Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
Now, onto the interesting bits, or as you will see in my experience, the “fun” part of the build. As I began the build and installed my motherboard, in this instance an ASUS Z97-E, I immediately ran into trouble. The motherboard mounting screws were a bit of a pain to install. It seemed that the pre-drilled holes were just barely large enough. However, I was able to eventually screw in all of the mounting pegs. The space to accommodate my motherboard was a bit of a tight squeeze, and had to be carefully maneuvered into place due to the smaller size of the case. One feature harder to foresee as a potential issue, but soon became apparent during installation, involved the motherboard I/O cover for the rear of the case. While it easily slides into place on the back of the case, to my annoyance, no matter what I did, it would not line up properly with the motherboard once it was screwed down. Despite my best efforts, the I/O cover was misaligned by 3 to 4 mm. Again, while this does not impact the case in any real way, this issue affected aesthetics, and did not allow for ample protection or cover for the motherboard as might be expected. As you will see later in the pictures, a CPU cooler is also installed in the case, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. These could be manufacturing issues being an early production version of this case, so hopefully these issues will be rectified in the final product.
Next, I installed the hard drives into the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 drawer system of the case, which utilizes the same system as in previous designs, but the actual installation of the 3.5” drives is simpler than ever to install. The shelves, when taken out, expand with a small clip on the bottom. Then, the 3.5” drive is placed inside, the shelf closes perfectly into the holes on the drive, and is inserted into the drawers. It does not get simpler than this, and was the easiest part of any installation that I have performed. The 2.5” drive still requires screws and a screwdriver to secure it properly to the shelf, but is very straightforward. There is no suggested orientation provided concerning installation of the drives, allowing for greater flexibility regarding cord management.
The rest of the build, up to the fan installation, was as straightforward as any others I have completed. The RAM, video card, and CPU cooler all went in without a hitch, and were nearly problem free. The fans, however, proved to be quite a challenge. I installed the Thermaltake Rings, and everything was progressing smoothly until the last fan was being installed. When I began to screw in the last fan, the screws would not fit properly into the pre-drilled holes made by Cooler Master. The openings of the holes were too small for the screws on the slot for the bottom fan. This was a pain to deal with, because screws ended up becoming partially stuck in the holes. After some outside consultation and considerable frustration, I was able to remove the screws from the case and install the final fan using pins Cooler Master had provided with the case. In retrospect, I do not understand why this problem existed in the first place, but I want to warn consumers to be prepared for potentially encountering this particular issue and to have a plan prepared to ensure the case, screws, and your mental sanity remain intact at the end of the build. Again, these could be manufacturing issues being an early production version of this case, so who knows, haha.
As you can see from the picture, there are plenty of cable management features, and although some wires such as those from fans do spill into the interior of the case, it does not detract much from the overall look. In fact, the cables are easily managed if one chooses to use the extra material Cooler Master provides with the case. As aforementioned, the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 case can fit video cards up to 400mm in length.
Last, but not least, to be installed in the case was the power supply, which was easily inserted into the rear of the case and hooked up without any issues. The cover for the power supply was reattached and the side panel replaced, completing the build for the day.
After cleaning up for the day, I brought my newly constructed system down to my room to begin to see how it all turned out. After plugging everything back into the motherboard and video card, then flicking the power switch, the system booted properly as everything came to life. The dark mirrored front panel really makes LED case fans stand out, and brings a heightened sense of pride for the mid-tower. In this case, I have installed three LED fans, which perfectly matched the red accents that came with it. The ability to make the case red, white, or black means accent lighting in the front of the case is easier to modify and play around with to the preferences of the individual consumer.
People approach spring cleaning in a variety of ways. Some bring out feather dusters and “go to town” with a vacuum and mop. Others prefer to rummaging through their belongings, sorting and pricing items for a weekend garage sale. Personally, I like to carefully take mental stock of what I own before I take any action. What is important to remember is that each person approaches the same task differently, and has unique preferences concerning how to best reach a goal. In the end, however, things end up organized, cleaned and everyone sighs in relief when spring cleaning is over for another year. This being said, Cooler Master has made a valiant attempt with the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 in allowing the consumer to “Make it Yours.” The fact that the overall size of the case was decreased is a significant change, setting it apart from its predecessors. At the same time, its customizability, not to mention the low-price point of $45.99, are strong selling points. The overall case size is an option which I will always appreciate especially given the way Cooler Master refuses to compromise on case features regardless of size. The ability to customize the colors of the case in a simple straightforward manner is another point that really bodes well for the case itself. However, with this particular case’s smaller size, there are trade-offs including struggle to install the motherboard, which should be noted by the consumer who may be concerned about this feature. The difficulty encountered when installing the fans is another consideration that should be carefully contemplated. Some of these may be manufacturing issues being an early production version, especially when it came to things like my I/O backplate misalignment, so I hope Cooler Master fixes it up in the near future. As for the MasterBox Lite 5, Cooler Master continues to strive to allow the consumer to “Make it Yours”, while actively considering style, flexibility, and its compactness.
Cooler Master provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that are not likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.1/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 is a compact, customizable, and competitively priced ATX mid-tower chassis.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion