Cooler Master Unveils Unusually Compact ATX Case

Cooler Master today launched its latest MasterBox full-ATX model, the Q500L, in an unusually compact design. This was accomplished through the rarely used method of putting the power supply in front and running an internal extension cable to it. Supporting everything from ATX to Mini-ITX boards, Cooler Master claims that the latter will allow users to reposition the power supply to the rear panel, if they’d like.

None of the photos provided with today's announcement show where the power cord would exit the Q500L if the power supply is repositioned to its bottom, but we need not doubt the veracity of the firm’s claim, since the case’s internal extension cable can be re-positioned.

Moreover, the design seems better suited for people hoping to find space for a larger motherboard within a mini-tower height. According to Cooler Master, the PC case measures 386 x 230 x 381mm (LxWxH), but builders hoping to put this into a tight desk cabinet should be wary, as such vendor specs rarely account for the protruding thumb screws.

Another rare feature is that you can put the movable port panel at the front or bottom edge of either side. Right-side options aren’t so grand, however, as only the glass panel is notched for it. Swapping the glass (left) and steel (right) panel means that the glass will show the back of the motherboard tray rather than internal components.

Cooler Master suggests that the rubber screws for the right-side steel panel can be used as feet for those who want a horizontal case, but it didn't offer any suggestion for hiding that the bottom panel is designed to look like a bottom panel (and not a side panel). If aesthetics drives you to consider only using the case upright, you’ll be happy to know that a pair of 120mm fan mounts on the bottom could be used to complete the updraft cooling configuration. The top panel adds 2x 140mm radiator support, but radiator space overlaps the top edge of the motherboard to limit onboard component height to a max of 35mm, Cooler Master said. We’ll assume that “max” means with a 120x240mm radiator installed.

Power supply clearance is rated at 180mm, but there appears to be far more if your cards don’t get in the way. Graphics card clearance is rated at 360mm, but that drops to 270mm if the power supply is longer than 260mm. Some of that will depend on how high your graphics card slot is on the board, since most boards have that slot in the case’s second position from the top. But high-end builders will need to carefully consider which component can be downsized most effectively. With that precaution out of the way, builders seeking a small case to support mid-sized components have found a match. 

The Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L will be available beginning at the end of April starting at £49.99 (~$56).

Photo Credit: Cooler Master

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.