Today we met with Cooler Master, who hosted a separate room at the Palms Resort. As this place was slightly off the Las Vegas Strip, they had a limousine take us from the main convention center to their location. This was the first time in a limo, but of course this is not the first time we have seen Cooler Master on APH Networks. In fact, Cooler Master is one of our largest suppliers for review samples, as they specialize in multiple areas, including cases, cooling, peripherals, and much more. However, as you will see soon enough, everything seemed to have changed.
Upon entry we were greeted by our PR contact, Alfredo Barroso. Unfortunately he was tied up with another group, so we were toured around by another person, who was just as helpful. The first thing he mentioned to us the fact Cooler Master was going through a shift of philosophy. Running with the motto "Make it Yours", Cooler Master streamlined a lot of their products into this line, with a focus on modularity across the board. The first case he showed us was the Cooler Master MasterConcept. This case resembles a bit of the Cooler Master Cosmos lineup, but our guide assured us this took the best features across their cases and incorporated it into the case. With such a name however, I should mention this is still a proof of concept sort of product, as production for this item has not begun. However, as this is CES, this is just a showing of what Cooler Master is capable of showing. While we were not allowed to take internal shots of the case, we were allowed to view it. We were told the internal components were fully removable without the need for tools, and even the entire motherboard tray could be flipped around to face the motherboard on either side of the case. This sort of modular design is something Cooler Master wants to be a common trend for all their products.
As for consumer computer cases, the first two we saw were on the left, and these are the MasterBox 5 and MasterBox Pro 5, respectively. These cases are intended for the entry-level market, with a lower price than their MasterCase series. The difference between the two are the various accessories included with the case, including the side panel window. In addition, you can see the front I/O panel is quite different. However, with separately purchased accessories, the base MasterBox 5 can be made into the Pro with ease. This makes for quick and easy upgrading, without needing to upgrade your entire case.
The next lineup were three cases in the MasterCase series. From left to right we have the MasterCase 3, MasterCase 5, and MasterCase 7. These three cases are all quite similar in design, but of course are for different sized motherboards. The smallest 3 series fits mATX motherboards, with the midsize 5 for ATX, and the larger 7 for E-ATX. All three are either currently available, or will be available soon in 2016. The current MasterCase 5 comes in three versions, the base, Pro, and Maker editions. The top of the line Maker includes much more accessories and add-ons, and is focused at the modder or computer enthusiast. The Pro and base editions have less features, but again, they can be made into the Pro by purchasing the additional add-ons.
If you did not believe me about the modularity of Cooler Master's new cases, I think these photos should be enough proof. The top photo and middle photo show all the accessories that can be added to the MasterCase, whether this involves changing side panels, top panels, covers for the PSU area, drive bays, radiator mounts, or even video card air "focuser" to direct the air to the video cards. All these accessories again can make your MasterCase into what you need it to be. As well, all of these accessories are tool-less and thus require very little to swap in and out.
The final shot is just an example of what users can do to change up their cases, as many of the 3D templates will be available, to let users print their own designs for the case. Whether it is internal add-ons, or even printing on the panels, Cooler Master really gives the flexibility for allowing it all.
Next we have the MasterWatt Maker 1200. This is a 1200W 80 Plus Platinum rated power supply, with some extra features. Of course, this is an extra efficient, extra beefy, and fully modular power supply, and it represents the top-of-the-line PSU with Cooler Master. On the back there is a small protrusion, which is where a Bluetooth module is located. With this, you can connect your Android and iOS devices to the power supply. This allows you to monitor and vary the power supply settings, including the current power draw, and other numbers. Personally, this is quite an extraneous feature, but I can see enthusiasts and people who are interested wanting to do something of the sort.
As for all-in-one coolers, we have the MasterLiquid Pro 240, which is a 240mm liquid cooler. While exact pricing was not available, the product manager told us it would be around $70 USD, and released later in 2016. Otherwise, this cooler comes with two MasterFan Pro 120, which feature high static pressure to maximize the air flowing through the radiator. The MasterFan Pro comes in three variances, with a focus on air pressure, flow, or an in between fan. It comes in 120mm and 140mm sizing too.
However, if air cooling is your thing, Cooler Master also announced the MasterAir Maker 8, which uses the aforementioned fans. This cooler also features what Cooler Master has dubbed "3DVC Technology", which merges the base mount of the cooler with heatpipes for better performance in terms of heat transfer. In addition, the top of the cooler can display its red LEDs, or can be covered with a metallic grille. In addition, you could 3D print your own design for the top plate, as Cooler Master will be providing the files for creating your own. Finally the fans are mounted on the radiator to allow for easy adjustment of the fans, in case extra clearance is required for memory or graphics cards. Two sets of brackets will be included with the MasterAir Maker 8 for 120mm and 140mm fans too. Again, the modular design is very prominent here.
Finally if you detest either, and would rather go full liquid cooling, Cooler Master has you covered here. The Cooler Master MasterLiquid Maker is an open-loop liquid cooling kit which allows you to change everything up, from the material of the tubing, to the reservoir sizing, or to even the color of the screws used.
Finally, some of my favorite Cooler Master products are on display, and this is their peripherals. Again following their modular design, we have several keyboards in mind. The leftmost keyboard is the Cooler Master Devastator II, which is available as a keyboard mouse combination set. We saw the original Devastator in late 2014, but this refreshed model brings some new variances. For one, the keycaps are MX stems, which makes them compatible with Cherry MX keycaps. Secondly, while it is a membrane keyboard, it actually feels much more like the Topre switches found on the NovaTouch TKL. This was done to let entry-level users feel a bit more premium membrane experience. Secondly we have the MasterKeys Pro S, which is a tenkeyless keyboard. Beside it is the MasterKeys Pro L, which features the full 104 keys. While this features the same RGB capabilities as other keyboards, Cooler Master has mentioned these lights are developed in house, and are actually brighter than the OEM designed lights on most Cherry MX keys. On first glance, they indeed were brighter and filled up more of the keyboard. The layout design of the keyboard closely resembled the Quick Fire XTi, which means for a relatively sleek keyboard. Release date and pricing were unavailable at the moment, but I doubt it should vary too much from their current lineup of keyboards.
As for their mice shown in the photos, we actually have both of them with us to be reviewed in the coming weeks. The Xornet II is the middle mouse, and it is a claw grip mouse to be reviewed our guest editor Hai Wang. I will be reviewing the Sentinel III, which is the mouse furthest on the end.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the direction Cooler Master is heading in. Not only is streamlining their products an excellent way of removing redundancy and extra waste, it is what I believe is the right direction in terms of full modular design. One question we can only see answered in the future is what the consumer's response will be. I can only wish the best to Cooler Master, as I really like the way they are moving towards, and if it is priced appropriately, I think they will do excellently. Special thanks to Alfredo and the team at Cooler Master for transporting and inviting us to their CES 2016 event!