Cooler Master MasterBox 5t Reviewred454 -
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Cooler Master MasterBox 5t Introduction:
The MasterBox 5t is the latest and greatest release from Cooler Master that focuses on the idea of "You Decide the Inside." Cooler Master says that, "this case’s straightforward design comes with conveniently placed cut-outs, making component installation, interior expansion, and multiple interior layouts simple and easy. The MasterBox 5t can also support larger, high-end components, air and DIY water cooling." That really sums it up - I don't think I could say it any better myself! The MasterBox series of cases offer flexibility for your hard drive mounting locations and a more simplified case building experience. Of course, Cooler Master is no stranger to innovation, so even though my expectations may be high, I have a feeling I won't be disappointed. Keep in mind that this is in the MasterBox series, not the MasterCase. It is easy to get them mixed up, but they are two different series of cases.
Cooler Master has raised the bar with the Master series of cases. Cooler Master also has some new coolers out now, and you can check out the MasterLiquid Pro 280 review here: MasterLiquid Pro 280 review.
Cooler Master MasterBox 5t Closer Look:
The MasterBox 5t is a mid-tower style case featuring a unique design, from the two-tone color scheme to the carry handle on top. This case appeals to the first time builder, as well as the veteran who needs the flexibility that the MasterBox 5t offers. The overall design is fairly simple - and I like that. The style gets your attention, but it doesn't come off as cheesy or juvenile. It can work as a gaming case, a workstation case, or just a general use case. The front acrylic panel is flanked on either side by vertical intake vents trimmed in red metal mesh. The acrylic front has a mirror finish and while it has a dark smoke translucence, there is no doubt that any LED fans you use up front would really look nice. Notice the absence of any optical drive bays.
Right away, the red motherboard tray (visible through the large clear side window) and red front air intake vents jump out. I am a big fan of red and black themed components, so when I first pulled the case out of the packaging, I was hooked. Of course, not everyone is a fan of the red and black combination, and for now that is the only way this case is available. That is fine with me. And the built in carry handle on top. YES! That is something that I think all cases should have. Not that I have ever dropped a case - no, certainly not!
Looking down from the top, you can see the red mesh filter panel. I have it installed from the inside, but it can go on the outside too, and in fact that is where it has to go if you install an exhaust fan in the top of the case. This filter has a perimeter magnetic strip, so it will stick to any metal surface. There are mounting holes for either a 120mm or a 140mm fan. On the right is a shot of the bottom of the case. There are four rectangular rubber feet at the corners and you can see the bottom filter panel that keeps dust out of the power supply.
The front I/O panel consists of the standard items: hard drive activity LED (red), reset button, two USB 3.0 ports (no USB 2.0 ports), and headphone and microphone jacks. The main power button is front and center. Off to the right is a litte extra something - a two speed fan control switch for case fans (up to three 3-pin fans). Next is a close-up shot of the front air intake vents. I really like the red color applied to the fine honey comb style mesh. If you look closely under some good light, you can see some fine metal flake in the paint.
With the front acrylic cover removed, you can see the included 120mm front fan at the bottom, and with no bulky optical drive bays in the way, you can have a total of three 120mm front fans, or two 140mm front fans. You can see straight through to the rear 120mm fan in the back of the case. The big news here is support for up to a 360mm radiator up front. You might not think of a mid-tower case with a 360mm radiator in the front, but this case can do it. Now, if you look way down at the bottom, right below the fan, there is a red LED bar that projects a nice red glow down toward the floor. It is not powered up in this photo, so this bar can rotate to adjust the effect, which we will see a little later.
The rear of the case has the usual layout with the cutout for the motherboard I/O panel at the upper left and the 120mm rear exhasut fan just to the right. Below are the seven expansion slots. The bottom slot is covered with a cool bracket called the StormGuard™. This little feature is for safeguarding your peripherals, such as a USB mouse or keyboard. This helps to keep them from walking off, and I show it in more detail in the video review. Below the expansion slots is the rectangular opening for the PSU, and below that opening is the little handle that lets you pull the bottom filter out for easy cleaning.
Just look at all that red. Now I know some people won't really care for the red, and that is fine, but I know I really like it. I am a big fan of the ASUS ROG motherboards, and any of them would look right at home against that motherboard tray. Really, any red and black motherboard would look good, and any black or white motherboard, too. All the cutouts allow for the various hard drive mounting options and the huge opening allows for access to the back of your motherboard for cooler installation. I am also noticing more cases are using a PSU cover, too. That really helps with cable clutter - well, the clutter is still there, but it is out of view. More on that topic below.
A cool feature that I am seeing more in case designs is the cover for the PSU. There are two ways of thinking about this, the first being, "wow, now I can cover up all those ugly cables." And this cover certainly does that. But the other side is what if you have this expensive high powered PSU and you want to show it off, not cover it up? Well, the cover is held in with one thumb screw, so it can easily be removed. So you have a couple of otions for the cover. Either way, I like it and I think it really comes in handy if your PSU is not modular, and you have a lot of extra cables that are just going along for the ride. This cover gives you a way to keep them out of view, for the most part. Now, looking down at the lower right portion of the case, there is the hard drive cage complete with a little SSD mounting bracket on top. This hard drive cage (and SSD bracket) are both modular and can be moved around to various positions in the case. If you plan to use a front radiator, being able to move the hard drive cage is a big plus.
The red mesh filter panel stands out against the black case. I have this filter panel shown inside of the case, but it is really supposed to go on the outside, especially if you mount a top fan. You can also see the nice notch in the upper left corner of the motherboard tray; this notch is for the CPU power cable. I have seen many cases that don't have this feature and if you forget to fish the cable into position before you put the motherboard in - you are in for some trouble. But with the notch, routing the CPU power cable is a breeze. And also at the rear is the (included) 120mm rear exhaust fan. In the picture to the right is the SSD mounting bracket mounted to the motherboard tray in one of three postions. You can also mount it on the back side of the motherboard tray if you like.
Here the hard drive cage is mounted in the center position. It easily attaches with a couple of thumb screws, while the large side window allows you to show off your internal hardware. If you are going with SSDs only, then you can simply remove the cage altogether. The cage does have two plastic HDD trays that also have mouning holes for SSDs.
The system comes to life after the motherboard is installed and the power is turned on. You get a better appreciation for how much room is in there when everyting is installed and there are no optical drive bays. That really opens up the case. Makes it look bigger than it really is. More cases are moving to not using optical drive bays. Of course, now that the power is on, you can really see the red glow from the LED bar under the front of the case. You can rotate the bar to change the angle and get a different lighting effect. I love the red and black theme of the entire case, so this is a nice plus for me.
If you would like to take a look at the case in more detail, click below for a video review of the MasterBox 5t case, then check out the Specifications, Features & Testing page to see more details about the case, as well as the thermal testing results. Be sure to watch all the way to the end and you can see what the MasterLiquid Pro 280 cooler looks like in the MasterBox 5t.