Test Results And Conclusion
With an extra-transparent window and a classic matte finish, the MasterBox 5 certainly looks better than its $70 price when loaded with relatively high-end components. Let’s see how it compares to a few other cases!
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the MasterBox 5 is both bigger (EATX) and smaller (standard mid-tower) than most of the cases with which it’s being compared. The second thing you’ll likely notice is that it’s half the price.
*Shared on 3.5" tray **w/o Center Cage ***By 5.25" Adapter Tray ^Slot 1-4
Most alarmingly, the Prism and Pandora ATX use materials and construction similar to those of the MasterBox 5, even while being twice as pricey, and one of the two comparison cases even has a cheap-looking cloudy window. Extra features have given these manufacturers a reason to charge more for similar metal, but twice as much?
Test System Components
Test System Configuration
|Test Hardware Configuration|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-5930K (Haswell-E): 3.50 GHz, Six Cores O/C to 4.20 GHz (42x 100 MHz) at 1.20 V Core|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||MSI X99S Gaming 7: LGA 2011, Intel X99, Firmware 17.8 (02/10/2015)|
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix Sport BLS2K8G4D240FSA 16 GB (4x 4 GB) DDR4-2400 Benchmarked at XMP CAS 16 defaults (1.20V)|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GV-N970G1 GAMING-4GD: GeForce GTX970 1178-1329 MHz GPU, GDDR5-7012, Maximum Fan for Thermal Tests|
|Hard Drives||Crucial MX200 CT500MX200SSD1 500GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||be quiet! Dark Power PRO 10 BN603 850W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92, 80 PLUS Platinum|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 347.52|
|Chipset||Intel INF 126.96.36.1999|
|Prime95 v27.9||64-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 threads|
|3DMark 11||Version: 188.8.131.52, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped|
|Real Temp 3.40||Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load|
|Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter||Tested at 1/2 m, corrected to 1 m (-6 dB), dBA weighting|
What’s missing from this review is a comparison to two older $70 models that might give the MasterBox 5 a fight in value. Those were tested over a two-hour warm-up period, which has since been extended to four hours after finding that some (fewer than half) cases require more than two hours to reach a stable thermal reading. We’ll still keep those in mind for the discussion at the end of the review.
We continue to use our standardized case testing configuration from over a year ago to generate comparable performance data over the course of many reviews. Noise is measured .5m from the case's front corner, on the side that opens. The numbers are corrected to the 1m industry standard -- used by many loudspeaker and fan manufacturers -- by subtracting six decibels.
You don’t see it in the charts, but the top of the MasterBox 5 got very warm during its thermal test. The rear fan still pulled air past the CPU fast enough to keep temperatures slightly below those of two competitors, however.
MasterBox 5 noise levels are par for the course when compared to similarly built cases, apart from the faster fan setting of Riotoro’s Prism CR1280.
Very slight improvements in cooling and noise combine in a comparison of cooling to noise, putting the MasterBox 5 ahead of the pack.
It’s not really fair to do a performance-per-dollar comparison between cases that have added features and those that don’t, since most features don’t affect performance. A better comparison would be Fractal Design’s Define S, which includes added features such as a sound damping mat and top-panel radiator mount but does not cost more. Using the older (more manufacturer-friendly) test data, it would have trailed the MasterBox 5 in both performance and value by only 6%.
And the other competitor we mentioned? Antec’s P70 was both hotter and noisier than any of the aforementioned cases, even while using the shorter test period, and has since been discontinued.
All of these tests and observations push us towards a single conclusion: Buyers who need no more features than what the MasterBox 5 includes can find excellent value in purchasing it. That $70 price is just too hard to pass up at its moderate quality and performance.
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