Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Outside

The Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 offers several case features that, in my opinion, set it apart from the others within the series. One key feature I noticed and appreciated is the left side panel of the case. Different from the other cases in the series, the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 features a full tinted plastic window. Instead of the panel securing to the back via two thumbscrews like most cases, this plastic panel is secured using four thumbscrews along the side. The panel on the right-hand side is similar to almost all other cases, in that it is black metal and secured via two thumbscrews to the back of the chassis. Inside the case are two separate chambers -- one for the power supply and storage drives and one for the motherboard and major components -- but more on this later.

As with almost every case, the power supply has a designated spot in the bottom, while the motherboard and its accessories have their usual spaces located in the top of the case. This case, despite its smaller size, still has nearly the same motherboard capabilities as the Cooler Master MasterBox 5t, and is able to support from mini ITX to ATX, but not all the way to extended ATX. This smaller case does not limit the preferred build of the consumer, as long as certain concessions regarding cooling are considered. Video cards of up to 400mm long can be installed into this mid-tower.

The front of the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 is well planned. As seen, the standard 120mm fan is pre-installed by Cooler Master, as is the case with most Cooler Master designs. The motherboard opening has plenty of space, and as mentioned previously, can hold up to ATX sized motherboards. The smaller case size does leads to some drawbacks that may dissuade some users from considering it. The interior of the case has a lot of space for fans. Three intake fans can be mounted on the front, but nothing above the motherboard. It is important to point out the MasterBox 5t and MasterBox 5 both has room for fans on the top as well. The Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 has plenty of capability for intake, but is missing the two fans on the top for those who want it. This is certainly not a deal breaker for me, but it may be for some people.

Looking back at the bottom of the chassis, it is hard to see where the power supply fits along with the hard drives in this photo, but the expansion slots are easily accessible and visible. In fact, the power supply and hard drives are installed in the lower chamber for a separate thermal zone. The power supply is screwed into the back, and can have a maximum size of 180mm. The dust filter is found underneath, but it is secured to the case making cleaning more challenging than in previous Cooler Master products.

Cooler Master has also decided not to skimp on the idea of “Make it Yours” when it comes to storage. The Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 comes with two storage bays, which are suited for either a 2.5” or 3.5” drive. Unlike its predecessors, there is no suggested orientation for the drives, and they can be placed on either the upper or lower drive bay. There is room to expand storage on the front, but any additional expansion may potentially interfere with space needed for the video card. Overall, this issue does not impact my overall opinion of the case, but for those who have a lot of components to install and would like to have the option to expand on storage, this case may not be the best choice. The storage bays offer some features that have been improved, and I will touch on this later in the review, so stay tuned. Standard cables inside the case include a USB 3.0 header, HD audio header, chassis light and buttons, as well as plug-in for the pre-installed fan.

As we move to the back of the Cooler Master MasterBox 5 Lite, some real differences from past Cooler Master cases begin to emerge. To start, there are far fewer places to fit cables through; not to mention the places in which the cables are supposed to go through are much smaller. This means there is some minor cable congestion even between the few cables that are provided with the case. As it was with the Cooler Master MasterBox 5t, there are no rubber grommets, which impacts aesthetics. A major difference between this case and its predecessors is the power supply and storage bays are completely covered from the rest of the case as opposed to having a limited cover between the two. This is a good choice, because from the clear side of the case, the view is a little tidier with a noticeable decrease of visible cables. However, because this case is smaller in size, it does mean there is a sacrifice in the back of the case in terms of space. As a result, installation is a little trickier, but is was mostly manageable. It goes without saying a smaller case means compromise; however, what these compromises are, and how much an individual is willing to cede differs between consumers.

Cooler Master has been able to expand the MasterBox 5 line in a way, I believe, allows the consumer more choice, and rounds out the series of cases as a whole. They are truly allowing consumers the ability to “Make it Yours”, and this case is no exception. The size of this case in my opinion is a large selling point, as it is space-saving without sacrificing the ATX form factor.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion