Cooler Master MasterCase MC500M Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion

Unsurprisingly, Cooler Master has convinced me from the external inspection to move my main computer into the MasterCase MC500M. However, the journey was definitely not the smoothest of installations I have done in the past. As usual, I started with the power supply and routing the power cables into place. This included all of the front panel I/O connectors. Installing the short Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold 850W proved to be effortless, though the bumpy journey started already. As we saw on the front page, all of the screws are marked in specific bags for their purpose. Unfortunately, some of the labels are marked incorrectly, so I grabbed the wrong screws to mount the power supply into the bracket. It was not until I read the manual did I realize the incorrect marking. Of course, this only happened as I was installing my motherboard, which was a bit later. Otherwise, routing these cables was really easy, as there were more than an ample number of holes. The front panel I/O cables however, as the plugs are located near the bottom, was a tighter situation when trying to string these wires through. While it was not an impossible job, it definitely was not an easy task either. I still would have liked to see a larger opening in the acrylic panel to allow more cables to pass through here without any struggle.

Afterwards, I mounted the motherboard in place. With my ATX-sized Gigabyte Z87X-D3H in, I screwed it in using the screws provided. Once again, the mislabeled screws threw me off here. As you can see, I have been using the CRYORIG H7 Quad Lumi mounted over an Intel Core i5-4670K. Due to its excellent design, I did not have to remove the heatsink or the attached fan to move the motherboard out of my old case and into the new one. I could have chosen to use a 280mm radiator at the top to show off the insane amount of clearance at the top, but I prefer air cooling a bit more. In addition, the CPU heatsink does not provide any clearance issues with the memory kit, the Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8GB. Otherwise, for CPU coolers, Cooler Master recommends nothing taller than 190mm. This should be an adequate amount of space, as even the extra-large Noctua NH-D15 should be able to fit here. Finally, I mounted my EVGA GeForce GTX 760 into place with no clearance issues here either. Even with the 3.5" drive installed at the front, Cooler Master states 296mm of clearance and 412mm when it is removed. With a case this large, I would be surprised if we actually had any clearance issues for mounting. If you were so inclined, you could purchase a GPU support arm to help prevent any sagging video cards.

The last step I actually did was to mount a Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB and OCZ ARC 100 240GB into the case. With the larger hard drive, I mounted it into one of the tool-less drive bays at the bottom of the case. The SSD, on the other hand, was mounted at the back, as you will see later on. From this view though, you can see there is a whole lot of clearance at the front with both the 5.25" optical drive and 3.5" drive bay removed. This should allow you to easily put other components, such as custom water cooling blocks. Personally speaking, I like the more open airflow of the case, which is why I left it like this.

In honesty, cable routing was not the easiest with the Cooler Master MasterCase MC500M. To be clear, this is not an issue with the amount of spacing here, as there is ample spacing at a minimum of 25mm between the back and the side panel. Instead, my main source of annoyance was the large metal plate on the back. As the intention of this plate is to hide cables, you will need to route power cables through the bottom and out the rubber grommets. While this is theoretically a great idea, it does require a bit more effort to truly work with this extra plate. For example, you would need to spread out the cables even more just to fit them under. The amount of cabling work I had to do to ensure this plate fit flush with the case was quite a bit more than usual and the end result was still not as clean as I would have liked. Even so, after securing everything in place, the back panel definitely hid a lot of excess cables, even if there was still some showing in the power supply basement. I think with some more time and effort, the final result would be better. Regardless, the rubber grommets, Velcro straps, and many cable tie points were very helpful with the installation.

With everything plugged in, I fired up my machine, and it whirred to life. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to the RGB power supply cover, as it truly sets this case apart from every other case. While many cases have RGB lighting, no one has such a large panel being illuminated. In addition, this caused a lot of the bottom area of my motherboard to be lit while hiding the extra cables in the basement of the Cooler Master MasterCase MC500M. Pressing the RGB button on the front panel allowed me to switch colors or go into a color cycle mode. As for the sound output, there are two scores I can give to the MasterCase MC500M, as there are only two settings for the fan speeds. According to the standard APH Networks sound scale, where 0 is silence and 10 is loud, the Cooler Master MasterCase MC500M is a 3.0/10 on "high" and 4.5/10 on "low". The reason for this misnomer is because the front panel seems to be displaying the opposite indication of fan speed. Unless these labels are intended to refer to low and high as the temperature of the system, I think something got swapped around. Despite this, I think the fans are passable, and the front panel sound dampening material does its job to keep sound in.


While Cooler Master has dreams of making this your case to make your own, I think this can easily be a reality. Following in line with the Make It Yours campaign, the MasterCase MC500M has struck a lot of right notes from beginning to the end. To begin with, the entire case is built with excellent material choices and offers a good blend of form and function. Small details have really been thought through from the front panel removal to the side panels to the top cover. Everything has an implementation that is intelligent and reflects the priorities of regular builders and PC enthusiasts. The interior shows off its flexibility in modular design, with a lot of elements being available to be shifted around to whatever you so desire. It also has a large enough inside to fit practically anything you throw at it. Finally, Cooler Master really has done an excellent job at providing a mostly smooth installation process. With their toolbox provided and the ample cable spacing at the back, I think the process can be a smooth one, though it may take a bit more effort. The final product also shines stunningly with the vibrant power supply cover. If I were to suggest some changes with the MasterCase MC500M, it would mostly be with its cooling system. For one, the air cooling is labeled in reverse, so I would like to see a fix for it. As well, I think it would have been better to see a fan controller implementation that would synchronize with the motherboard instead of making the user manually change it. Finally, my last suggestion would be to increase the hole on the acrylic panel to allow for cables to pass through easier. At a price tag of $170 USD, the Cooler Master MasterCase MC500M is not the cheapest of chassis, but it definitely offers a lot of useful features, making it a pretty compelling option.

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 7.6/10
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.

Contrary to Nelly's hit 2010 song, the MasterCase MC500M shows a combination of many features, RGB lighting, and a modular design is not just a dream.

Do you have any comments or questions about the Cooler Master MasterCase MC500M? Drop by our Forums. Registration is free, and it only takes a minute!

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