Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Review

[caption id="attachment_185272" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Overview[/caption] Cooler Master has a long history of manufacturing high quality enthusiast level cases and CPU coolers.  Last year, they introduced their MasterCase 5 line, which was a mid-tower designed to allow a wide range of customization and upgrades.  After the success and recognition of the MasterCase 5 line, they introduced their MasterBox line, which was a lower cost alternative to the MasterCase, but still retained a high degree of customization options.  Now, Cooler Master is further expanding the MasterCase line with the little brother to the MasterCase 5 line, the MasterCase Pro 3.  The Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3, will be available on September 6th from Amazon for $99.99 shipped. Where the previous models of MasterCase and MasterBox were designed for ATX motherboards, the MasterCase Pro 3 is geared to the smaller microATX motherboards.  It maintains the flexibility of the MasterCase Pro 5, allowing the end user to determine which components are desired, and remove the unnecessary parts. [caption id="attachment_185536" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 All Parts Removed[/caption] Maintaining their maker theme where you "Make It Yours", using their FreeForm Modular system nearly all the major parts of the case can be removed for modifications or upgrading.  Cooler Master sent model MCY-C3P1-KWNN, which is a mini-tower allowing the use of micro-ATX or mini-ITX motherboards with hard drive support with 2x 2.5" SSD trays, a 3.5" hard drive cage with two trays that also support 2.5" SSDs.  There is a place for a 5.25" device as well, but there is an obstacle to that, which we will discuss later. Cooling is provided by two 140mm fans that are placed in the front and the back of the case.  This can be expanded to support up to three additional 140mm fans.  Otherwise you can choose to use liquid cooling, with a maximum support up to 280mm radiators!  Other components such as CPU cooler height and GPU length aren't much of a concern either as the MasterCase Pro 3 has a lot of room inside.   Features and Specifications:
 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Specifications
Net Weight 9.1Kg / 20.1lbs
Dimensions (LxWxH) 467 x 235 x 505 mm
Motherboard Type MicroATX, mini-ITX
5.25" Drive Bays 0
3.5" Drive Bays 2
2.5" Drive Bays 2 + 2
I/O Panel USB 3.0 x 2, Audio In & Out (supports HD Audio)
Expansion Slots 5
Cooling System Front: 140 x 25mm fan, 1,200 RPM (pre-installed) 140 x 25mm fan (optional) Rear: 140 x 25mm, 1,200 RPM (pre-installed) 120mm fan x 1 (optional) Top: 120mm or 140mm x 2 (optional)
Radiator Support Front:  120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm Rear:  120mm, 140mm Top: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm
PSU Type Bottom Mount, ATX PS2 (Maximum length 200mm)
Compatibility (Maximum) Graphics card length: 370mm / 14.57in (without 3.5" HDD cage) 258mm / 10.16in (with 3.5" HDD cage) CPU cooler height: 190mm / 7.48in
Material SECC, Plastic
Colors Dark metallic grey exterior with black interior
Warranty  2 Years
  [gallery ids="185269,185268,185267,185270"] The MasterCase Pro 3 arrived, extremely well packed, I was very surprised at how it was packed; whether that was just for the review sample I'm not sure.  All the sides were reinforced with very heavy duty cardboard, held together by straps, and then wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap.  With all that removed, we can take a look at the box for the MasterCase Pro 3, which gives a high quality feel as it is in full color, and provides plenty of information for the user to know exactly what the case is capable of. [caption id="attachment_185280" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Accessories and Manual[/caption] Immediately when opening the box, you are presented with a smaller black Cooler Master box that houses the various accessories.  Included is the standard screw pack, and a number of cable ties.  There are also two brackets that allow you to install a lightweight fan controller in the front 5.25" bay.  Two 3-pin fan to 4-pin Molex adapters are also provided, which is helpful for smaller motherboards that might not have a large number of fan headers.  Documentation that is included with the MasterCase Pro 3 is a well thought out and detailed user manual, and the warranty sheet. Next, let's take a closer look at the MasterCase Pro 3's external features before opening it up.  

MasterCase Pro 3 External Review

[caption id="attachment_185317" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3[/caption] As you would expect from a top case manufacturer like Cooler Master, the exterior finish of the MasterCase Pro 3 is flawless.  Cooler Master says it is a Dark Metallic Grey, but is pretty close to black.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the only version that is planned, others might wish for other colors such as White, however Cooler Master is keeping it simple with a basic color scheme. [caption id="attachment_185318" align="aligncenter" width="496"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Front Panel[/caption] The front of the case has a slightly raised feel to it, which we have seen on the other models of the MasterCase and MasterBox.  The front of the case is mostly made of wire mesh with a single 5.25" drive bay at the very top. [caption id="attachment_185316" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Top Panel[/caption] Like the MasterCase Pro 5, the top of the case has a raised top panel with some unusual angles to it.  There are two handles implemented into the top panel, one at the front and one at the box (both are reinforced).  The main top of the case comes with a magnetic cover which can be lifted off from the back of the case to reveal wire mesh panel underneath the solid panel. [caption id="attachment_185273" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Front I/O Cluster[/caption] The front I/O panel has a pretty standard layout, it features two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, standard audio in/out jacks, a reset switch, power button, and a hard drive activity LED.  This panel could be replaced, hopefully Cooler Master makes one available for upgrades to the ports such as additional USB 3.0 or Type-C ports. [caption id="attachment_185278" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Windowed Side Panel[/caption] Turning to the side, we find a large window that should provide a good view of the interior, the bottom portion there are two layers making up that portion of the window.  Behind the actual window is a second solid plastic layer that hides the power supply and bottom 3.5" drive cage, as this case is all about customization, it can be removed if you want.  This panel is held in place with two captive thumbscrews that will remain with the side panel.  After loosening the screws, slide the panel to the back and then lift it out. [caption id="attachment_185275" align="aligncenter" width="502"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Back Panel[/caption] Turning our attention to the back of the case, we can see space at the top for the handle which is helpful if you are moving this system to various LAN events.  So on the back panel, we find the usual items, the 120 / 140mm exhaust fan (the icluded 140mm fan is rated at 1,200RPM), motherboard I/O key, five expansion slots and at the bottom, the power supply.  A few things stand out, the first is the bottom expansion slot cover is their "Storm Guard" cover, which secures your keyboard, mouse and other cables  making it more difficult to walk away at LAN events.  Next, is that the power supply mount is removable, which allows you to remove it from the case and attach it to the power supply, then slide the power supply and bracket into the case.  Finally, I noticed there are no support bars between the expansion slots, which is becoming pretty common. [caption id="attachment_185274" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Power Supply Bottom Filter[/caption] Beneath the power supply is a removable power supply filter, this slides out the bottom of the case for easy cleaning. [caption id="attachment_185315" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Solid Side Panel[/caption] Nothing exciting on the back solid side panel; it's flush to the case and is a uniform color to match the rest of the case. [caption id="attachment_185277" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Bottom Panel[/caption] Finally, we have the bottom of the case.  There are two large feet that measure 2.75 by 7in, each of the feet has two rubber strips to keep the case from sliding around.  Finally, the power supply fan filter is about 8.5in long, making it just over half the length of the bottom panel. Let's remove the exterior panels and take a closer look inside the MasterCase Pro 3.

MasterCase Pro 3 Internal Review

[caption id="attachment_185460" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Internal Motherboard Side[/caption] With the side panel removed, we can see how open the interior of the MasterCase Pro 3 is.  With the dual chamber design, in the top portion, we find the motherboard tray, which has a large CPU cooler support bracket hole cut out of it, and several cable management holes, two of which have rubber gaskets to help keep things looking nice.  Near the front is the vertical support bar for the Clip-and-Click drive mounts. [caption id="attachment_185469" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Front Intake Fan[/caption] Turning our attention to the front of the case, we see the expected items.  At the top (or the left in this picture) is the 5.25" bay, which doesn't have any supports for any optical drives, below that is the removable fan bracket, which will support up to 2 x 140mm fans, or a 280mm radiator.  Cooler Master has included one 140mm fan, that is rated at 1,200RPM at 19dBA. [caption id="attachment_185462" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 3.5" Drive Trays and PSU Cover[/caption] On the dual chamber divider, Cooler Master has included three cable management holes, two of them are lined up specifically for the data and power cables for the SSD's (other cables can use these holes as well), while the other is for any other cable.  Only one of the cable management holes has the rubber gasket installed to protect cables.  At the front, the divider has been shortened to allow room for a liquid cooling radiator to be installed; as there is about 2.25in of space between the fan and the divider, a radiator and an additional fan will fit here (push/pull fan combo). [caption id="attachment_185461" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 3.5" Drive Trays[/caption] Cooler Master has included two of their "Slip and Clip" SSD trays.  These trays are not tool-less, they require the use of screws to attach the SSD's to the trays. [caption id="attachment_185464" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Power Supply Zone and 3.5" Drives[/caption] Beneath the chamber divider, there is room for an ATX power supply up to 200mm in length, of course technically a longer one would work as well if you remove the 3.5" drive cage.  There are several rubber capped risers to help reduce vibration noise from the power supply.  The 3.5" drive cage is fully removable and uses thumbscrews to secure the baseplate and the drive cage to the case. [caption id="attachment_185572" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 3.5" Drive Cage and Tray[/caption] A pretty common style of 3.5" hard drive tray is used in the MasterCase Pro 3, allowing for easy tool-less installation of 3.5" drives, and 2.5" drives with screws.  The drive cage is a pretty common design as well, with the exception of the two rubber plugs at the back of the cage, these are used if you happen to move the drive cage to being above the chamber divider. [caption id="attachment_185319" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Front Panel Removed[/caption] The front panel can be removed in two pieces, the first is removing the wire mesh portion that provides good access to the front fan cage, allowing you to change the fans or install a liquid cooling radiator as you feel necessary.  The fan cage is removable as well, in order to do this, the plastic bezel needs to be removed, which is held in place with snap and lock clips on the inside of the case. [caption id="attachment_185467" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Removing Top Cover[/caption] The top cover is a little different than I expected, there are no screws or latches that hold it in place.  A simple magnet and rail system holes it in place.  While this doesn't seem like it might be very sturdy or reliable, I found that while transporting a full case around it stayed in place rather well.  The front edge of the cover has the magnets on it, and when it gets close to the front handle, it slides into place. [caption id="attachment_185468" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Top Cover Removed[/caption] Sliding the top cover towards the back and removing it, we can see the steel handle and the top fan/radiator bracket.  Like the other removable parts, the bracket has captive thumbscrews holding it in place.  Cooler Master recommends removing the rear handle (which is held in place with four normal screws), however I found that I was able to install fans and a radiator from the inside of the case without any issues.  Although, if I wanted to remove the top bracket I was able to do that without removing the back handle, reinserting it with a fan and a radiator might be a little tricky though. [caption id="attachment_185540" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Back of MB Tray[/caption] On the back side of the motherboard tray, we find that Cooler Master has pre-installed three Velcro ties.  Cooler Master has also included 9 cable tie locations spread around on back.  With the number of tie locations, and the pre-installed Velcro ties, doing good cable management shouldn't be an issue. [caption id="attachment_185536" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 All Parts Removed[/caption] When Cooler Master says you can choose which parts are installed inside the case, they weren't kidding.  You can remove almost every piece of the case down to the individual frame.  I realize that I didn't remove the top handles, or the front bezel, but take my word for it, those are removable too. [caption id="attachment_185537" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Empty Case[/caption] The power supply cover removed with four screws (one back, two behind mb tray, and one in front by fan) and one thumbscrew (this is the only non-captive thumbscrew in the case).  The top fan bracket can also be removed with four thumbscrews, and while the back handle uses four screws.   The vertical drive support is held securely in place with four screws on back of mb tray. [caption id="attachment_185538" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Alternative 3.5" Cage Mounting[/caption] With everything back inside the MasterCase Pro 3, we decided to show one of the alternative positions for the 3.5" drive cage.  Moving the Clip-and-Click panel, we are able to move the 3.5" drive cage to above the chamber divider, it can be placed in any position from the very top to sitting on top of the chamber divider.

MasterCase Pro 3 Build Process

[caption id="attachment_185708" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Completed Build[/caption] The MasterCase Pro 3 supports both a microATX and mini-ITX motherboard, unfortunately a microATX motherboard wasn't available to be installed inside the case, so we decided to use a mini-ITX motherboard, a MSI Z97I Gaming AC.  With the mini-ITX motherboard installed, there is a lot of unused space, even if a microATX motherboard was installed, there is still a good amount of space available as it would run up to the edge of the rubber on the cable management holes.  With everything installed, let's take a look at what was involved at installing the components. [caption id="attachment_185576" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 2.5 SSD Install on Trays[/caption] Cooler Master includes two 2.5" SSD trays, however the MasterCase Pro 3 can support three.  The SSD's can be installed in two different orientations, on the bottom of the tray or on the top.  One orientation will hide your SSD from view, while the other allows the SSD to be on display.  Sadly, unless you happen to have some kind of specialized double sided screw, you won't be able to connect a SSD to both sides at the same time (ok, you can use double sided tape/velcro if you really wanted to). [caption id="attachment_185583" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 3.5" Hard Drive Installed[/caption] The 3.5" hard drive trays are nothing special, we  have seen and used these types of trays for a long while now.  To put your 3.5" hard drive on them, you bend them slightly and pop in your drive; not difficult to do at all.  Of course to use a 2.5" drive on these trays you'll use screws. [caption id="attachment_185575" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Power Supply Bracket[/caption] Rather than installing the power supply from the inside of the case, Cooler Master has provided a removable bracket to attach to the power supply, then you slide the power supply in from the back of the case.  I'm not a fan of these types of installations, it is another step for the user to do in order to complete the installation.  With that being said, it is extremely easy to install the power supply, and even nicer that Cooler Master has used thumbscrews to attach the bracket to the case.  Like the other thumbscrews, these are captive thumbscrews so they'll remain in the bracket so they don't get lost. [caption id="attachment_185578" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Top Radiator Install[/caption] At the top of the case is one of the locations you can install liquid cooler radiators or additional fans.  We installed the Deep Cool GamerStorm Captain 120 AIO cooler.  While it is a 120mm radiator, you can always install larger radiators here, Cooler Master states that up to a 240mm radiator will fit.  We tried to install the fans on the outside of the case, however unfortunately the top shroud wouldn't go on.  It was easy to install the radiator from the inside of the case, however another option would have  been to remove the top support and install the radiator outside the case. [caption id="attachment_185574" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 CPU Cooler Bracket[/caption] The CPU cooler support bracket cutout is large enough that it should accommodate most CPU locations and shouldn't pose any issues with installing your CPU cooler after the motherboard has already been installed.  Installing a mini-ITX motherboard there is enough room that there is even some open space left; the cutout measures 6.75 x 5.75in (LxH). [caption id="attachment_185577" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 SSD Hidden on Back of MB Tray[/caption] Right below the CPU cooler cutout is one of the locations that you use to hide a 2.5" SSD on the included SSD tray (or you can always purchase another from Cooler Master).  It needs to be installed in this orientation, the drive can not be installed facing out, as the back panel won't slide into place if it is. [caption id="attachment_185707" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cable Management[/caption] I didn't try to do any cable management here, this is just how it all turned out after I installed all the cables.  All in all, it's not too bad with the limitations on the tiny motherboard, and cable length limitations.  Had some of the ports been in "standard" locations (SATA, power, front panel headers, etc), things would look much nicer, and we would have more freedom to tidy up the cables.  As it stands, a few cable ties and everything would be secure and out of the way. [caption id="attachment_185706" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Optical Drive Installed[/caption] The Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 has a place for a 5.25" device to be installed, however Cooler Master states that this is for a fan controller.  The brackets that Cooler Master provides to mount the fan controller can also support installing an optical drive into the bay.  One word of warning though, the optical drive is only supported by a few screws into the front bezel plastic.  I would be concerned about the weight of the optical drive and the plastic screw holes. FreeForm Modular System Accessories One of the major features of the MasterCase Pro 3 is that you can change the external look and internal capabilities without having to purchase a new case.  Some of the accessories for the MasterCase Pro 5 will work on the MasterCase Pro 3, and for those that won't fit for obvious reasons, Cooler Master has upgrade accessories already available. [caption id="attachment_185630" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Announced Update Options[/caption] One of my concerns is that the space for the handles is totally open, and while there is little chance dust or debris will fall in through the two handles it would be nice if there was some type of filter hidden under the handles.  Guess what, it appears that Cooler Master has thought of this, and has a Top Panel Dust Cover available for the MasterCase Pro 3.  Pricing was not immediately available for these options, however expect them to run close to the same price as similar options for the MasterCase Pro 5.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

[caption id="attachment_185709" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Final Build Window View[/caption] If you want a well built case that will last a long time, then Cooler Master is great choice to take a look at as they know how to build cases that are designed to last.  Their latest case, the MasterCase Pro 3 is the smaller version of the MasterCase Pro 5, it keeps the same exterior aggressive style, and supports up to microATX motherboards.  The MasterCase Pro 3, comes with support for two 2.5" SSD's, and two 3.5" hard drives.  As the case is designed to be modular, you can expand this to support more hard drives if necessary.  Cooling options are provided by a front intake and rear exhaust 140mm fan, which of course can be expanded to include one more 140mm fan in the front, and two 140mm fans at the top.  Other cooling options include support for liquid coolers up to 280mm radiators! Cooler Master has listened to the enthusiasts and made a number of changes between the first release of the MasterCase Pro 5 and the new MasterCase Pro 3.  These changes include the removable chamber divider, CPU cooler support hole and cable tie locations on the back of the motherboard tray.  Missing from the MasterCase Pro 5 to the MasterCase Pro 3 is the cable management channel, which you could use the space behind the Clip-and-Click support if you wanted.  Even without the cable management channel of the MasterCase Pro 5, there is plenty of room to route your cables so they are nice and tidy. [caption id="attachment_185707" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 Cable Management[/caption] The Cooler Master FreeForm Modular system allows you to purchase additional components to upgrade the case as you see fit.  This includes the previously mentioned 3.5" or 2.5" drive trays, but also a Tempered Glass Side panel, universal GPU holder, and an alternative top cover that includes dust filters.  Other accessories will be developed as Cooler Master or its partners as they feel necessary. The MasterCase Pro 3 that we took a look at, is MCY-C3p1-KWNN, and will have a retail price of $99.99, but I would guess you'll be able to find it a little cheaper once it hits the market in September.  The big brother is still available with a retail price of $124.99 with free shipping.  For a case that can be customized for your personal preference, and the build quality of the MasterCase Pro 3, the retail price $99.99 isn't over priced. LR_Recommended Legit Bottom Line: As we expect nothing less from Cooler Master, the MasterCase Pro 3 features solid build quality, modern enthusiast grade features and wide range of options with the FreeForm Modular system to make it fit anybody's needs.