Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
The chassis brought forth today can be considered the little brother design to the MasterCase 5 which we reviewed back in August of last year. The major feature in this design is that Cooler Master, who is a large proponent of the maker movement, brought forth a mid-tower chassis packed with features, options, and customizability. Even with all of the options that this chassis brought to the market, it was at the upper limit in cost when looking to buy a feature-rich mid-tower case. You had to like the concept to be ready to shell out top dollar for it, and then have the potential of buying more parts to get exactly what your needs required.
This time around, we are still dealing with a mid-tower chassis, but the overall concept has been simplified. There are still a lot of options and customization that can go on in this latest chassis, yet at the same time, there are some omissions which allowed Cooler Master to deliver a much more affordable option to the masses. Along the same lines of the MasterCase 5, this new chassis is intended for makers and brings a design and layout we have yet to see from Cooler Master or anyone else for that matter. This leaves us with a very affordable solution, still quite capable of housing water cooling, larger hardware, and is all done in an attractive exterior as well.
The chassis that Cooler Master is offering now is the MasterBox 5, and as we mentioned, it is indeed a mid-tower design. While this chassis comes in a few flavors, black, white, and with two front panel options, the interior is where this chassis excels. Taking on water cooling, many options for storage, option to or not to have optical bays, a PSU cover, Cooler Master checks all the major boxes where the feature set is involved. With sleek aesthetics and customization at the core of this chassis, we feel that this affordable mid-tower is well worth your attention, and you should continue reading to see one of the best bang for the buck cases we have seen in a few years.
The MasterBox 5 sent to us to review is the MCX-B5S1-KWNN-11, which is a black on black chassis, which also offers the MeshFlow front panel. You do have the option to get this chassis in a black on white version, as well as a black model which provides a pair of optical drive bays. These mid-tower cases are comprised of steel for the main body, using ABS plastic for the frame of the front bezel and the large feet underneath of it. They all stand 500mm tall; they are all 220mm in width, and all are 475mm in depth. All three versions are capable of housing ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX motherboards, and sport seven expansion slots in the back.
There is the option to get a pair of 5.25" bays in one of the versions, but it appears that requires the purchase of the cage to do so. All of the cases do offer a cage for a pair of 3.5" or 2.5" drives, and each comes with a single 2.5" drive plate. The nice thing about the storage bays, though, is that the HDD cage can be moved into three locations, and the SSD bracket can be placed in five. The front I/O panel offers the basics with a power and reset button, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and HD Audio jacks. There are some restrictions to consider when grabbing this chassis. We see near the bottom of this chart that CPU coolers can be 167mm tall, power supplies can be 180mm in length, and video cards are much less restricted at 410mm. One other measurement of importance to most, and that is the space behind the motherboard tray, where the MasterBox 5 offers up 25 to 35mm of room.
Cooling inside of the MasterBox 5 is sufficient. While Cooler Master ships this chassis with only a pair of 120mm fans, one at the front, and one in the back, there are still options left. The front of this chassis can house a trio of 120mm fans, or a pair of 140mm fans, but the rear is only accepting of 120mm fans. There is also a solid top to the MasterBox 5, so no fans can go there, or on the floor for that matter. Water cooling is a bit misrepresented as well. As the chassis is shipped, you can use a 240mm radiator or a 280mm radiator, but Cooler Master offers a bracket to go in the top of the front panel, allowing for a third 120mm fan to be fully supported. Of course, you can also use a single 120mm radiator in the back, if that is desired.
Where the MasterCase 5 took near $125 to obtain, the MasterBox 5 comes in at nearly half that cost. We were able to locate this chassis at both Amazon and Newegg, and at the same pricing as well. They are asking only $69.99 for the MasterBox 5 for both the white and the black versions. Prime members are offered free shipping with the purchase through Amazon, but Newegg shows they require an additional $10.99 for shipping, and no mention of a discount for Premier members. At this price, though, Cooler Master does deliver quite a bit, and in the spirit of the maker movement, delivers this with a layout which has more options than many we have seen in the past. For what you get in the MasterBox 5, we feel the pricing is terrific, and will likely be a non-issue when it comes to the masses buying them up.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Edition (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB SSD
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST
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