Cooler Master is currently revamping its MasterBox and MasterCase products, and it got off to a great start with its spectacular MasterCase Maker 5t. The MasterBox 5t is a very different beast, though, retailing for £150 less money and sitting in the highly competitive £50-100 price bracket.
Its look may be a little polarising, with a glossy black panel that reminds us a little of a Star Wars Sandcrawler, albeit a clean, rust-free one, with a front that leans forwards from the top. It's sandwiched between two red mesh sections and, as you might suspect, it does indeed attract fingerprints and dust, but that front helps to break up the angular front section with a unique look. The red detailing continues to a magnetic dust filter that caters for the top fan mount, as well as the large motherboard tray, making fora red and black colour scheme that really stands out.
Our review sample, which retails for £85 inc VAT, also included a side window and, thanks to a half-length PSU cover and a lack of 5.25in bays, you get a clean view of the interior too. Cooler Master has also sensibly kept the case feet short to limit the height, which is increased by the towering, leaning front section. It still stands at a little over 51cm, though, which is taller than the likes of Phanteks' Enthoo Pro M Glass and NZXT's S340. Thanks to a depth of 54cm, it can also cater for E-ATX motherboards.
The front I/O panel sits on top of the case, which is just as well, since locating it on the glossy front would result in a fingerprint fest. It includes a pair of USB 3 ports, power and reset buttons, audio mini-jacks and a two-speed fan controller switch. The fan controller can power up to three fans, although you can use some cheap splitter cables to power more of them if needs be - it's a useful feature either way.
The front panel also forms a part of a carry-grip section, which makes lifting and moving the case very easy. Flip it over, and the underside sports the aforementioned some small case feet, along with a removable dust filter for the PSU and a wide LED strip hidden inside a rotating block at the front, which should work whether the case is sitting on a carpet or a wooden desk.
- Dimensions (mm) 235x500x 480 (WxDxH)
- Material Steel, plastic
- Available colours Red and black
- Weight 7.4kg
- Front panel Power, reset, 2xUSB 3, stereo, mic, fan control
- Drive bays 1x2.5in, 2x2.5/3.5in
- Form factor(s) E-ATX, ATX, micro- ATX,mini-ITX
- Cooling 3x120mm/2 x 140mm front fan mounts (1x120mm fan included), 1 x 120/140mm roof fan mount, 1 x120mm rear fan mount (fan included)
- CPU cooler clearance 167mm
- Maximum graphics card length 410mm
Meanwhile, the interior sports the attractive red motherboard tray, which forms part of a modular system that allows you to move around certain components. A dedicated 2.5in tray sits on top of the hard disk cage by default, but I can be relocated to three spots on the motherboard tray, at the front of it or behind it too. The hard disk cage itself can also be adjusted backwards to make way for a radiator. Sadly, Cooler Master's 2.5in SSD mount isn't tool-free, as you'd expect from a Corsair case, but at least the hard disk mounts don't require tools.
Two fans are included as standard - one 120mm model in the front, with another in the rear of the case. However, the roof can also offer a home to either a 120mm or 140mm fan, and the front section can house a total of three 120mm fans or a pair of 140mm fans, with corresponding radiator support too. You'll be limited to 45mm-thick models in this location by moving back the hard disk cage, as the fans are located in the front panel. This panel is also removable, along with its dust filters.
Meanwhile, the motherboard tray also has plenty of holes that might be useful for reservoir mounting. Cable tidying is a little haphazard, though, and there aren't any rubber grommets to hide the cables either - your wires end up just poking through the large holes in the motherboard tray. Thankfully, you can also tuck many of the cables under the PSU cover. Graphics cards with of a width of up to 410mm are supported, and CPU coolers up to 167mm in height can squeeze into the case too, which is shorter than some large coolers, so check your measurements first.
Fan noise was particularly quiet with the MasterBox 5t, even at full speed, which explains why the temperatures when dealing with our test gear weren't amazing. A CPU delta T of 57 °C with the fans at full speed is far from poor, but it's still 5 °C warmer than the Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Glass and a tad warmer than the in Win 303 too.
The MasterBox5t's GPU delta T of 54°C was reasonable, though, and not quite as far from the best results we've seen, but the Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Glass was still noticeably cooler.
1. A switch for the included fan controller sits on the front I/O panel
2. There are plenty of holes for routing cables, but no rubber grommets to properly hide them
3. The attractive red motherboard tray is part of a modular system that allows you to move around certain components
Despite its average cooling results, the Cooler Master MasterBox 5t is a good effort at a sub-£100 case. It's a little tinny in places, but few cases in this price range have really solid build quality. Phanteks' Enthoo Pro M Glass is the superior case in this league, but the MasterBox 5t is still a decent case if you prefer its styling - we love the red detailing, especially on the inside, and the fan controller is a great inclusion too.
The MasterBox 5t also offers a good amount of water-cooling support, and would make a great base for building a quiet PC too.
Source: Custom PC Magazine