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Cooler Master MasterCase H500: Quality and Budget Friendly Collide

By Robert Baddeley on July 23, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Cooler Master MasterCase H500: Quality and Budget Friendly Collide

Cooler Master has released another case following their gorgeous H500M that I reviewed a few weeks ago. This time we’re dropping the “M” and looking at the H500. Like it's simple name implies, the case lacks a lot of the frills of its older brother, but does it still hold its own in the PC building arena? In this review I’ll be taking a look at the H500 from Cooler Master, the cheapest in the MasterCase H500 series.  It may not have fanciest RGB but the H500 is a beauty all its own.  Read on to find out more.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $99
  • Interchangeable Front Panel
  • Available Color: Iron Grey
  • Materials
    • Body: Steel
    • Front Panel: Mesh, Acrylic & Plastic
    • Top Panel: Steel & Plastic
    • Left Side Panel: Tempered Glass
    • Right Side Panel: Steel
  • Dimensions: 525 x 228 x 502mm (LxWxH)
  • Motherboard Support: ATX, mATX, mITX
  • Expansion Slots: 7
  • Combo 3.5”/2.5” Drive Bays: 2
  • 2.5” SSD Drive Bays: 2
  • Front I/O: 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, Audio In/Out
  • RGB Control: Onboard button on the RGB Controller or vis Reset Switch
  • Pre-installed Fans:
    • Front: 2x 200mm RGB Fan (Non-Addressable)
    • Rear: 1x 120mm Fan (Black)
  • Fan Support
    • Top: 2 x 120mm / 2 x 140mm / 1 x 200mm
    • Front: 3 x 120mm / 2 x 140mm / 2 x 200mm
    • Rear: 1 x 120mm
  • Radiator Support
    • Top: 120/140/240mm
    • Front: 120/140/200/240/280/360mm
    • Rear: 120mm
  • CPU Clearance: 167mm / 6.5”
  • PSU Clearance: 180mm / 7.1”
  • GPU Clearance: 410mm / 16.1”
  • Dust Filters: Top, Front Bottom

Unboxing and Construction

Unboxing the H500 was right on par with a typical PC chassis unboxing. It wasn't the experience that unboxing the $200 H500M was, nor did I expect it to be. I was given a simple brown box with styrofoam protecting the case and a tempered glass panel that I could use to replace the front mesh panel if I chose to, just like the H500M.  Inside I found all my front I/O cables as well as the connectors for the giant 200mm fans found mounted on the front of the case. All the screws I could possibly want were included as well because, just like the H500M, I had to insert the motherboard risers in the appropriate spots myself.

The H500 feels noticeably less solid than the H500M but not enough so where it feels cheaply made.  We still get a really nice tempered glass side panel though this one is held in place with two screws rather than the latch system found on the H500M.  We don't get a tempered glass panel behind the motherboard so those of us who get no joy out of making pretty little cable management art can rejoice - the old “smash the panel, jam the screw in place” is back.

The top of the case comes equipped with a magnetic dust filter that’s easily removed so you can attach your fans or radiators, thought whether or not you’d have the clearance for a radiator on the top will likely depend the layout of your motherboard and the heatsinks placed on it.  With the ASUS Strix I have in my secondary test build I opted to use a 120mm AIO and just mount it in the rear.  It’s definitely a situation when you realize how nice it was to have the small compartment on top of the H500M where you could place the fans outside of the main component area of your rig.

I really don’t have a lot of complaints when it comes to the build quality.  It’s a well put together case and it doesn’t seem like Cooler Master made any attempt to visibly cut corners.  I did have two issues that bothered me, however.  One, the motherboard risers wouldn't screw in properly to the chassis by hand, I had to use needle nose pliers to get them seated all the way in. (This could easily just have been a defect on my particular case).  Two, the piece of metal the motherboard mounts two doesn't stretch the entire length of the chassis; meaning no matter what you do you can't fully hide your front I/O cables.

Installation

I’m surprised to find myself saying this, but I really feel like I had an easier time building in this budget case versus the premium H500M.  The first big relief for me came from the ease in taking the case apart to get it in the proper state of dissassembledness for me to build in it.  It took almost no time at all and I was promptly inserting my power supply and mounting my motherboard.  I was very pleased as well to find myself with a little over one inch of cable management room behind the motherboard (30mm to be exact for all you non-MURICA folk)

I literally did not have a single hiccup with installation outside of the aforementioned motherboard risers.  I enjoyed every moment of building inside of this case more so than I have with any case in recent memory: ThermalTake View 31, Corsair Air 540, NZXT S340, and yes, even the H500M itself.  Cooler Master continued with it’s brilliant SSD mounting system in the H500 and I couldn’t be happier about it.  If you didn’t read my previous review instead of having to screw your SSDs into your chassis Cooler Master has provided little pegs that screw in to your drive that allow you to just plop them right in to your case.  I’m not sure how else to describe it to be honest - you just push it into the rubber mounting area and you’re done. Viola!

If I had to pick an area that was a little off-putting to work with I would have to point my finger at the power supply shroud.  It wasn’t the fact that it was made out of plastic - it blends well enough with the steel you find all around it - but more that some of your power cables come up through the provided cut out (like your GPU) while other route behind the motherboard.  This just lead to some awkwardness during the build where I was still connecting things so I couldn’t have the shroud all the way in but it was nonetheless still in the way because I was kind of dumb and had already routed cable through it.

Final Thoughts

Cooler Master really hit it out of the park when it came to their premium (and pricey) case, the H500M and they’ve continued the trend straight on down the line to their budget-friendly member of the line, the H500.  The 200mm fans may not be adressable but their lighting is still vibrant and they push air through the chassis like nothing I’ve ever seen - Cooler Master really is unmatched when it comes to the AirFlow in the H500 series of cases and bringing that perk to the sub-$100 chassis crowd is a brilliant move. 

If you’re looking to start a new PC build and don’t happen to have access to Elon Musk’s bank account, the H500 is a great chassis to look at if your into sleek and sexy designs, superior air flow, and ease when it comes to building your rig.  If I can help it I won’t be using a different case for a very, very long time because even though I have a few minor issues with some aspects Cooler Master has given me everything I could ask for in a budget chassis.

Pros

  • Great Airflow
  • Easy to build in
  • Good Price/Quality Ratio

Cons

  • Front Panel I/O cables can’t be fully hidden
  • PSU shroud is a little janky

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.