Cooler Master MasterBox K500 Review

Physical Characteristics

The MasterBox K500 arrives in a fairly non-descript brown cardboard box with a 3D outline drawing of the case itself as well as a listing of several of the specifications. Taking the case out of its packaging, you are greeted by an ATX midi tower with a single tempered glass side panel. On the outside we have the standard power and reset button, two USB 3.0 ports, audio in and out, and a hard drive activity LED. The border of the power button doubles as the power LED. The moulded plastic front panel has a symmetrical, modern Transformer-esque look to it, and is the most striking feature of the case.

The middle of the front panel has a diamond-shaped metal mesh with a very fine honeycomb pattern, behind which you will find the two pre-installed RGB fans. These can be hooked up to either your motherboard’s RGB header or to the reset button, which would then serve to change the colours, via the included RGB controller. The third fan, should you install one, sits above the mesh, meaning that all airflow into the front of the case has to be channelled through the small mesh at the front and another even smaller mesh on top. Other than that, the case sports an entirely black paintjob, and there is no bare metal to be seen. It must be noted, however, that the finish shows each and every fingerprint so you will want to avoid touching it too much once you’ve completed your build.

Cooler Master MasterBox K500 Review 1

Moving onto the side of the case, the tempered glass side panel spans the entire side of the chassis and is secured by two thumbscrews at the top. One needs to be careful when removing these as the glass is inclined to fall towards you. Being glass, this can have disastrous consequences should you not be expecting it. Tempered glass doesn’t just crack, but rather shatters into hundreds of tiny pieces upon impact. While stronger than standard glass, it is still a form of glass and by no means bulletproof.

Once removed, we’re greeted by a mostly empty cavity which is where the motherboard and all other components will sit. There is a large cut out providing access to the back of the motherboard once installed, which allows you to install or change the CPU cooler without having to tear down the system completely and remove the motherboard. Towards the front of the case you’ll find the single sled provided for SSD installation, although more can be purchased as optional extras. Cooler Master has also inscribed each hole for motherboard mounts with various letters and a guide telling you which letter to use for each of the supported form factors of motherboard.

The bottom quarter of the case is hidden by the PSU shroud, although unfortunately this is riveted in place and not removable. Such a design can make PSU installation difficult, but there is a removable plate on the back side of the case to which the PSU can be screwed and then slid in from behind. If you have a non-modular PSU this remains a fairly tricky process, but for modular unit it shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. Once installed, however, the modular plugs end of very close to the non-removable 3.5″ hard drive cage, which sits about 5 cm away from the front of the case. As such, you will want to connect your modular cables before finally securing the PSU in place.

The 3.5″ hard drive cage allows for tool-less installation of up to two drives, so overall storage expansion is limited unless you purchase more 2.5″ sleds and use the lower capacity and costlier laptop hard drives. For a media server this case most certainly is not, but for most gamers you still have space for however many M.2 SSDs your motherboard supports, a single 2.5″ SSD, and two mechanical drives.

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