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Metal base for the tempered glass panel

Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 PC Case Review

  1. About the Masterbox MB500…
  2. PC Case Overview- External
  3. PC Case Overview- Internal
  4. Compatibility Check and Installation Experience
  5. Setup images, Illumination Effects and Test Setup
  6. Performance Testing- Sound and Temperature
  7. Conclusion
  8. Online Purchase Links
  9. View All

Disclosure: The Masterbox MB500 is loaned by Cooler Master

Its been a long time since I’ve reviewed anything from Cooler Master and we’re starting again with the Masterbox MB500. This is an ATX PC case with emphasis on its RGB fans and its wide array of colours, tempered side glass panel and thermal performance. So let us just get into it and see how it goes.

Packaging and Contents

From its appearance, the packaging of the CM Masterbox MB500 looks small. It is even smaller than the Mastercase Pro 3 mATX PC case’s packaging. The packaging alone makes an impression similar to what CM Elite series ATX cases have made, but obviously, it would be bumped up to keep up with its Master philosophy. The packaging is minimal with adequate protection for the case. This is more important for cases like the MB500 as the side panel is tempered glass. It would be nice if the glass panel had some foam protection. Tempered glass can withstand accidental surface drops. But no hard drops. You get all the screws and mounts with the reading materials. By default, the standoffs are not pre-installed.

Specifications

Product Name
MasterBox MB500
Product Number
MCB-B500D-KGNN-S00
Available Color
Black
Materials
Steel, Plastic, Tempered Glass
Dimensions (LxWxH)
494 x 211 x 475mm
Motherboard Support
ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Expansion Slots
7
Drive Bays
5.25″
N/A
3.5″ HDD
2 (Max. 2)
2.5″ SSD
2 (Max. 4)
I/O Port
USB 3.0 x 2, Audio In / Out
Pre-installed Fan(s)
Front
120mm x 2 RGB LED fan
Rear
120mm x 1 RGB LED fan
Fan Support
Front
120mm x 3 / 140mm x 2
Top
120mm x 2
Rear
120mm x 1
Radiator Support
Front
120 / 140 / 240 / 280 / 360mm radiator (limited) up to 50mm
thickness without fan
Rear
120mm x 1
Clearances
CPU Cooler
160mm
PSU
180mm
GPU
400mm
Cable Routing
Behind MB Tray
15 – 23mm / 0.59″ – 0.90″
Dust Filters
Front, Bottom
Power Supply Support
Bottom mount, ATX
EAN Code
4719512067345
UPC Code
884102039867

If you look at its specs, it is a small case to accommodate an ATX form factor motherboard. With its height at 475 mm and 211 mm width, but with 494 mm length. You can install up to 4 SSDs and 2 HDDs. There are three 120mm RGB fans included. Interestingly, the front panel is semi-ventilated. Cooler Master also provided an official measure for cable routing- 15mm which should be the area behind the motherboard and 23 mm which should its side, towards the front. There are no 5.25″ bays.

PC Case Overview- External

For an ATX case, it is small compared to other Master series PC cases I’ve tested way earlier. Apart from the tempered glass sidepanel, the front has a partial vent towards the lower end, a magnet stripped filter on the top frame and the base has a removable-yet non-slidable mesh filter for the power supply.

The rear has a fan, seven PCIe vented brackets and side vents. The PSU has a removable frame which does make it easy to install power supplies.

Front Panel Overview

Thankfully a part of the front facing case is not blocking the airflow. There are two fans to pull in air for the PC case and its components to breathe. The front panel I/O is placed at an angle towards the top, a typical Masterbox design. There 2x USB 3.0 front panel ports with audio jacks reset and power button with a Power LED ring surrounding it. Behind it, there is a fake air scoop thing on it.

Rear Panel Overview

Typical with newer case designs, the rear fan mount has the flexibility to adjust your fan. This becomes important as motherboard manufacturers are now known to have a redundant plastic wrap over its rear I/O connectors. All the seven PCIe slots covers are vented and reusable. You’ll notice the PCIe vents don’t have the dividers in the middle. I am assuming this case allows you to install some of the Master series PCIe vertical GPU mounts. There’s also some ventilation towards its side.

Top Panel Overview

Maybe it is about time magnetic stripped mesh is a standard. It is easy to maintain and clean. It covers the wide area meant for 2x fan mounts. Its good to see that on the Masterbox MB500.

Underbelly Area

The PSU fan’s air filter is annoying for two reasons- one they are not framed. Two: Whether you keep the PC on the table or under it, you need to drag your PC case away from the wall tilt it and remove the filter out. The case feet with rubber feet are large and provides a decent distance from the floor.

Tempered glass mounting

This is my first PC case with a tempered glass sidepanel. My opinions about tempered glass sidepanels are very mixed. No matter what its glass at the end of the day. There have been people who posted images of broken to pieces sidepanels when it was shipped and was not limited to any brand.

I am happy the base has a strip of metal which rests on the PC case and rubber grommets to fix the thumbscrew. I am really curious to know the challenges distributors and retailers have to be concerned with when they have to ship such cases individually.

PC Case Overview- Internal

The Masterbox MB500 allows you to mount the SSDs vertically as can be seen from its left sidepanel. You’ll notice the PSU shroud is riveted on the case. There are two cutouts on the motherboard tray for the most of the cables like SATA, 24 pin USB 3.0 header and fan headers. Another cut-out towards the top left of the tray for EPS ATX cable. You’ll also notice there is a cut-out between the two SSD mounts towards the right side of the motherboard tray. This is good as it does not rely on the cut-outs for the motherboard connectors. The SATA Power and data cable have a dedicated area. Since the SATA power cables have few connectors on the cables, the un-used ones need space, so from the right side, You’ll see a recessed area where the front cables are routed through.

There are no grommets for the cable management holes.

PSU shroud area

At the top of the shroud, you can screw in two additional SSDs, giving space up to four SSDs in this PC case. There are vents and cable management holes for the SSDs, headers and front panel connectors. The Shroud cannot be removed as it is riveted to the case.

PCIe/rear fan area

You can see a little cost cutting here as Cooler Master is using standard hex screws instead of thumbnails. It would be nicer to see additional space above the shroud and the PCIe slots.

This PC case as a total of three 120mm RGB fans. According to HW-INFO, the maximum RPM these can run are between 1094 RPM to 1182 RPM.

Front fans/Radiator mounting area

The front panel allows you to install 3x 120mm fans or 2x 140mm fans just like the CM 690 II Plus. You can also install up to certain 360mm radiators by installing them from inside the case and the fans from the outside. The upper part of the front panel does have an obstacle, but there is some space between the front panel plastic body and its frame.

FP/ I/O access

The front panel grill does not allow you to easily remove the mesh to clean it up. On the bright side, the front panel console is not attached to the front panel.

Cable tie loops

There are adequate cable tie loops on the motherboard tray and its side. This way you should find it easier to do cable management with flat cable modular/semi-modular power supplies.

HDD tray area

Towards the base, you can install up to 2x 3.5” HDDs and re-write if from the right side panel. This is nicely done as the space between the HDD/SSD mounts and motherboard is minimal, so you can utilize the SATA Power ports easily with the SATA power port the RGB control hub needs. You can mount 2.5” SSD/HDDs in these trays.

Cable management area

Apart from the front panel wiring, the MasterBox MB500 has additional wirings due to RGB lighting controls and hubs. Apart from the additional cable from each of the fans, CM added a three-RGB pin to single-RGB header adapter which is then connected to a hub which has two wiring- one for the reset switch. Another for the power which requires a SATA power port. CM did not provide RESET header for the motherboard, but you can unclip it from the hub and have it on the motherboard.

Speaking of the hub and RGB adapters…

Different RGB power hub from the instruction manual???

Cooler Master’s instruction pamphlet showed an interesting looking hub where it appears to have a brightness controller button and the RGB alignment marker on it. As you can see above, while the markers are present on the three-to-single four-PIN RGB header adapter, there is no marker on the hub. This was a problem for as the RGB hub was disconnected from the adapter. There was no brightness switch as well. It is just a controller board with heat shrink wrap.

CPU Air Cooler Compatibility- Noctua NH-U14S 140MM CPU Cooler

The depth of the Masterbox MB500 does not allow large CPU air coolers like the Noctua NH-U14S CPU cooler to be installed. It is very disappointing.

CPU Air Cooler Compatibility- Noctua NH-U12S 120MM CPU Cooler

The CM MasterBox MB500 does allow you to install 120mm CPU cooler air coolers, like the NH-U12S.

CPU AIO Cooler Compatibility- CM MasterLiquid ML240R RGB (Front Mount)

You can easily install radiators towards the front in both push and pull configuration. If you’re using the 240mm radiator based cooler like the upcoming (at the time of writing) MasterLiquid ML240R RGB, you can easily install the fans inside and outside of the case’s frame. This way (and if needed) you can have push-pull setup for the radiator. Depending on the length of the AIO cooler’s tubing, you may end up installing 120/140/240/280mm radiators towards the upper side of the front panel frame.

CPU AIO Cooler Compatibility- CM MasterLiquid ML240R RGB (Top Mount)

There’s a very good reason why Cooler Master did not mention top AIO cooler mounting compatibility, despite having a flexible way to screw in your liquid cooler. The distance between the radiator and the motherboard will not allow you to install either one of them. It is a pity because all it needed was some space.

The clearance between SSD mount with front mount cooler

As you’d expect, there are no clearance issues between 7mm SSDs and radiators (240mm radiator used in this case).

Setup images

With the Gigabyte Z97 Gaming GT ATX motherboard with the Core i7 4790K and a Noctua NH-U12S CPU air cooler, a SanDisk Extreme II 240GB SSD and a WD 3TB Red EFRX HDD for storage, and the Thermaltake DPS G Gold 750w semi-modular flat cable power supply, the system looks full. It is a good practice to have some additional height and depth for the motherboard. You’ll not have compatibility issues with a graphics card, such as the AORUS RX 580 XTR 8G OC which is used here with the Cooler Master GPU stand with a magnetic base. For AIO compatibility, I’ve used the CM Masterliquid ML240R RGB AIO cooler which will be released and have its review out.

Personally, I would like to see full mesh frontal on the Masterbox MB500.  I’ve reinstalled the CPU fans towards the top of the front frame. The lower fan installation may have its airflow somewhat restricted due to the shroud. It would be advisable to have an additional 120mm fan for the lower section, especially if you have mechanical HDDs installed at its base. Another reason I prefer such installation is the front panel. Even if its upper side does not have any grills, its shaped in a way where there is some distance between it and the fans. While the fan facing the grill pulls in the air for the graphics card, the upper mount fan should help to circulate the air intake through the memory stick and the CPU cooler.

Illumination Effects

As mentioned earlier with the hub indicator for the RGB headers, I didn’t connect the RGB lighting. But for those who don’t wish to have an RGB light with the fans, you might be pleased to know the smoked tempered does allow any illumination from the components to be seen out while giving that stealth covering for the rest of the components. The power button has a power on a LED ring around it. The front USB ports are spaced nicely to allow large flash drive connections. The clamping force of the USB ports is too strong. While it is not a problem pulling out a USB cable or a flash drive, mini flash such as this one needs care. This is the first time I’ve experienced a strong USB clamping in many cases, including Cooler Master.

Conditions and Components used during testing

Room Conditions:

Room sound level: 50.3 dB
Room temperature: 32c

System setup:

GPU FAN @ 75% (3144 RPM)

CPU fan speed @ 100%
CPU_FAN 1: 1461 RPM
CPU_FAN 2: 1461 RPM

Case fan speed @ 100%
FRONT FAN: 1182
REAR FAN: 1094 RPM

Temperature and sound levels are recorded 36 hours after assembling.

Sound Testing

Temperature Testing

The CM MB500 Mastercase is the first case where I am including such tests. With standard components staying that way, it made sense. As of now, there are no comparative numbers but it should change in the future. As you’ll notice, opening the front panel to allow (or thinking it allows) more airflow didn’t make a lot of difference to the graphics card temperatures.

The good…

The MasterBox MB500 fulfils the bare basic needs of a mid-end gaming system with more support for the 2.5″ SSDs, graphics card and liquid cooling. It does have RGB fans whose fans push in a good amount of air. It makes sense to have the second fan towards the upper section of the front panel. The shroud cannot be removed which is a minor inconvenience in some situations. For the Masterbox MB500, not having a top radiator mount is not a big deal as there’s good support for up to 360mm radiators towards the front. It does not have enough depth to mount large 140mm CPU coolers so they’ll look elsewhere. It would be nice if the case had little bit space between the motherboard and the top panel. Some motherboard designs end up having aftermarket tower CPU cooler overlap its top section. Also, no additional reset header for the motherboard but I believe the RGB action should still work without having it connected to the RGB pod.

…and the not-so-good!!

The RGB pod didn’t have a brightness switch which is seen in the manual. It also does not have the RGB marker on it to align the RGB connector properly. With the components used, the cable management was acceptable but it would be difficult with non-modular power supplies. You’ll have to stuff those unused cables somewhere, and stuffing anywhere might be a challenge. I recommend shortlisting at least a semi-modular power supply.

If you stick with air cooling and plan to have a fully packed system with all fans for the front, remember you can install 3x 120 mm BUT 2x 140 mm fans. This remembers me of Cooler Master 690 II Plus.

Other choices…

The Masterbox MB500 costs Rs. 6,000/- IN. If you look at Prime ABGB, it is in the same price range as the View 27/ 28, Versa C21 and also its own Masterbox Lite 5 MCW-L5S3-KGNN-02. The older in age but not by function CM 690 III mid tower (and probably costs a bit more now if it is available) is more interesting as an ATX case. Sure its based on the older design, but you have a good amount of HDD storage and can mount the radiator on the top. It also has a good and height for an ATX motherboard layout case. I haven’t tested the Masterbox Lite 5 but it doesn’t have any vented front panel. All the front three fans are expected to scoop air from the top and base vents on the front panel.  The Masterbox MB500 looks pretty good within the choice of components as the ones I’ve used. Maybe the MB500 is aimed towards AIO liquid cooling units. And it would make sense to have something to provide limited size 360mm radiator over tall CPU air cooler support. Choose your components first, then make plans for a PC case.

Interestingly, this is not listed in any Amazon stores, including in the US and India. In the UK, it has the generic ‘Out-of-stock‘ listing at the time of writing. Perhaps its a case for some type of markets?

India US UK
₹5,999/- NA NA

  • 3x RGB fans
  • RGB Controller
  • Frontal Ventilation
  • Good support for SSDs
  • Tempered glass
  • No glossy plastic
  • Needs more depth and height
  • Needs better air filter for the PSU
  • No marker on the RGB pod
  • The area between 500w-600w+ non-modular power supplies and the HDD might be cramped to hide away unused cables

Edit (26.03.2018): CM India said the case which I received was the pre-production model. The retail version will have the hub as shown in the instruction manual. Hopefully, that’s the only difference.

Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 PC Case Review from hardware


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12 comments

  1. Sir question is this support the new cooler master vertical mount GPU with no cutting grills?

  2. On this case? No, it does not. Many reviewers proved it vertical GPU mounts do not have a bad airflow.

  3. Where do I buy this please tell me

  4. It is already there in PC hardware stores nationwide.

  5. Are the case fans noisy and annoying under load ?

  6. That testing is done in the 6th page. In a room, it doesn’t really make a difference in a closed case setup. These are rifle bearing fans. Rifle bearing fans are quieter than sleeve bearing but with lifespan somewhere close to a ball bearing fan.

    The dB testing link is here: https://www.hardwarebbq.com/cooler-master-masterbox-mb500-pc-case-review/6/

  7. hello, i just build in this case but the rgb lights in the fan dont turn on, they are coneccted to he rgb controller, do you know what i could do? thanks

  8. They’re probably defective. You can ask for a replacement. Just send them the photographs of the controller module and the lack of lighting to their support at the same time so that they’ll proceed for a replacement.

  9. Just wondering will a 240mm radiator still fit with 2xssd drives installed in the front

  10. Just a question will a 240mm aio fit infront with 2xssd installed

  11. 120/240/360? Yes. 140/280? No.

    You could just install the SSDs over the PSU shroud since it has mounts and cut-outs for the cable.

  12. Thank you i just di.Not a fan of the bottom mounted ssd bays as the cables are away from the case but it works.Was a mission to remove my bottom fan but moved them up at top.I am just waiting on the courier to deliver the aio.

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