all.
Inside the PC Cooler C3 T500 ARGB Mid-Tower Case
Moving to the inside of the C3 T500, we start with a look at the rear cable section where the PSU, HDD/SSD drives and all the cabling would reside. While at first glance it would seem organized, cable management of six aRGB fans means twice the cables; thankfully, under all the cabling, PC Cooler has included an aRGB and fan controller to help manage cables a bit better.
The aRGB section of this controller can be controlled via the I/O button or by hooking up an aRGB cable directly to the 3-pin 5V header on the motherboard. Also, the HDD cage supports two 3.5" HDDs and a single 2.5" SSD and is located in the top right.
Underneath all the cables in that back rear chamber was a six fan and aRGB controller, which is a nice addition for a $100 PC case.
Taking off the side tempered glass panel shows the six included aRGB PWM 120mm fans, rated for 500 to 1100 RPM with a dB noise rating of 18.8dB.
Test System, Installation, and Finished Product
- Motherboard: B650 AORUS Elite AX (AMD B650) - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 360 - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Patriot Viper Venom 32GB DDR5 5600 RGB - Buy from Amazon
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA RTX 3090 Founders Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Storage: Corsair MP600 PRO XT Gen4 PCIe x4 NVMe M.2 SSD - Buy from Amazon
- Case: PCCOOLER C3T500 ARGB - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: MEG Ai1300P PCIE 5 & ATX 3.0 Gaming Power Supply - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit Build 22621 - Buy from Amazon
- Software: AIDA64 Engineer 7.00.6700, CPU-z 2.08.0 x64. GPU-Z 2.56.0, and HWiNFO64 v7.66-5271
Testing the C3 T500, I installed some test hardware consisting of a Ryzen 9 7950X, a 16-core, 32-thread AM5 CPU on a B650 AORUS Elite AX motherboard. Cooling the Ryzen 9 7950X was Arctic's Freezer II 360mm AIO; while it may be toasty for some, the 7950X got up to 83.4C. However, the average idle temperature was just a hair over 35C. The test GPU was NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3090 FE, which ran cool at 27C idle, only loading up to an average of 66.5C while drawing 376 watts.
All testing was completed using Aida64 Engineer's System Stability Test version v7.00.6700 for over 1 hour; the ambient temperature was 19C. Other monitoring software used was HWiNFO64 v7.66-5271, TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.56.0, and CPU-Z 2.0.0.x64.
Cable management in the C3 T500 is okay at best once the spaghetti monster of RGB and fan cables are tamed. The build process was frustrating, having to remove the center bottom fan to install the two motherboard standoffs, let alone the motherboard. Also, remember that the C3 T500 has four included aRGB 120mm fans and an aRGB/fan controller; although they are not anything special, they do get the job done.
In summary, the CPS C3 T500 case has its ups and downs. On the outside, the C3 T500 is a Lian Li O11 Mini clone; however, once inside, the C3 T500 shows much less versatility than the O11 Mini. The C3 T500 offers its strength in its value with an MSRP price point of $99.99, but the O11 Mini's current price tag is around $100, depending on where it's being offered.