Introduction

When it comes to PC Cooling and Chassis, Cooler Master needs no introduction. Ever since its foundation in 1992, the company rolled out their first CPU Cooler in 1993 with major breakthrough coming in 1999 when their first all-aluminum based handmade chassis was launched. There was no stopping to the continuous innovation that took the company to the new frontiers of introducing liquid cooling solutions, power supply units, gaming peripherals, etc. Cooler Master is making a strong comeback in recent times with their cooling solutions and chassis.

Cooler Master has continued the design element of H500P and they have released the ARGB versions. Today, we will be taking a look at their new Mastercase H500 ARGB chassis. Cooler Master has learned quickly from airflow and a few others lacking in the initial design of the H500 and has addressed those in the later iterations. This time, they are providing mesh as well as solid transparent front panel covers in a box allowing the user to customize the front as per the requirement. This chassis features two 200mm ARGB fans on the front for which Cooler Master has provided a dedicated controller as well. This is a mid-tower chassis that can house a full ATX as well E-ATX motherboard as well. The user can install a 2x 2.5” drive and a combination of 2x 2.5” or 3.5” drives. There is an ample cooling provision as well. The user can also install a 200mm fan on the top. The chassis has a wider frame giving it a good clearance for a top-mounted AIO from RAM. Dust filtration is provided on the top, front, and bottom. The chassis has a handle on the top for ease of carrying.

  • Item:                      Mastercase H500 ARGB
  • Manufacturer:        Cooler Master
  • Price:                     PKR 22600/- at the time of the review

Specification

Packaging and Unboxing

The chassis is shipped inside a cardboard box of brown color which is a standard for the chassis shipping.

The ARGB lighting on the fans is compatible with the motherboard 5V lighting headers from ASUS, ASRock, MSI, and GIGABYTE. A fragile sticker indicates there is a glass panel on the chassis.

This chassis retains the original design theme of the H series and has added a provision for either a mesh or a transparent front panel making it ideal for high airflow or eye-catching design-build.

The specifications are printed providing enough information to the user.

Opening the box will show the chassis tucked inside two white colors Styrofoam pads. There is a solid transparent panel placed inside Styrofoam packing placed on top of the chassis. By default, the mesh panel is pre-installed on the chassis.

Cooler Master has provided:

  • Zip Ties
  • Various Screws
  • Controller Hub
  • Microfiber cloth for panel cleaning

Closer Look

It is time to take a look at the chassis and see all the features. Here is what Cooler Master is saying about their Chassis, “Two front panels, two 200mm ARGB fans, and a handle to grip onto when the adrenaline kicks in. The MasterCase H500 is established as the go-to chassis for high-performance airflow. Now, with 200mm ARGB fans, its legacy is upgraded with premium lighting. Each choice of front panels decides whether the build will excel at ruthless airflow performance or head-turning aesthetics. Of course, the mesh is the ideal choice for providing pre-installed fans with high volumes of fresh air. The transparent panel, on the other hand, parades those fans in a crystal clear view.  The iconic, addressable RGB fans are the core of the H-Series in design and function, capable of operating quietly while moving high volumes of air due to their size. The pre-installed ARGB fans can be managed by either the motherboard or an included controller, connected by the included splitter, to create a comprehensive ARGB lighting system. Gaming hardware, cooling components, and the pure pride of the builder is shown in a panoramic view through an edge-to-edge tempered glass side panel.”

The MasterCase H500 ARGB is made of Steel, Plastic, Mesh, and Tempered Glass. It has a dimension of 525L x 228W x 502H mm (Including panels). The chassis comes in Ivory Gray color and bearing a weight of 9.22 Kg.

Exterior

Let’s start by taking a look at the exterior of the chassis.

The MasterCase H500 ARGB comes with a mesh panel pre-installed. We can spot the two 200mm ARGB fans on the front, pre-installed. We have the same design legacy as we saw on the original H series chassis. Cooler Master’s brand logo is on the lower section. The mesh design seems dense. Please, note that the complete front panel can’t be taken out by simply pulling it off the chassis. There are 2x tabs or latches on each side of the panel. You would need to open the side panel and press those tabs/latches. This will release the panel and you can take it off. It is cumbersome as we need to open the side panel and access the opening mechanism from inside the chassis.

The above picture shows the dual option that has been given to the user. We have a mesh panel as well as a fully transparent panel. It is up to the user to select which panel to be used as per the requirement. I appreciate the flexibility offered by the Cooler Master.

Switching the panels is an easier task. There are 8x screws on the inner side of the mainframe. Take them off. Slide down the mesh panel a bit and then take it out. Place the transparent panel and secure it using the same 8x screws. This is vice versa. There is enough gap between the front-mounted fans and the front cover.

The above picture shows the front side with the transparent front cover made of plastic. The transparent front cover adds more to the aesthetics of the chassis in my opinion but it would restrict the airflow.

Taking the complete front panel off will showcase the 2x MF200R ARGB 200mm fans. These fans are rated for 800 RPM speed. In my personal experience, I did not feel any good amount of airflow by placing the hands behind these fans when they were spinning. There are small cutouts on the upper right side of each fan mount for cables passing. The ARGB LEDs are housed inside the center and the white translucent blades help in even diffusion giving a pleasing AURA of lighting effect.

Here are the cooling options for the front side:

  • Up to 3x 120mm fans
  • Up to 2x 140mm fans
  • Up to 2x 200mm fans (Mounting Hole spacing 154×154 with up to 30mm thickness)
  • 120 / 140 / 200 / 240 / 280/ 360mm Radiator

The I/O panel is located on the top in front of the case handle. It includes:

  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1x 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • 1x 3.5mm Mic Jack
  • 1x Power Button designed in a Cooler Master branding
  • 1x Reset Button
  • 1x LED Indicator

The reset button is not easy to use given its small size. I ended up using my finger’s nail to use this button as I was controlling the ARGB lighting using this button. This is something Cooler Master should address.

The side panel is made of tempered glass and finished in tinted black color. There is a fragile sticker on the bottom cautioning the user to hand the panel with care. The panel is flushing with chassis frame though it is thicker and a certain portion of it extrudes the frame. There is enough surface area on the front panel on both sides for ventilation. Cooler Master has retained the original design scheme here as well from the H series. There is a nice flow in the overall design symmetry.

There are two captive thumbscrews on the glass panel.

The good thing about the glass panel handling is that it will not fall down after releasing the thumbscrews. It will slightly open and remain there thanks to the mechanism provided at its base that prevents it from falling. The user should still exercise care while handling the glass panel.

The other side panel is made of steel and is solid finished. The ivory gray color is speaking for itself!

On the rear side of the chassis, we have a cutout for the motherboard’s IO shield. There is a perforated area on the right side of the IO cutout where a 120mm black color fan is pre-installed. Note that we can’t adjust the height of the rear fan and there is no mounting for a 140mm there. We have 7x PCIe slot covers. These are reusable and have perforation for ventilation. At the bottom, we have a standard ATX PSU mounting area. There is a thumbscrew on the top right side of the PSU mount. It is securing the PSU cover on the inner side of the chassis.

The top side of the chassis has a perforated area with mounting holes. There is a magnetic dust filter provided on the top for protection from the dust. The cooling options are:

  • Up to 2x 120mm fans
  • Up to 2x 140mm fans
  • 1x 200mm fan with a thickness of 25mm
  • 120 / 140 / 240mm Radiator

There is a handle provided near the front side of the chassis on the top for ease of carrying it. This also sits in well with the overall layout design and particularly helps with the shape of the sliding design on the top front which otherwise would have looked incomplete.

The bottom side of the chassis has two large feet on both ends which runs on the entire width of the chassis. They provide ample height to the chassis from the table surface. The PSU area is perforated for ventilation has a non-magnetic dust filter which is washable.

The area towards the front side on the bottom has a slide down design with mesh on the inner side. The complete front area has dust filtration.

Interior

It is time to take a look at the inside of the chassis.

The inner layout is spacious. The look and feel of the chassis are too good. We have a cable cover in this chassis as well. Cooler Master has retained this design element from the original H series. The MasterCase H500 ARGB supports motherboards up to the E-ATX size. Keep in mind that the E-ATX motherboard will cover the cutouts with rubber grommets on it. You will have to use the cutouts hidden under the cable cover. We have a removable PSU cover and an HDD cage. There is a certain gap (60mm) from the front rail to the motherboard tray. The user can install a thick radiator on the front. There is a large CPU cutout on the motherboard board tray. The good point is that the Cooler Master has pre-installed the 9 standoffs. There is a socket wrench for standoff removal/installation in the accessory bag. There is a displacement of 32mm approximately from the top of the motherboard to the top of the chassis. Similarly, there is a displacement of 58mm approximately from the side of the top-mounted AIO to the RAM.

We have 7x perforated PCIe slot covers which are reusable.

There is a single 120mm black color fan on the rear. It has a 3-pin power connector. The MF200R ARGB fans on the front also have 3-pin power connectors. The front fans are daisy-chained and there is a 3-pin header that will allow the user to connect all three fans of the chassis and control them from a single source. The user can install a 120mm radiator on the rear as well.

There is plastic made stylish PSU shroud/cover which has a cutout towards the motherboard side. This cutout does not have a rubber grommet. There are channels on the bottom and the on the motherboard tray where the PSU shroud’s hooks slide in. The cover is then secured using a thumbscrew (non-captive for obvious reason) on the rear side of the chassis. The total area under the PSU cover is roughly 240mm making it enough for the PSU and its cables. Up to 180mm wide PSU can be installed in the chassis.

There is a metallic HDD cage secured on the base of the chassis. There is a captive thumbscrew on the front side of the cage which is securing it. There is also another screw on the backside of the motherboard tray. You would need to remove both screws to take out the HDD cage. It has two caddies that are tool-less by design. The locking cover of the caddy has Cooler Master branding in the center. Press the latch of the cover and slide out the caddy. Install the drive and slide it back in with latch locking the cover to the cage.

The above picture shows both caddies out of the cage. Here are the mounting options:

  • Up to 2x 2.5” drives
  • Up to 2x 3.5” drives

You can install a total of 2x drives in the HDD cage using a combination of 2.5” and 3.5” drives.

The cable cover is fully metallic and is secured using 3x screws from the backside of the motherboard tray. The raised portion of the cover is facing the 24-pin ATX header of the motherboard. Each standoff has a label printing indicating its support for ITX, microATX, ATX mount.

A close up look at the backside of the Master Fan MF200R ARGB. We have fixed mounting holes on the front bracket for the installation of the cooling gear.

After removing the PSU cover and HDD cage, we can spot the front panel cables and accessories bag tucked. They were hidden under the PSU cover.

The above picture shows the complete inner layout with the PSU cover, HDD cage, and Cable Cover removed. Note the three cutouts that were previously hidden under the cable cover are now visible. Since they are not visible by design, there is no rubber grommet on them. The inner area has a height of 440mm and a length of 445mm approximately. A graphics card of length 410mm can be installed. CPU Cooler of 167mm height can be installed in the chassis.

The above is a skeleton look of the MasterCase H500 ARGB.

Let’s take a look at the backside of the chassis. We have 17x cable tie points on the backside. There are two mounting provisions for 2.5” drives on the backside of the motherboard tray. If you want to install the SSDs there then make sure to install the SSDs before the installation of the motherboard as SSDs are secured using screws from the other side of the tray. The front panel cables are neatly routed.

Notice the gap between the front bracket and the motherboard tray. It is roughly 60mm and it allows the user to install thick radiators on the front though doing that would reduce the permissible length of the graphics card. Also, notice the 3x screws below the cables. The bottom one is for the HDD cage whereas the two on the top are for the cable cover. One more screw for the cable cover is hidden below the cables.

Here is another view of the backside with cables routed through the CPU cutout. Notice the three small cutouts above on the rightmost side above the bottom. The user can route cables through them. These are the channels for the PSU cover. I have routed HD Audio, USB 2.0, and system panel cables through these cutouts and then installed the PSU cover.

We have roughly 30mm or so spacing for the cable management. We should not have any issue when it comes to handling the cables in the MasterCase H500 ARGB in my experience.

The IO Panel cables include:

  • USB 3.0 cable
  • USB 2.0 cable
  • HD Audio cable
  • Front Panel cables

There are 3-pin 5V lighting cables for ARGB devices. Two header cables are also provided. One is for the GIGABYTE motherboards whereas the other is for the rest of the manufacturers’ boards.

A black color 3-pin connector is there which is to be connected to the motherboard’s fan header. A white color 3-pin header is also provided. Optionally, the user can connect the rear fan’s 3-pin connector to this header and control the speed of all three fans from the single motherboard fan header.

The front-mounted MasterFan MF200R ARGB fans are daisy-chained.

Cooler Master has provided a controller hub with a simple interface to control the lighting effect on the MF200R ARGB fans. It is SATA powered. There is a button in the middle which toggles among the pre-defined lighting modes. It has a dimension of 53.5×20.9x12mm. the maximum output ampere is 3A.

There are two ports on one side of the hub. One is labeled as Power. The SATA cable is already connected to it. The other port is labeled as Switch.

Switch labeled is a 2-pin port. The user can connect the chassis Reset cable to this port and control the lighting of the fans using the Reset button on the IO panel. This is how I have controlled the lighting on MasterCase H500 ARGB.

The third port on the hub is labeled as ARGB and it is a 3-pin port. Connect your 3-pin lighting cable to this port.

Test Build

Following test build has been used:

  • Intel i9 9900k
  • Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming
  • DeepCool Assassin III
  • GSkill Aegis 16GB @ 2800MHz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 FE
  • Lexar 120GB SSD
  • Cooler Master MWE 650W Gold PSU

I started the build with the motherboard and RAM installation. It was super easy with no hurdle. Before installing the cooler I hooked up the EPS cable which otherwise would have become difficult with the air cooler. Since the PSU is fully modular there was no issue connecting the EPS connector to the PSU later on. Then the dual tower CPU air cooler was installed and the fans were connected to the CPU and CPU_OPT fan headers. The rear fan was connected to the Chassis Fan1 header. Then the PSU was installed.

The above picture shows the EPS cable connected to the motherboard. With a bulky air cooler, there is not enough space to connect this cable after the cooler’s installation so keep that in mind. With a liquid cooler or a single tower air cooler this is less of a consideration.

The graphics card was an easy go as well. The front IO panel’s cables were routed through the cutouts on the bottom of the motherboard tray. The USB 3.0 connector was passed through the cutout on the PSU cover.

The system panel cables were also routed through the cutouts. The above picture shows the layout. The PEF cable was passed through the PSU cover.

The above picture shows the rear side of the chassis after the installation.

There is ample room on the backside for cable management. I did not do any cable management just to show how easy it is to work around in MasterCase H500 ARGB chassis. The backside panel was easily installed.

Finally, the glass panel was put on and the test build was ready to fire up.

RGB Lighting

The small ARGB Controller is a mini-sized controller that allows Addressable RGB devices to be powered and controlled.​ The controller comes with 14 pre-defined lighting modes to make full use of the Addressable LEDs in the system and also allows to be completely switched off by long-pressing its button.​ It is also possible to attach any external 2pin button to it to be able to switch presets without having to open the system or attach the chassis Reset cable to it.

The presets are:

  • Power-off (long press 2 seconds)
  • Full Spectrum Rainbow
  • Multi color Breathing
  • Full Color Cycle
  • Multi Color Reload Effect
  • Multi Color Double Reload Effect
  • Cumulative Color Stack
  • Color Gradient Cycle
  • Red breathing light
  • Green breathing light
  • Blue breathing light
  • Yellow breathing light
  • Cyan breathing light
  • Purple breathing light
  • White breathing light

The Small ARGB Controller uses the standardized 3pin ARGB connector to allow full compatibility across devices and brands including ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, and ASRock.

 

Thermal Performance

I have used Far Cry 5 at 1080p using Ultra settings for gaming performance as the majority of the users would be gaming. The CPU was on stock settings with Asus Auto Enhancement disabled.

Temperatures are fine in this chassis. We did not observe any significant deviation between the Mesh cover and solid cover as it was 3°C which is still in the acceptable tolerance range. Though the difference between the solid cover and no cover at all was 4°C. The reference cooler on the graphics card is struggling.

Conclusion

Cooler Master is continuing the legacy of the original H series while retaining the same design elements but with fine refinement. We took a spin on their new MasterCase H500 ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis. The MasterCase H500 ARGB is made of Steel, Plastic, Mesh, and Tempered Glass. It has a dimension of 525L x 228W x 502H mm (Including panels). The chassis comes in Ivory Gray color and bearing a weight of 9.22 Kg. The salient features of the chassis are:

  • Dual front covers (Mesh/Transparent)
  • MF200R ARGB 200mm fans
  • Tempered Glass Side Panel
  • Metallic Cable Cover
  • PSU Cover
  • Lighting Control Hub
  • Motherboard support up to E-ATX size
  • Case Handle

The MasterCase H500 ARGB has the same design as the original H series with modifications on the front. We now have two 200mm ARGB fans on the front and the user can now switch the mesh cover with transparent cover (provided in the box) on the go as per the requirement. The E-ATX size motherboard is possible in the chassis. The chassis has support for standard ATX PSU and has a plastic made PSU cover for a clean look of the build.

Storage Options:

  • Up to 2x 2.5” drives on Motherboard tray’s backside
  • Up to 2x 3.5/2.5” drives in HDD Cage

Cooling Provision:

  • Up to 3x 120mm/140mm or 2x 200mm fans on the front [2x MF200R ARGB pre-installed]
  • 120/140/240/280/360mm radiator on the front
  • Up to 2x 120mm/140mm or 1x 200mm fan on the top
  • 120/240mm radiator on the top
  • 1x 120mm fan on the rear [black color fan pre-installed]
  • 1x 120mm radiator on the rear

As can be seen, we have ample cooling provision in the chassis. The maximum height for the CPU tower cooler is 167mm. The maximum length of the graphics card is 410mm. PSU up to 200mm length can be installed with an HDD cage. The PSU cover spans over the 240mm area.

Dust filtration is on the point here. The front panel has dust filtration. There is a magnetic dust filter on the top. The PSU area on the bottom has a non-magnetic dust filter as well. There is roughly 30mm or so spacing for the cable management. The glass panel does not come fall when two captive thumbscrews are removed. You should still exercise caution when handling the glass panel. The glass panel is tinted so some sort of lighting inside the chassis would help in showcasing the build.

I did not face any issue during assembling the test build. The ARGB lighting is one heck of a show on these MF200R ARGB fans and this AURA gives more glow and pleasing looks with the transparent cover on the front. The user has to decide between high airflow design and the aesthetically pleasing looks from the transparent cover on the front panel.

The Cooler Master MasterCase H500 ARGB is listed at PKR 22600 at the time of the review. The thermal performance is fine as well. The thermal difference between the mesh cover and the transparent cover is roughly 3°C which is manageable. My only complaint is the small size Reset button which is a bit recessed in its port. I ended up using my nail on the finger pressing this button. Other than that, this chassis is a solid proposition from the Cooler Master in this price range.

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