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Friday, 23 March 2018


Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 Review

Cooler Master MB500 - A step towards perfection!

Cooler Master is a brand subject to no introduction when it comes to the PC Peripherals industry, more so its more of a household name over here made famous by its extensive lineup of premium cases and cooling solutions which they keep on revamping and renovating with. The latest example of this has been their Cooler Master MasterLiquid Maker 240 custom liquid cooling solution which we'd taken a look at some time back.
This year at CES 2018 Cooler Master came in quite aggressively with a plethora of new products and also a few refreshes along with some very impressive new peripherals. One of these many launches was the Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 which if I put it this way won't be quite wrong that is the successor to their MasterBox Lite 5 which though a good case with all the RGB and all lacked a few necessary features which CM looks to overcome with this latest offering. Thanks to Cooler Master India I happen to have one CM MasterBox MB500 with me today for review, so without any further ado lets dig in and see what this new chassis has to offer.

Priced in at £60 or Rs 5,999 in India the MasterBox MB500 is a mid-tower case designed with a two chamber design with a semi-mesh front panel. It has ventilation on top in order for air to easily reach the two pre-installed 120mm RGB fans in the front (one in the rear). CM says the MB500 has excellent thermal performance and its aggressive styling makes it a good choice for gamers and enthusiasts. It supports up to a 360mm radiator, up to a 400mm long graphics card, 160mm tall CPU cooler, and 180mm length PSU. The 4mm thick tempered glass side panel reaches from edge to edge showing off the hardware inside.

What's in the Box?

Cooler Master supplies the MB500 in a plain brown carton box which has the product imaging and various information well laid out over the entire surface area. There is also a colorful sticker with all the branding logos of various motherboard manufacturer's RGB utilities like Gigabyte RGB Fusion and Asus Aura Sync since the case comes with three RGB fans and there are compatible with all the RGB utilities out there from various manufacturers.

Inside the case is well wrapped inside a plastic bag which is securely fitted inside two thick blocks of thermocol which is ample enough to provide the necessary protection to the product of this size and weight during transit. Mine came in its original box with no extra cushioning and its all in one piece.

Inside the box apart from the CM MB500 we have the installation guide, warranty manual, a RGB fan controller, a one to three RGB splitter cable along with a bunch of cable ties, motherboard screws, PSU and SSD screws, all of which can be found inside a small plastic bag tied to the cabinet cables on the back side of the motherboard area.
Its appreciable that Cooler Master has included everything needed to make it a perfect RGB case which to be honest is what CM is pitching it as, the inclusion of a one to three RGB cable along with a RGB controller box is definitely a welcome move here.

A Closer look at the MB500

My first impression about the MB500 when I opened the box was that its quite premium and oddly clean for the price point that its being offered for. The case is futuristic in terms of design with a aggressive front fascia which is partially vented for better air flow and is made out of premium quality plastic while the rest of the body is black and made out of good quality aluminum sheet which doesn't feel flimsy at all from any angle with a good paint job to go along with. Also its quite light even though we have a thick tempered glass on the side the case is quite light at about 6Kg with the glass which is quite odd since the quality of material over here is not at all substandard, a good news for people who tend to shift there PC around the house often or engage in LAN parties often.

The front fascia is removable and you don't need an awful amount of strength to do so which is a good thing. Its very smooth and clean and is not a finger print magnet with a vented bottom area and a bulging top area that gives it that unique look. The mesh is quite transparent with big holes so it won't be able to stop finer specs of dust and can only block big particles of dust or wool or something like that if you tend to put in on the carpet or have pets around.

Inside obviously we have the Cooler Master MasterFan Pro 120 Air Flow RGB fans which are rated at 1100RPM and 48.8 CFM a respectable amount of air pressure for a case of this size along with the RGB goodness. A thing worth keeping in mind here is that the front fascia is only vented at the bottom where the two 120mm fans are installed so in-case you plan to add three 120mm fans or go for a 360mm radiator in front the third fan on top would have almost no fresh air to suck in leaving is redundant so my advice would be that users of this case should stick with the stock two 120mm fans or can swap them out with two 140mm ones for optimum performance if required as anything more than that is not worth it.

On the top we have a removable magnetic dust filter which is finer than the front vents so one can use them for intake if required as well as below this the CM MB500 supports two 120mm fans and no radiator support is provided which is something that has been carry forwarded from the previous MasterBox series but its nothing to gripe about as for this price point I don't expect dual 240mm radiator support, one in front and one on top, inside the case anyways.

For connectivity we have the white LED illuminated power button in shape of the new CM logo, a reset button, audio jacks and a two USB 3.0 ports with no USB-C type which is alright since this is not a premium case and is aimed at main stream gamers and USB Type-C is still not a mainstream connection standard for devices. Over all the IO panel is extremely clean and well laid out adding a bit more to that refined look of the MB500.

At the back the case sports the standard seven expansion slots along with a MasterFan Pro 120 Air Flow RGB fan. The PSU mount here implements the bracket mounting mechanism proving a 180mm PSU clearance which is more than enough for most of the PSU out there including the near 1000W or more monsters, so complains over here whatsoever.
Underneath the MB500 is clean  and smooth with nothing strange protruding out and we can see the the thin layer of air filter for the PSU here which can only be removed by toppling the case over and has no tray mechanism. A clear sign of cost cutting but that's not a vital feature anyways & I'm happy that Cooler Master has concentrated the funds on more important features over here.

A peek inside the Cooler Master MB500 and we see that this thing is exceptionally clean and well laid out considering its a budget case. The interiors are all black and its a dual chamber design so we have a PSU shroud that is running through the entire length of the chassis ending just before the front fascia. The case supports upto ATX motherboards and graphics card lengths of upto 400mm which covers even the longest cards in the market today including the Zotac AMP or the MSI Gaming X Trio. Also the front has support for radiators of upto 360mm but look close and we realize that even a push-pull here is possible as the PSU shroud leaves enough space for a radiator along with extra fans on the inside of the case since the other fans will rest between the metal frame of the chassis and the plastic front fascia.

For SSD mounts we have two dedicated SSD mounts right in the front which are easily removable and help to boast your priced storage drives through the tempered glass adding a bit more to the aesthetics. Also on the PSU shroud we have space for mounting reservoirs or pumps in case one intends to do a custom cooling setup inside the CM MB500.

The back side has enough space for cable routing with over 2cm clearance and also houses the HDD cage underneath the PSU shroud which is accessible from this side of the case. The cage has two tool less drive caddies which can be used to mount a 3.5" drive or even a 2.5" if required giving the MB500 a total of four storage drive options which should be enough for most people out there.

A bit about the extras that the MB500 comes with, first of all we see that Cooler Master has already bundled the three provided fans with a molex fan connector to make sure that all the fans can be connected with ease and powered on even if the motherboard in use doesn't provide three or more on board fan headers, also it helps to keep the wired mess away and aids in better wire management.
Second is the RGB controller that the case comes with, the basic use of this controller is when the motherboard that one might be using doesn't support on board RGB headers which would leave the RGB lights on the MasterAir fans useless since they use dedicated RGB cables for the same. Now by using this connector which requires a SATA plug for power, all the RGB fans connected via the provided one to three RGB cable, one can control the lighting on the fans and make them change color and pattern using the reset switch on the front IO who's cable would be connected to the controller rather than the motherboard in this case. Sounds a bit complicated but believe me it works and saves a lot of hassle giving much more flexibility and versatility to the case at no extra cost.

Time for the Fun Part - Installation 

Before I proceed further I'd like to inform that due to certain issues on my own end I had little time working around with the Cooler Master MB500 case & since I've concentrated on bringing you a  more detailed and functional review rather than clicking fancy photographs so at times the photography can be a bit dodgy so excuse me for that.
For the installation I won't be going for an AIO cooling today rather I've tried to emulate the most obvious build that a person would go for with a case of this stature and price. So for this build using the Cooler Master MB500 I've used the following components -

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Motherboard: Gigabyte Aorus AX370 Gaming 5
RAM: Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
Cooler: AMD Wraith RGB
Graphics Card: MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G
Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB
Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 700

To be honest I'm really happy and surprised as to how simple the installation procedure was using the MB500 especially when it comes to wire management. Even though I've used a non modular PSU such as the MasterWatt Lite 700 which even has a number of wires with the CPU and ATX 24-pin wire being cylindrical and thick I didn't have to make any special effort to hide or tuck them in behind the case or under the shroud. The vents and crevices are perfectly positioned for easy wire routing and management and there are no sharp edges in or around the case to hurt my finger, which I tend to hurt or cut every-time I made a build so good for a change this time! The MasterFan Pro 120 Air Flow RGB provided here look brilliant especially from the front grill and give an extremely aggressive look to the chassis along with the much needed air flow.
PSU installation is fine not the best to be honest, atleast in my case, as the rubber support for the PSU under the shroud tend to interfere with the PSU when sliding it inside along with the provided bracket so a little fidgeting is to be done here but over all the build experience with the MB500 is excellent and I'm sure anyone can easily build a system inside it with clean wire management.

Temperature Reading 

To get the temperature readings across various components I've used HWMonitor and run every test twice taking the highest reading out of the two. Only on exhaust MasterFan Pro 120 RGB is used & CPU cooler is the AMD Wraith RGB and its set to default settings via the BIOS while rest of the three case fans are directly connected to the molex connector.
Reading is taken with the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X overclocked to 3.8Ghz and fan curve for the MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G is set to default that is the fans would only spin after the card hits 60°C or more. CPU and Graphics Card are loaded for 15mins using the MSI Kombuster and FurMark suit respectively. Readings are in degree Celsius and readings are in delta temperature.
From what we are seeing here the MB500 has definitely improved upon the air flow which its predecessor suffered from and the results are very good considering my ambient temperature is high & we are using a AMD Wraith RGB instead of the AMD Wraith Max with the Ryzen 1800X. This is an impressive feat for Cooler Master and just for the record the case with all the three fans generate a noise of 50dBA which is a bit noisy for a few but this is with the fans spinning at full speed since I'd connected them to a molex pin so, one can adjust the speed accordingly using a PWM connection.

My Verdict

Cooler Master has done a fabulous job with the MasterBox MB500 when it comes to rethinking and redesigning, covering almost every flaw that the predecessors had and offering much more as well with the new offering. With a premium grade finishing & use of the right material at the right places CM has managed to cut cost effectively and bring a more balanced piece to the table in terms of loks and performance. Its aimed at mid to main stream gamers and so has four storage drive support, is light weight to carry along easily during LAN parties & with that nifty little RGB controller of its own it can give even the gamers still rocking the older DDR3 platforms a hint of RGB making the MB500 a more comprehensive case with widespread reach. Cooling performance has improved greatly over the previous generation MasterBox cases and I'm pretty happy about the air flow that the case along with the provided fans managed to dole out, ample to keep any gaming system cool even under load without much hassle.
The cooling options are ample as we are talking about a mount for upto 360mm radiator in front and a 120mm in the back with two 120mm fans on top so at less than Rs 6,000 we have a case that can sport a custom liquid cooling loop for the CPU or a AIO for the CPU and probably one or even two card using a hybrid cooler, the possibilities are just endless but the fact remains that at this price point we are getting more than what we can ask for. I might be going bonkers here but if you just calculate the price of three 120mm MasterFan Pro RGB fans and a case that has a tempered glass & full PSU shroud then we'll be above and beyond the MSRP of this case but Cooler Master has managed to squeeze all that over here at a budget friendly price tag which is no short of exemplary.
My gripes from this case are small and limited, firstly we have only two USB ports in front and secondly the case is only available in one color option as I would've loved to see this case coming in another color way of pure black or maybe a pure white to amplify the whole RGB look.
"The Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 is redesigning done right & has a sophisticated flare of craftsmanship due mainly to the meticulous designing and added tempered glass panel. Building a system using this case can make the most novice builder look like a polished pro at building gaming computers"
Pros - 
  • Aggressive Looks
  • Comes with three MasterFan Pro 120 RGB fans
  • Has a RGB controller
  • Supports upto 360mm radiator in front with push-pull configuration
  • Great air flow
  • Aptly priced
Cons -
  • Only two USB ports
  • No dust filter in front
I give it a 8.5/10 earning our Gold Award!

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  1. I was looking for the temps on this case, Thanks.

    1. Hello,
      The temperature on this case is really good due to obstruction free air flow from the front.
      Happy that it was of some help to you.

  2. Dude i own a MB500.It does have a dust filter on the front it is just behind the front mesh so you may have confused it for the mesh.Please correct your cons for the case.

    1. Hello,
      I know that there is another mesh embedded into the front fascia behind the plastic mesh grills of the front but that filter is not fine enough to stop minute dust particles. I regard filters like those on the Corsair Obsidian 750D or the Cooler Master H500M to be dust filters especially for Indian environment where fine dust particles are found in abundance due to various reasons.
      So, I will still say that a dust filter is absent in the front from this cabinet as that's how I scale a dust filter as.

  3. I am looking to get this case for my 2600 and rx580 for the price which are 1029 south african rand its hard to beat.

    1. Hello,
      Its a great case with abundant air flow no doubt my friend is using the same with a Ryzen 2699 and RX 570 so you should be just fine opting for this.

  4. Is this better than corsair spec-alpha in all aspects? Pls tell the differences between both?

    1. Hello,
      Well firstly the SPEC Alpha is an older model which has been replaced by the SPEC Omega. Comparing these two or even three for that matter the MB500 is overall a far better choice, firstly, the MB500 has a proper CPU power cable routing hole which is absent in the SPEC Alpha and you have to route it all the away from the side grommets near the motherboard to the back of the motherboard where the CPU power socket is placed.
      The airflow on the MB500 is far superior due to an open meshed front while the Omega or Alpha have acrylic glass front which is opaque with a small meshed window the the bottom so if your ambient temperature is high and you have a build with high TDP components then you might see higher temperatures on the components. This can however be avoided if you put two 120mm or two 140mm fans on the top of the Omega or Alpha so if dust isn't an issue in your area or for you then you can overlook this difference.
      The MB500 has tempered glass panel while the Alpha is acrylic panel though the Omega is TG panel too. RGB fans and RGB controller are included in the MB500 while the Alpha doesn't have either of those while the newer Omega RGB comes with RGB fans and bar but no controller.
      HDD support is identical however the MB500 has two additional mounts for two SSDs in the front side so that's a subjective factor here.
      A PSU shroud is not included in the Alpha nor the Omega while the MB500 has that so wire management and over all look of the build improves though that's too subjective.
      Build wise both are fantastic cases so no comparison there. Rest I've laid out some of the major differences between these cases while some are functional the others are purely based on aesthetics so the final decision is up to the buyer here so, weight out your needs and build specifications and choose a case accordingly.
      Feel free to ask any further questions.

  5. Thanks for your review. I would like to use this case running 24/7 but will need to switch off the RGB lights during the night. Is it possible to keep the fans spinning and turn off their lights?

    1. Hello,
      Yes that easily possible, you can either turn them off using the Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion or MSI Mystic Lights utility depending on the manufacturer of your motherboard or if your motherboard doesn't support onboard LED headers for software based control then the provided controller with this case will switch the LEDs off using the case front reset switch. Just press it a few times to cycle through the preset animations one of which is off and one of the presses will turn off the LEDs completely.

  6. Hi
    Bro thanks For ur Great review
    Actually i am going to buy this case soon but the real problem is that my MOBO (Msi B360 A PRO ATX) does'nt have rgb header or supports rgb can i still use the rgb fully and will fans run

    And i am a New NOOB PC Builder XD XD


    1. Hello,
      Thank you for liking the review, hope it helped to clear some of your doubts.
      Well like I mentioned in my review the case comes with a RGB controller which can be used to control the RGB fans of the case, including their colors and animation, so even if your motherboard doesn't have onboard RGB headers you can still use the RGB functions of the fans. Powering and running the fan is like any other normal non-RGB fan using the motherboard's onboard fan headers so its all sorted. Go ahead and buy this case, you won't regret your decision.

  7. Hi Bud
    I am thinking to buy CoolerMaster Hyper 212 LED TURBO Aftermarket cooler for this cabinet will it be compatible with it
    As on CM Website The Maximum CPU cooler height supported by MB500 is 160mm
    But this cooler is of 163 mm will there be Some Problem there????

    CM Hyper 212 LED TURBO-

    CM MB500-

    1. Hello,
      I'm really sorry for the delay, I guess I missed your comment.
      That cooler would saldy won't fit into the MB500 due to the flat TG panel on the side that won't offer any extra clearance. I suggest you get a 120mm AIO around the same price range like the CM 120L which would offer superior performance without any compatibility issues.

  8. Thanks buddy 😊😊😊😊😊

    1. Anytime.
      Feel free to ask any further questions.

  9. Hello there!
    I'm going to do an APU build by March-April and I'm looking at this case or the S340. I'd like something future proof and easy to build in (first time builder). What would you recommend if I have an approx 6k budget for the case(getting this at 5.2 from a local dealer)

    1. Hello,
      Pardon me for the late reply.
      The NZXT S340 is a great case but has few limitations to it for the price it comes for in today's time such as no front fans out of the box, no provision for dual fan mount on top, no support for a 360mm radiator in the front and an inverted 280mm radiator mount only for the front along with the fact that it doesn't offer a good scratch resistance surface due to its all matte paint body. But I personally like its front dust filter which is very effective.
      I suggest you go for the Antec DF500 or Cooler Master MB500 which will offer you more space and features at the same price point or less.

  10. Hey Vishvesh,

    Great Review you made me buy this case ;-), paired it with a Asus TUF series B450 Plus (ATX), unfortunately could not connect the case with Asus Aura Sync on the MB can you please help

    1. Hello,
      Happy to know that I could be of some help to you.
      Well that motherboard has a RGB header on the extreme right side adjacent to the RAM slots, connect the three RGB fans of the case to the one to three RGB splitter cable and then plug the cable into the motherboard RGB header. You’ll be able to control the lights and animation of the fans through Asus Aura Sync then.
      Make sure that you plug the cables properly with the arrows of the male and female ports matching each other or else it won’t work.
      Feel free to ask any more question.

  11. Does the included 3 RGB fans can be controlled by the motherboard? 3-pin or 4-pin connector does it use?

    1. Yes they can be as they are normal 12v RGB fans only using 4-pin RGB headers. Plug them onto your motherboard directly if you have RGB headers on it, don't try to plug them into 5v ARGB 3-pin headers.

    2. Sorry me, my bad. I mean the pin for controlling the speed, is it 4 pin(pwm), 3 pin, or molex?Can it reach the motherboard?

    3. These are PWM fans so yes they can be controlled via the motherboard onboard fan headers like any normal PWM fan. They'll reach the motherboard headers easily don't worry.