Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Cooler Master is looking at chassis design in an entirely new way in this latest chassis. Where they have been known in the past to come up with some really top tier offerings, and have always offered low-end and mid-range solutions as well, whatever your choice in design, what you got out of the box is what you will have until that chassis is replaced. The idea here is a bit different. This time around, Cooler Master is looking at three different versions of the same chassis, but is also introducing their first modular chassis. This means nothing about the interior capabilities, we mean modular in an exterior or aesthetic sense, and is accomplished with a lineup of parts allowing users to buy the chassis they need up front, and with a few extra goodies you can find online, you can have the chassis grow with your needs, and even change its style to give it that new to you feel again.
In the most basic sense, we are given a mid-tower chassis with a completely new interior layout, and this stays very similar throughout the trio of offerings. In the options pile, we can select to buy the lower-end model and give it things like an AIO support rack for the top, a new top cover panel, a windowed side panel, even extra SSD and HDD trays and racks to fill this chassis the way you need it to happen. While we have seen manufacturers offer windowed side panel options, and maybe a bezel with a color option to it, it is rare that a major manufacturer would go the route of a customizable chassis. This is something usually left to smaller companies, but Cooler Master has done some homework and found that this is a very viable market, enough to stake a lot of money and their reputation on.
The version of the chassis we are going to see today is the MasterCase 5, the lesser of the three models, but that does not mean this chassis is lacking in any way. Adding a few drive bays and SSD trays, a top cover and water cooling bracket, and even adding in the windowed side panel will give you what they are calling the MasterCase Pro 5. In the literature we were given, it also appears they may offer a third version called the MasterCase Maker 5, as this whole endeavor is based on the Maker Spirit to begin with. In this version, we are seeing a solid front panel, and with an early Q4 2015 release date in mind, other options in that design could very well be changing as this is being typed. Even with the more modest design of the MasterCase 5 mid-tower chassis that we are about to see, it is easy to appreciate what has been done, and where the idea is going.
The chart provided from Cooler Master shows both versions of the chassis that are releasing first with the MasterCase 5 specifications to the left, and the MasterCase Pro 5 to the right. Both versions are the same size, and both support ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards. Both again supply the back of the chassis with seven expansion slots, but the drive configurations are where we find some of the changes. In the MasterCase 5, there are two 5.25" bays, two 3.5" bays, and the SSD trays are setup with two trays that can be used in four locations. The Pro 5 gets an additional three 3.5" drive bays, and also a few more locations for 2.5" drives as well. Both have the same front I/O panel with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HD Audio along with the power and reset buttons, neither of which offer a fan controller.
Cooling is a bit different between the two as far as pre-installed fans are concerned. The MasterCase 5 offers a single 140mm fan in the front, nothing in the top, and a 140mm in the back. The Pro 5 offers a second fan in the front and also keeps the fan in the back. As to what this chassis offers as options, this is the first mid-tower chassis to accommodate three 140mm fans in the front of the chassis, but is also 120mm fan ready as well. The top of the chassis offers room for a pair of either 120mm or 140mm fans, and the rear fan can be removed and replaced with a 120 or 140mm fan. We also see that when it comes to water cooling, the MasterCase 5 offers 40mm of room in the front for a radiator and fans, and no real support for the weight in the top. The Pro 5 offers the same in the front, but with the water cooling bracket and the top cover, you are then offered 64mm overall for the radiator and fans hanging there.
Restrictions are minimal as well. There is an astonishing 190mm of room for CPU air cooling options inside. They offer 296mm of room for video cards with the HDD cages in play, and with them removed, you then are given 412mm of room. We also see that they offer the measurement behind the motherboard tray where we find there is 25mm of unimpeded space for whatever wiring needs to be done. The last things that get mentioned are that there are dust filters in the front, top, and bottom of both versions, and that the Pro 5 comes with the top cover, top water bracket, and a side window, which the MasterCase 5 does not offer.
While everything was pretty much handed to us as far as information goes, we did have to make a call over to Cooler Master to get the pricing information. What we found is that neither of the two designs that are releasing as you read this are going to break the bank. The MasterCase 5 is slated to release with an MSRP of only $109.99, and as for the MasterCase Pro 5, it has an MSRP of just $139.99. Much lesser cases will cost you as much as the MasterCase 5, and considering what all you get moving to the MasterCase Pro 5 for only $30 more is well worth it too. As of this moment, they are keeping a tight grip on information about the MasterCase Maker 5, but we do know, when it is released, it will be limited and at the CM Store only.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [Cooler Master MasterCase 5 Mid-Tower Chassis]
- Page 4 [Inside the MasterCase 5]
- Page 5 [Inside the MasterCase 5 Continued]
- Page 6 [Accessories and Documentation]
- Page 7 [Case Build and Finished Product]
- Page 8 [MasterCase Pro 5 Options]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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