Cooler Master N400 Review
Reviewed by: red454
Reviewed on: December 9, 2013
Cooler Master N400 Introduction:
Over the years, Cooler Master has been known for a wide variety of products - power supplies, fans, CPU coolers, and gaming peripherals - but for me the first thing that comes to mind is the wide range of Cooler Master cases. From the HAF and COSMOS series monster cases down to the LAN box, Cooler Master has a case for you. The N series is a conservative case line that is full of features and has a smooth, sleek style. The N400 is a mid-tower case that fits right in between the N200 and the N600. If you are a fan of liquid cooling and many fan mounting locations, you will love this case. Ever seen a side radiator? Well, this case supports up to a 240mm raditaor on the side.
Cooler Master N400 Closer Look:
First, let's look at the box. Up front we have a standard graphic of the case and on the rear there is an illustration of the internal features of the N400 with a set of detailed feature descriptions in a variety of languages. On the ends we have a nice 3/4 view profile graphic and full list of features.
Open the top and the N400 is ready to be unpacked. Heavy cases can be a challenge to get out of the box, but this case is not too heavy, so it is easy to get it out.
Heavy Styrofoam end caps keep everything in pristine condition. A plastic bag does its job and protects the case from the wear induced by the Styrofoam on the journey to your door. There is a strip of protective plastic around the front fascia to keep it from getting scratched up.
Coolermaster N400 Closer Look:
When I pulled the case out of the box, I realized just how much larger and how much heavier it is compared to its little N200 brother. It retains the same classic style as the others in the N series, but on a larger scale. The case measures 190mm x 426mm x 501.4mm / 7.5in x 16.7in x 19.7in. The entire front is a metal mesh for air flow. There is a plastic rib that runs vertically on the right and contains the mounting for all of the front I/O, along with the Cooler Master logo. Looking at the front of the case, we have two bays for 5.25" optical drives and one 3.5" bay. Very conservative, but certainly not boring.
Then on the rear there are two knockouts for external water cooling lines, a 120mm (included) cooling fan, and seven expansion slots. Next to the expansion slots, and in between the water cooling knockouts, are three additional vents to aid in air flow. And at the bottom, of course, is the space for the PSU.
On top we have the ventilation grid with mounting for a 120mm or 240mm radiator, or two 120mm fans. You can see the offset of the top vent to allow for fan/radiator clearance if you use a top mounted radiator. Looking at the bottom, there is a mesh filter for the PSU attached from inside. It really is just a piece of mesh attached from the inside, which would be a little difficult to clean after you install your power supply. What I find a little odd is that the N200 and the N600 both have plastic-framed dust filters that easily slilde out from the bottom.
The sides of the case are fairly standard. Both are flat and we will see if there is enough space for cable management. One side is vented and has mounting holes for either a 120mm or 140mm fan, and on the other side there is a large vent for... wait for it... a SIDE mounted radiator! The N200 had the ability for a front mounted radiator, but the side mount on the N400 really has me anxious to see how it would fit. Both side panels use removable thumb screws for retention.
Here is a close up of the front I/O. From the bottom up, you have two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a microphone jack, a headphone jack, HDD activity light, power button, and finally the reset button.
Cooler Master N400 Closer Look: Working Components:
I removed both side panels and noticed the nice cut out in the motherboard tray that provides easy access for your CPU cooler installation. Two case fans are included with the N400: one at the rear and one up front. Both are 3-pin 120mm fans. The front fan has white LEDs.
The N400 gives you three nice options for liquid cooling. You can put a 120mm radiator at the rear, up top you can use a 120mm or a 240mm radiator, and now we have a side mount option for a 120mm or a 240mm radiator. If you don't go with liquid cooling, you can still put two 120mm fans on the side and increase your airflow. So for a fairly small case, you have some big cooling options. There are eight 3.5" drive bays, so space for your HDDs is no problem. Some cases have hard drive bays that can be removed or configured to allow for long video cards. The entire tower for all the standard drives in the N400 is fixed, so there is nothing to configure or move, but you do have 320mm (12.6") of space for a video card. The top two optical drive bays are tool-free, as are the top three 3.5" drive bays.
Looking at the back side, you will notice the integrated mounts for the side radiator or fans. It is tight, but you can get a radiator and fans in there.
When the front fascia is removed, you can see the 120mm included fan mounted in the middle. It has white LEDs. You can add a 120mm fan below that one if you like. This case can handle up to eight fans. Fan locations include: one rear, two on top, two in front, one on the left side, and finally two on the right side. The KKN1/KKN2 cases have a place for a single 120mm or 140mm side fan, and do not have a side window. The KWN1/KWN2 each have side windows, and of course no optional side fan.
For liquid cooling, Cooler Master recommends that the Seidon 240M be used for the top or right side and the Seidon 120XL or 120M be used at the rear. The upper tool-free slots are for the optical drives. At the bottom, the drive cage can handle eight 3.5" drives and there are also four holes on the case floor for a solid state drive (SSD).
There is also a small plastic cage for SSDs. It will hold two and the cage clips to one of the spots used for a side fan or radiator.
A view from the back side shows that the SSD cage can be mounted in a couple of different orientations.
The top can handle a 240mm radiator. Since the motherboard sits high in the case, the vent and fan mounts are offset to leave room for the radiator and fans. There is little space for cable routing behind the motherboard tray, so be prepared to have your cables showing. There is a top filter (not shown) installed from the factory and it is secured in position with four plastic tabs. On the rear at the upper left is the 120mm 3-pin rear exhaust fan (included).
The motherboard tray on the N400 is actually recessed a little, and this can present a bit of a problem for certain motherboards. Here is where I ran into one such little problem. The USB 3.0 socket on my MSI GD-65 motherboard is horizontal, and prevents the cable from being plugged in. Actually, I could plug it in, but it was really tight, and I don't like to put unnecessary stress on the motherboard or socket. I am not sure why, but the N200 and N600 have motherboard trays that are flush with the back plane, and did not have this problem. If your SATA cables plug in from the side of your motherboard, the recessed tray may make things a bit cramped, so keep this in mind.
The instrucions are easy to follow and understand. The hardware pack has the usual screws, system speaker, and zip ties.
Here we have the final assembly. While the options for cable routing are limited, there is room for everything, and if you invest a little more time, you could clean up the cables. A modular power supply would also help clean things up a bit. The Noctua D14 CPU cooler looks disproportionately large. Before you install a large cooler like this, double check that all your cables are plugged in and your RAM is seated properly.
Cooler Master N400 Specifications:
|Polymer, mesh front bezel, steel case|
190 x 426 x 501.4 mm / 7.5 x 16.7 x 19.7 inch
5.6 kg / 12.3 lbs
5.25" Drive Bays:
3.5" Drive Bays:
8 (1 exposed, 7 hidden)
2.5" Drive Bays:
USB 3.0 x 2 (int.), USB 2.0 x 2, Mic x 1, Audio x 1 (supports AC97 / HD Audio)
Top: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)
Front: 120mm fan x 2 (one white LED XtraFlo fan installed, one optional) - for KKN1/KWN1; with no LED XtraFlo - for KKN2/KWN2
Rear: 120mm XtraFlo fan (no LED) x 1 (installed)
Left Side: 120/140mm fan x 1 (optional) - for KKN1 / KKN2 only
Right Side: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)
|Standard ATX PS2|
VGA card length: 320mm / 12.6 inch
CPU cooler height: 164mm / 6.4 inch
Cooler Master N400 Features:
- Full mesh on the front panel
- Supports a 240mm liquid cooling radiator or two 120mm fans on the right side / at the top
- Supports a 120mm liquid cooling radiator in the rear
- Supports up to 3 SSDs – 2 on the tool-less 2.5” cage, 1 at the bottom of HDD cage
- Includes two XtraFlo 120 fans – one white LED XtraFlo (LED can be disabled) in the front and one (no LED) in the rear for optimum airflow - support for up to 8 fans
- One optional 120/140mm fan can be installed on the left side panel to cool the graphics cards
- Supports high-end graphics cards up to 320mm / 12.6 inch, including NVIDIA GTX 690 & AMD HD 7990
- Dual Super Speed USB 3.0
- 3 dust filters (top, right side, bottom) for easy maintenance
Information provided by: "http://www.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/n-series/n400.html"
Cooler Master N400 Testing:
Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU and GPU during idle and load phases. The load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor 1.21.0. Please note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.
- Processor: Core i7 4770K @ 3.9 GHz (100 MHz x 39)
- CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D14
- Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65
- Memory: Patriot Viper 3 Series Black Mamba PC3-19200 16GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 770
- PSU: Thermaltake SMART 750W SP-750P
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD
- Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit SP1
- Enermax Ostrog GT
- Corsair Carbide Air 540
- Cooler Master N600
- Cooler Master COSMOS SE
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo
- Lian Li PC-9N
The CPU and GPU idle temps were as expected, nothing remarkable. And the load temps were also consistent with the other test cases. The testing is all done as a stock setup, too. The N400 offers a number of fan mounting options, so you can likely get your load temps down by experimenting with some additional fans.
Cooler Master N400 Conclusion:
The N400 is positioned between the N200 and the N600, and regarding space and features, it fits well. But it seems to be somewhat of an afterthought - the way the motherboard tray is recessed, but not on the N200 and N600, and the PSU filter differences. However, it does give you some nice cooling options that most cases of this size and price point just don't offer. If you like to experiment with adding fans, then you will have some fun with the N400. I like the four USB ports on the front panel, which in my opinion should be a standard. I have seen several large cases that only have two front USB ports and it can be a pain to have to fish around the rear of the case trying to find an open port.
OK, so the cons - a minor one is the PSU filter access. You could mount the PSU with the intake facing up, and I usually blow the dust out of my computers monthly; I don't really have much of a clogged filter problem, so this is really not a major concern. As for not being able to hook up the front panel USB 3.0, well, that is kind of a big deal. Now, keep in mind that this won't be a problem with all motherboards (a micro ATX motherboard with a side mounted USB socket will likely fair better), but it is something to look into and make sure your motherboard will work. Same thing with SATA sockets that are side mounted on the motherboard - sometimes getting your SATA cable plugged in can be really difficult and you don't want to have to take the motherboard half way out to unplug a SATA cable. Despite the cons (I don't want to bash the N400 too much), it is certainly a nice little case that won't break your wallet.
The fit, finish, and build quality are all consistent with Cooler Master's high standards. Pricing is comparable to other cases with similar features and is currently available at NewEgg for $59.99. The N400 gives you affordable space, functionality, room for expansion, a variety of cooling options, and classic Cooler Master styling.
- Support for up to a 240mm top or 240mm side radiator
- Up to three places to mount a SSD and eight places to mount a HDD
- Top and side fan options
- Up to eight places to mount fans
- 1/2 inch clearance on the bottom - be careful when sitting the case on a carpeted floor
- Can't hook up front panel USB 3.0
- PSU filter access is difficult
- Cable management