I’ve recently had to build in a lot of cases. I’d say that in the last year or so I’ve moved parts from case to case about as much as I had in the previous decade before that. I’ve gotten decently practiced at it but still find it to be quite the pain. This is mostly because I don’t have all the spare parts that some of the big guys have so I’m literally taking apart my personal rig and putting it back together over and over again.
So how does the H500M compare to the other cases I’ve built in recently? I can safely say it was not the easiest case to build in. In fact, I had more difficulty with this case than any before it. But that being said I am happiest with the results with the H500M. A set of nice CableMod extensions to hide the butt-ugly PSU cables I have and I’m dangerously close to looking at my computer for the first time and saying “ahhhh, it’s perfect”.
The first difficulty arose from the fact that I didn’t have enough clearance to keep the fans on the Cooler Master ML240R AIO attached directly to the radiator and then simply mount the radiator to the top of the case. This means I had to remove not only the top tempered glass portion of the case, but the steel plate under it. I then had to mount the fans to one side and the radiator to the other and put the case back together in order to get my AIO mounted for my CPU. True to what I said early about being happy with the end result, I am. It looks really nice not having all that bulk in the tempered glass window of the side panel, however it does not add the ease of putting a PC build together to have to extensively take apart a chassis to complete a task that should be relatively simple.
Something Cooler Master did that I haven’t seen before is with their SSD mounting. I was expecting to have to screw my SSDs in to place (and my NZXT controller) but included in the case box were these small little… nubs? You screwed them into the bottom of the SSD and this allows the SSD to be popped into place anywhere you can find the small rubber mounting points sprinkled through the case. Finding the perfect place for my SSD and NZXT controller was incredibly easy this way and I find the idea absolutely brilliant over the alternative of mounting the steel brackets to the SSD that then mount to the chassis - a solution common in other manufacturers.
Okay people, it’s time for the biggest beef I had during installation. I need to preface by saying I’m not entirely sure if it’s the fault of Cooler Master or my motherboard manufacturer, MSI. The problem is this: Front. Panel. Cables. While one of my USB 3.0 Type-A cables perfectly reached it’s port on my motherboard, the other did not. I quite literally was worried that if I got it plugged in it was going to snap pins off. I currently only have half my USB ports on the front panel working as I wait for an extension to arrive in the mail.
I had the same problem with the HD Audio cable, which when finally plugged in carried a lot more tension than I was comfortable with and also prevented the installation of SSDs in the two spots on top of the PSU shroud. Lastly, I don’t get to use USB 3.1 Type-C at all. The cable from the front I/O just plain won’t reach. It doesn’t matter if I forgo cable management all together and just reach in a straight line - it’s no dice for me and it seems I’ll have a better chance of finding Atlantis than finding a simple extensions for this type of motherboard/cable connector. Again, I’m not sure who is at fault here.
Editor’s Note: We reached out to Cooler Master who confirmed that they are aware that USB 3.1 placement on some motherboards may result in the cable being too short and so include an extension cable in all retail units. These extensions were not included in reviewer samples due to their earlier preparation.
Negative things aside I want to touch on my favorite part of the case (outside of the pretty RGB) and that’s the cable management panels on the rear. Cable management has always had a special place in my heart… the part that’s dead and hateful. It is my bane. I don’t enjoy it, it frustrates me to no end and it’s one of the reasons I loved the Corsair Air 540 - I could just smash everything behind the motherboard like a kid cleaning his room tossing everything in the closet. So when I put together the H500M build I gave it the college try but it still didn’t look as good as something like Gazimoff seems to be able to do. That’s where the lovely panels come in, allowing me to do some quick tucking and hiding and presenting an acceptable looking backside to my build. They clipped on easily, hid one hell of a mess, and I especially liked the panel that covered the rear side CPU where you’d typically be staring at cooling mounting hardware.
Post Installation & Final Thoughts After the tedious building was completed and the power button was pushed (and the oops I forgot to plug the power into the GPU problem was rectified) I was surprised to hear how quiet the chassis was compared to my previous one. The 200mm fans push an incredible amount of air at relatively low RPMs and I wish I had a device to measure the air flow so I could compare the different sized fans. Though the data isn’t controlled at all and may be accounted for by repasting of the CPU or dust falling out of the radiator I did notice a full 4-5c drop in CPU temperatures post installation. I like to think it’s due to superior airflow not only because of the fans but also because there is so much more inside the case for laminar airflow to exist and not turbulate.
There’s no denying the build itself is downright gorgeous. Cooler Master has really hit it out of the park with their addressable RGB line and I eagerly await them selling 200mm fans as separate items and adding an addressable lightstrip so I can finally have all my RGB controlled by one piece of software. It’s time for Corsair to have some competition on that front I think. While I had my own personal issues with the MasterCase H500M there’s no denying that this case is a premium case well deserving of the price tag. Between the plethora of cooling options, incredible air flow, aesthetics, and sturdy build quality you are getting every penny of your money’s worth.
- Great Airflow
- Superior Build Quality
- Resulting builds are clean and good looking
- Design is slick without being overbearing
- Front Panel I/O might be limited by motherboard layout (cables too short)
- Only two mounting points for 3.5” hard drives
- Not a lot of clearance for cable management
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.