The slanted, aggressive IO area and handles are very reminiscent of the CM Storm Trooper, while looking more refined and elegant. The case has a very nice soft black paint job that is uniform across all of the panels. Cooler Master built the side panels on the MasterCase 5 well and they look great, matching the paint on the rest of the case perfectly. The side panels don’t flex easily and they line up perfectly with the lines of the case, indicating proper machining and diligent QC on Cooler Master’s behalf. Because these panels are held in place by a built-in hinge, the left and right panels are not interchangeable.
The plastic on the removable front panel surrounds an open mesh that flows across the entire panel. This mesh looks great and allows for optimal airflow. Unfortunately, while the mesh offers some filtering, it will let dust through, so regular internal cleanings will be recommended to keep your internals free of dust. Cooler Master has placed a metal logo emblem on the front of the MasterCase 5. We recently had an unfortunate encounter with the Antec S10, which had one of the stickers on the front panel peeling up from the factory, so it’s nice to see Cooler Master applying quality control to all aspects of the case, even the stickers.
The mesh panel is easily removed by pulling it from the bottom where there is a cut out so that it can be cleaned at regular intervals. The mesh is attached with solid plastic clips that seem quite durable and like they should last over a long period of time. The panel attaches very firmly and is machined very well, as it lines up perfectly with the case.
We can see that the front panel area is designed to allow maximum airflow, with wide open fan mounting cages that don’t have any metal across them to block airflow. This is a very solid, well thought out front panel design and will lend itself very well to cooling the internal components
The IO panel, which can be replaced, is somewhat basic and underwhelming, especially considering the MasterCase 5 Pro’s price point. We have two USB 3.0 ports, along with standard audio jacks, an illuminated power button, reset switch and HDD activity LED. We are disappointed by the lack of additional USB 3.0 ports, a fan controller, or other expansion options in the IO panel. Having just two USB 3.0 ports on the top panel can be limiting, especially on gaming systems, which rely on different controllers and accessories being plugged into these ports.
The top panel of the MasterCase 5 is flat and features honeycomb grills for the exhaust fans, along with a set of very solid, well attached handles. Due to the top panel being fairly close to the top where an installed motherboard would sit, there is not enough clearance for radiators with fans to be installed in this location. The handles are wrapped by removable plastic covers that can be replaced or upgraded. While I don’t personally move my system that often, handles are definitely a welcome feature among enthusiasts and professional gamers who bring their systems with them to events. These plastic covers on these handles end being removed and replaced with the top panel mesh on the MasterCase 5 Pro, but the case still retains the handle functionality.
The rear panel of the MasterCase 5 has a couple of things that stand out. First, the PSU mount is removable and features captive screws that attach it to the chassis. This mount unscrews from the case and slides out from the rear to then be attached to a PSU. Secondly, there are no metal bars between the PCI-E slot covers, it is a large open area. I haven’t seen this on a case before and am not sure of the reasoning behind this type of design, as I would think it would cause a loss of rigidity and support for heavier cards.
The rear fan mount offers support for a 120mm or 140mm fan. The case is shipped with a pre-installed 140mm Cooler Master fan that moves 55 CFM at 24 dBa, which isn’t very impressive in terms of performance or noise level, but adequate. The MasterCase 5 has a slotted fan installation design so that the fan can be positioned optimally according to your internal components.
The PCI-E expansion area doesn’t feature breaks between each slot cover, it is one large area. If you remove all of the covers, the area would be completely open. There are plenty of hexagonal ventilation holes punched out above the PCI-E expansion area to help assist with GPU cooling. Unfortunately, there aren’t any holes with rubber grommets for watercooling, which is something we’re used to seeing in this price range on enthusiast-oriented chassis.
The interesting PCI-E slot cover you see here isn’t something introduced with the MasterCase series, it’s a ‘Storm Guard’, which was introduced by Cooler Master years ago with their gaming cases. The Storm Guard works by having you slide your mouse and keyboard cables through the holes and hook in the cover and then placing the cover back in the case. The cables for your mouse and keyboard will then be tethered to the slot and people won’t be able to just walk off with them. The Storm Guard is a cool accessory and while it’s functionality is limited, it’s a nice extra to include. Has anybody ever knowingly had a Storm Guard prevent theft of an accessory? Let us know in the comments section, below.
Below the power supply area, there is a handle for the removable PSU intake filter. This filter is easy to clean and offers full coverage of the PSU intake area, providing filtration support for extended PSU’s.
The bottom feet of the MasterCase 5 are similar to the top handles, but they understandably aren’t wrapped in plastic. These feet have nice, well-attached rubber pads that aid in stability and noise reduction. The case feet also allow the bottom of the MasterCase 5 to sit about an inch above the surface it is sitting on, which will users to run the case on carpeted surfaces and still have clearance for the power supply air intake.
The MasterCase 5 does a great job of bringing traditional Cooler Master style into the modern era, striking a balance between subdued and aggressive looks. The handles, style and easily maneuverable size, along with accessories like the Storm Guard, immediately paint the MasterCase 5 as an excellent candidate for a LAN rig case.
Besides the issue with the lack of extended functionality on the stock IO panel, we really like the style, build quality and features of the MasterCase 5. Cooler Master took ease of use into consideration, as evidenced by the handles and easily accessible filter system included with the MasterCase 5 and it’s these little details that stand out immediately. I think the MasterCase 5 is Cooler Master’s best looking case to date and it has great build quality with expansion potential, to boot. On the next page, we’ll see what kind of thought Cooler Master put into the internals of the MasterCase 5.