Test Results And Conclusion
The MasterCase Pro 3 has just enough standoffs to install a standard Micro ATX board, without the extra hole that’s present on some boards. There are also exactly enough screws to install only a single SSD, although Cooler Master was also kind enough to supply fan power adapters, fan mounting screws, a pair of 5.25" bay device tabs, and cable ties.
While it's designed for Micro ATX, the MasterCase Pro 3 has enough room for some ATX and even EATX motherboards. The power supply is offset just far enough to clear a PCIe slot, precluding the use of cable headers in this unsanctioned configuration.
Micro ATX boards fit without restriction.
The mid-tower size of Cooler Master’s MasterCase Pro 3 sets us up with an odd conundrum: Should we retest several of our ATX cases with a micro ATX board? Or, should we just compare the heat data using a different motherboard?
*Shared on 3.5" tray **w/o Center Cage ***By 5.25" Adapter Tray ^Slot 1-4
Test System Components
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 347.52|
|Chipset||Intel INF 22.214.171.1247|
|Prime95||v27.9, AVX FFT length 8K, continuous for at least 2 hours|
|RealTemp 3.70||Maximum Temperature, All Cores Averaged|
|Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter||Tested at ¼m, corrected to 1m (-12db), dB(A) weighting|
Because the Micro ATX MasterCase Pro 3 is large enough to hold an ATX board, we tested it both ways. Note that the Micro ATX motherboard had to be set to “Level 1” Loadline Calibration in order to reach similar levels of CPU power consumption. Far larger than a traditional Micro ATX case, here’s how the MasterCase Pro 3 compares to our most closely sized ATX review samples:
Even when consuming similar power, the X99M Killer produces less CPU heat than the X99S Gaming 7. It’s good that we tested the MasterCase Pro 3 both ways!
On the other hand, the MasterCase Pro 3 has a distinct cooling advantage even when paired with a larger motherboard than it was designed to support! CPU temperature is down slightly, and GPU temperature drastically, compared to similarly-sized ATX rivals.
That’s not to say that the MasterCase Pro 3 has superior overall performance, since extra holes reduce a case’s ability to stifle noise, while faster fans actively increase noise. Due to the high idle noise, it appears that case fans are responsible for the MasterCase Pro 3’s higher noise level.
An actual comparison if acoustic efficiency ditches any unmatched hardware, and shows that the MasterCase Pro 3 falls between the Pandora ATX and Z9 Neo in terms of cooling-to-noise ratio.
Putting aside additional features like carrying handles and modular functions, the MasterCase Pro 3 also falls in the middle of the raw performance-per-dollar chart. That leaves us with a simple question: Is this higher-model (within the realm of mainstream gaming cases) Micro ATX case really worth $30 more than a lower-model ATX rival?
Weight is usually an indication of a case’s sturdiness. Scrolling up, we can see that the value gaming ATX case is more than 25% lighter than the MasterCase Pro 3, so pound for pound you’re getting similar value. While non-structural components also add weight and can often negate such simplistic comparisons, we can confirm that major components of the MasterCase Pro 3, such as its side panels, feel as substantial as the weight implies.
Modular functions that ease the build process while supporting additional cooling components also add cost, and a $10 increase in manufacturing cost can easily transform into $30 by the time the product is marked up by both the brand its being produced for and the store that’s selling it. We don’t think that’s unfair or even unreasonable. Moreover, the MasterCase Pro 3 does a great job of pushing Micro ATX to the gaming forefront, giving big-liquid builders an alternative to the 23” ATX full towers. Given the case’s good quality, moderate price, and exceptional cooling performance, success on the design front must certainly be worth our stamp of approval.