Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
The maker movement is here to stay, and for some companies, they took this concept to heart. The one that stands out above all others, with now many contributions in allowing customers to customize components, has to be Cooler Master. They offer peripherals, cases, and coolers with the maker movement in mind when the designs were first drawn up, and it seems there is no end to their support of this. Cooler Master has developed CPU coolers that can be run in multiple aesthetic appearances, delivered keyboards with all the bells and whistles that coders and tinkerers love to play around with, and have had much success in their newer lineup of MasterCase and MasterBox cases.
We have seen both the MasterCase 5 and the MasterBox 5, and it is easy to say that we were and still are impressed with what they put forward with designs such as these. However, there is always a large segment of the market that has no desire for a full-tower chassis; they prefer to have smaller cases to house their smaller form factor systems in. Cooler Master, not wanting to isolate these customers, has pushed their boundaries, and have released something a fair bit more compact that the previous two offerings. On top of a size reduction, none of the "Make It Yours" mentality has been lost in this design. The sheer number of features offered in their latest Micro-ATX tower chassis is impressive, to say the least.
Of course, this new MasterCase Pro 3 which Cooler Master has released does keep some of the heritage of the chassis line, with a very familiar outside style and appearance. While maintaining a familiar look, Cooler Master has made changes inside and out, all for your benefit. While modularity is key, the amount of options that the MasterCase Pro 3 presents is even better than what was found in its larger brothers. For those of you who want everything that the chassis market can offer in features, and tend to gravitate to Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards, Cooler Master is now offering a case worthy of anyone's attention, and shares the spirit of the maker movement to the best of their ability.
The MasterCase Pro 3 is defined as a Micro-ATX tower chassis and is only offered in dark metallic gray at this time. It stands 505mm tall, 467mm from front to back, and 235mm wide, and it weighs in at 10.7kg. This SECC steel and ABS plastic design is made to support Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards and sports a two-year warranty. The MasterCase Pro 3 keeps the large mesh panel on the front which runs from top to bottom, and also keeps the angled back front I/O panel, and the gentle angle of the top as it slowly drops away toward the back. The sides are both flat, with no random shapes presenting themselves in extended sections of steel. But on the left side panel, there is a full sized window that leaves just enough steel around it to be structurally sound.
Inside of the chassis, there are no conventional 5.25" bays on the inside, but there is a removable bay cover in the front bezel. While a cage is not installed by Cooler Master in this location, they do supply a pair of drive bay brackets so that you may install a fan controller in this location. There are only two locations at the bottom of the chassis for 3.5" drives, and this cage is removable as well. As for the 2.5" drives, there is a two plus two configuration, but only three trays are sent inside of the chassis.
There is the wiring from the front I/O panel with has plenty of length and is all black, so it easily blends in with the interior's black paint job. They do not mention this in the chart, but as you make your way from the front of the chassis to the back, there is a floor which separates the PSU and storage from the rest of the PC. The reason we are bringing this up now is that this section is also completely removable. Getting to the back of the chassis, we find the MasterCase Pro 3 offers up five expansion slots, four of them for video cards, and the lowest slot comes with a cord-tending bracket.
Cooling is well thought out in this design, too. The front of the chassis offers a removable bracket, into which you can install either two 120mm fans or a pair of 140mm fans. In combination with this front fan bracket and the space afforded on the inside, a 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, or a 280mm radiator can be installed here as well. From Cooler Master, the front comes shipped with a single 1200 RPM 140mm fan. The rear of the MasterCase Pro 3 can house either a 120mm or 140mm fan, but Cooler Master installed another 140mm fan at this location. This area can also be used to mount a 120mm or 140mm radiator. On to the top, we see that it houses the same fan options as the front of the chassis delivered, but when it comes to liquid cooling, we do lose support for a 280mm radiator, but there is room for a 240mm radiator.
At this time, as we are writing this just ahead of the MasterCase Pro 3 release, we are not finding anything concrete for pricing on the internet. We have been told that this chassis will release to the public on the 30th of August, and we should start to see stock on shelves as soon as September 6th. With this bit of information, Cooler Master also provided us with the MSRP, and the MasterCase Pro 3 is set to cost you just $99.99. With everything you are about to see, along with many options for additional purchases of components soon to be available from the Cooler Master store, the initial investment is worthy of every penny as it sits. If you do find yourself needing extra bits, or want to make the case work better for you, the parts will be there for the picking, but of course, with an additional investment required. The reality is, though, a few of the optional bits "could" be used, but the MasterCase Pro 3 stands on its own as shipped and leaves us wanting very little else.
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)
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