Cooler Master N400 Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 – Physical Look – Outside

Much like the Cooler Master Elite 371 reviewed in June 2011, the N400 is Cooler Master’s latest answer to the budget case market. Looking at it makes me think Cooler Master has found an excellent balance of price and design. The conservative touch keep the N400 at a low price, but it also stands apart from other run-of-the-mill budget chassis. Personally, I would rather have a case that looks more like a fridge than a tank. Most colleagues here at APH Networks will agree; I quite like this minimalistic take on a computer chassis. The majority of the case is a matte finish, with the few glossy bits being the side of the front panel. This glossy frame adds a bit of panache in what would be otherwise a plain mid-tower. I will say that the glossy frame is very susceptible to fingerprints and smudges as most glossy surfaces are, but this does not detract from the overall look. The Cooler master N400 may not be as flamboyant as some of the past chassis we have received, and this is alright with me. The entire body consists of sheet metal, while the front panel is made of a standard plastic polymer and a metal mesh, but more on this later.

On the right hand side of the N400 is the vent, which covers a mounting area for two additional 120mm fans. This vent is also filtered with a finer plastic mesh, which is removable for easy cleaning. Two of the other three vents around the case are also filtered with a removable unit, with the exception being the left side. I am quite glad to see these extra mounting options for a budget case like this, as it gives users more freedom in their cooling options if needed. In addition, the removable mesh covering for most of the vents is a great feature, as this removes dust from entering, while keeping it easy to clean. Cooler Master must think that the honeycomb pattern is too mainstream, as all of the vented areas are designed with a circular pattern. This is definitely a design choice, as they both do the same thing, and neither have any advantages or disadvantages compared to the other.

On the front panel are the power and reset buttons, headphone and microphone plugin jacks, and 4 USB ports (2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0). USB 3.0 is a welcomed addition, but is not surprising, considering that majority of computers today come with it standard, whether it is a desktop or laptop. There is a total of two external 5.25” drive bays, and a single external 3.5” bay opening. This front panel also covers a 120mm fan that allows for air intake at the front. An additional 120mm fan can be added underneath. To utilize any of these bays and fan areas, the front panel has to be taken off. Speaking of which, the front panel is held in place with six plastic pegs, which pop off quite easily. The front panel as aforementioned is mostly plastic with a front metal mesh that adds a cool look with an unconventional grid pattern. There is also a finer mesh behind the metal pattern for better filtering of dust.

On the back side is a large 120mm exhaust fan opening at the top, again with the circular pattern. The motherboard opening is right beside the fan vent. Below are the expansion slots, seven in total, that allow for other components to be added to the motherboard. Beside that are two indents that can be drilled out for water cooling holes. Since this is a budget friendly case, it would be surprising to see these holes pre-drilled out, as most users in this range would be cooling their computers via air. I agree with their decision to leave it up to the user. Finally, located at the bottom is the power supply bay. Most of this is quite standard to any other case, and everything is there as it should be.

Flipping it on its side reveals four plastic feet that hold the Cooler Master N400... on its feet. There is also a single vented grille that allows for more exhaust from the case. Unfortunately, the feet are not rubberized as seen on other chassis. The hardened plastic feet are more subject to vibration due to a low grip and cushioning abilities. Luckily for me, my flooring is carpet, and therefore vibration is already reduced. However, many users do have tiled or hard wood floors making it prone to vibration and movement. I think Cooler Master could have easily implemented a rubberized solution without affecting the cost too much. The only other thing worth noting is the four holes near the front two feet. These are used for mounting a 2.5” drive or a SSD to the case, but more on this later.

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