Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review

Up Close - Smart Design and Modular features

Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review

Up Close - Smart Design and Modular features

Cooler Master's MasterBox Q500L is an enclosure that has no right being this versatile. The MATX Q300L already uses the same core design, and it was already considered a compact chassis. Now, somehow, Cooler Master has managed to fit a full ATX system into the same space, and surprisingly the case doesn't suffer from many major downsides because of it.
   

Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  

Cooler Master Designed the Q500M with modularity in mind, and looking at the case's right side panel; we can see that the enclosure's side panel retention screws are designed to act as feet, just in case the user wants to place the chassis on its side. 

Users of this case also have the option to move the Q500L's windowed side panel (and I/O panel) to the other side of the enclosure, but without a full case inversion, users of the chassis will only be able to see their cable management through the acrylic window. 


Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  

And now for the clever bits, the aspects of Cooler Master's design that are so genius that we are surprised that other manufacturers have not thought of it before. 

If you looked at the Q500L and thought "those magnetic dust filters are gonna become misaligned every time I tough the case," you're in luck because Cooler Master has already thought of a solution to this issue.  

In the picture below you will see two removable rubber pads, which acts as centring anchors for Cooler Master's magnetic dust filters, enabling the dust filter to be centred at all times. These pads are on the top and front of the Q500L by default and are removable, which allows users of the case to customise the Q500L to their liking with ease. 


Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  
At the base of the Q500L we also found that the enclosure's feet and dust filter were also removable, a feature which enables the case to be inverted within minutes and without any tools. This is great news for users fo left-handed PC setups (where the PC sits at the left of its user) and delivers users a neat customisation option. 

Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  

The only major sacrifice that the Q500L makes is its choice in PSU mounting location, which is at the front of the chassis, which forces Cooler Master to route power into the enclosure using a 3-pin PSU extension cable. This is what enables the Q500L to offer such a compact form factor, though the size of your power supply may limit your hardware options. That said, this limiting factor was not as troublesome as we first thought. 

Fan-wise, the Q500L only ships with a single 120mm fan, which sits at the rear of the enclosure. Users of this enclosure will need to purchase additional fans or recycle fans from older PC builds, depending on their budget, situation, and cooling requirements.  


Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  

When building inside the Q500L, we found that we were not very limited in terms of space, easily fitting in a large air cooler and a GTX 980 Ti graphics card. Please note that our system's power supply does not need to sit this low, with higher mounting positions creating more space for longer graphics cards if required. Most modern graphics cards are similar in length or shorter than standard ATX motherboard widths, so we do not expect most gamers to be specially restricted by this enclosure. Even so, most users of extra long high-end graphics cards are unlikely to be using a £50 enclosure, which is another factor to consider. 

Given the square nature of the Q500L, it is worth noting that the side-mounted I/O panel of the case can be oriented on any side of the windowed side panel, at the top, front, bottom or rear of the case. This will allow users to position the start/reset buttons in locations that best suit their needs, which is great news for most PC builders. 


Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review
  
Placing your PSU at the top or bottom of the Q500L is a matter of user preference, with the image below showcasing a bottom-mounted configuration. With this setup, we can place a 120mm or 140mm fan at the front of the chassis and direct cool air at our CPU heatsink. Had we used a top-mounted PSU setup, a front mounted 120/140mm fan would have its air directed at the user's graphics card or other PCIe add-in cards. 

Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  

Behind the Q500L's motherboard tray, we had enough space to mount two 2.5-inch SSDs and a single 3.5-inch mechanical hard drive, though we could have mounted two 3.5-inch HDDs or four 2.5-inch SSDs if we wished. This should offer most PC builders ample room for their chosen storage configuration, especially if they plan on using M.2-based SSDs. 

The Q500L has ample space for cable management, requiring little effort to get your system up an running quickly, that said, the extra effort that's needed to tie down and properly manage your cables is worth it. In this case, we opted to build our system quickly, just to see if our lack of efforts resulted in a "cable bulge" in the Q500L's side panel. Don't worry; this case had enough space behind the motherboard to avoid that particular issue. 


Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L Review  

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Most Recent Comments

02-04-2019, 09:07:25

Dark NighT
Gotta say this is a really nice little box especially for the price!


The only thing i personally would have liked to see was more holes in the panels so the fans can draw in more air.Quote

02-04-2019, 09:22:41

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark NighT View Post
Gotta say this is a really nice little box especially for the price!


The only thing i personally would have liked to see was more holes in the panels so the fans can draw in more air.
As its quite a basic design bigger holes may end up meaning the case flexes more....Quote

02-04-2019, 09:52:40

Dark NighT
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
As its quite a basic design bigger holes may end up meaning the case flexes more....

Fair point guv!Quote

02-04-2019, 11:01:22

Bagpuss
Looks really interesting and then I saw the Clearance on the GPU with the PSU mounted in the video, 270mm, and thought that counts me out as I've just bought a new EVGA 2080 and I don't like AIO coolers and would definately want a fan drawing in air onto the CPU. So just out of interest I looked up the measurements for it on the EVGA website and would you believe...269.2mm! talk about lucky.
So its back in the running for my new SFF (ish) build as this looks really good value & versatile.Quote

03-04-2019, 01:19:41

Peace
Rally nice case and nice review! I love the customizability on this, while being cheap although not looking cheap!
Definitely on my wishlist for my next build!Quote
Reply
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