Cooler Master MasterCase H500M Review: Expensive, but Excellent

Packed with premium features and top notch thermal and acoustic performance, there are a number of reasons to choose the Cooler Master MasterCase H500M. Its ability to accommodate a wide variety of system builds makes it easy to recommend to just about anyone, if they have the money. 

With so many companies vying for your hard earned money, it seems like there isn't a brand out there that doesn't have a premium chassis packed with all the bells and whistles, including tempered glass panels, addressable RGB lighting, USB Type-C ports and water cooling options galore. One such company competing for your attention is Cooler Master with the latest entry in its MasterCase line of chassis.  

At first glance, the MasterCase H500M ($199) looks very similar to the MasterCase H500P. But upon further inspection you will notice subtle design differences that set this chassis apart from Cooler Master's other mid-tower offerings. It's obvious that this design is aimed at gamers who want over-the-top looks and enthusiasts who want to showcase their system builds.

Specifications

TypeMid-Tower ATX
Motherboard SupportMini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX (E-ATX support up to 12 x 10.7 inches)
Dimensions (HxWxD)21.5 x 9.8 x 21.4 inches (546 x 248 x 544mm)
Space Above Motherboard1.5 + 1.5 inches (76.2mm)
Card Length16.2 inches (412mm)
CPU Cooler Height7.5 inches (190mm)
Power Supply FormatStandard ATX PS2-Style PSU
Weight31.1 lbs (14.1kg)
External Bays
Internal Bays2x 3.5 inches
6x 2.6 inches
Card Slots7 + 2 vertical
Ports/Jacks4x USB 3.0
1x USB Type-C (Gen 2), audio/mic jacks, RGB switch
OtherTempered-glass side panels, included RGB / fan controller
Front Fans2x 200mm ARGB fans
Rear Fans1x 140mm
Top Fans
Bottom Fans
Side Fans
Dampening
WarrantyOne year, limited

Exterior

This chassis is made of steel and plastic and is painted black (inside and out). It measures 546 x 248 x 544mm (LxWxH) and weighs just over 31lbs. A slightly modified version of the industrial crossbar design featured on the MasterCase H500 and H500P, the design is visually similar to Cougar’s Panzer line of cases. 

The top panel is made up of a large, slightly tinted tempered glass panel. Directly under this panel is an area with mounting locations for three 120mm or 140mm fans, or two 200mm fans.

The revamped structured bar design features large ventilation holes running along both sides of the front and top panels with dual-layer black metal mesh (a coarse perforated metal, backed by fine metal screening material) embedded in the frame. These air-intake vents provide a path for fresh air to be drawn into the chassis.

The area between the top panel and the front panel is slanted at a 45° angle. This area is home to four USB 3.0 and one USB 3.1 Type-C ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a hard drive activity LED and a reset and power button. The reset button can also be used to manually control RGB lighting functions. Note that if you plan on utilizing all four USB 3.0 ports, you will need a motherboard with dual 3.0 headers or a 20-pin splitter cable. 

In its default configuration the front fascia ships with a center panel made of the same dual-layer black metal mesh material embedded in the front and top panels. Cooler Master includes an optional tempered glass front panel for this chassis as well. Changing the center insert requires the removal of eight Phillips head screws and is a rather straightforward process. We conducted separate thermal and audio tests with each panel installed (page three).

Behind the mesh front panel you'll find two large 200mm RGB-lit fans. The design of the front panel requires removal of both tempered glass side panels to gain access to six clips (three on each side) holding the front in place.

The full-coverage tinted tempered glass side panels are held in place by a slotted-head cam latch mechanism in the middle of the upper edge. Turning the latch clockwise releases the panel from the frame. A metal edge along the panel's base does a great job holding the panel in place, helping to prevent the glass against accidental drops.

In the rear of the chassis, you'll find seven standard expansion-card slots (plus two vertical ones for video-card mounting), an opening for a bottom-mounted PSU and an exhaust-fan mounting location that supports both 120mm and 140mm fans. The exhaust-fan mounting location is equipped with slotted screw holes that allow you adjust the position of the fan to fine-tune airflow or make room for system components. There is a large plastic mesh filter covering the power-supply fan opening that is removable from the rear. The four large rectangle, rubber-coated feet keep the case just over .5 inches off the ground.

The fan-filtration system on the H500M is basic, but effective. The dual-layer black mesh we mentioned earlier filter the fan-mounting locations in the front and top of the chassis. Cleaning and maintenance is best done with the entire panel removed. A large, removable nylon filter covers the opening for the power-supply fan; you remove this filter from the case's rear. This, of course, requires moving your entire system to gain access.

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20 comments
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  • mlee 2500
    This grabbed my attention because it's good to see LARGE fans supplanting the trend of many smaller fans. Large fans can move more air at a lower rotational speed, which means they are MUCH quieter, and the sound they *do* make tends to be lower frequency and therefore less audible or annoying.

    One of the quietest workstations chassis I ever used was an old Sun Microsystems U20 case with a single 192mm exhaust fan in back. That 192mm fan drew it's air from a front panel which was so air permeable that it didn't even NEED or have front intake fans at all.

    I've wondered ever since why this wasn't more common or standard.
  • thrakazog
    Naming every case they make "H500xxx" should make it really easy to choose the right case............ .................. ...............
  • Phaaze88
    Really nice case, but I'd like to see a full tower version that can fit 2 200mm fans in front. Then I'd finally replace my Phantom 820...
  • karvega79
    I'm stuck between this case and the Evolv X.
  • pawinda
    In your pictures, you show a Corsair liquid cooler but your test config doesn't list it. Did you obtain the temperature readings with only the normal case air flow at stock configuration? I've avoided the 7900x because of your excellent paper on its thermal problems because of TIM vs STIM. But the readings in this review for thermal performance of the case with the 7900x are causing me to reconsider this CPU which would greatly help to resolve my PCIe lane requirements. Any further info on test config greatly appreciated.
  • btmedic04
    Nice review. Is that an HD 5870 on page 2, 4th picture from the top?
  • razorwindmo46
    Only half of a case review? Most reviews consist of the whole part, not just the outside.
  • Crashman
    158254 said:
    Only half of a case review? Most reviews consist of the whole part, not just the outside.
    You might need to look at page 2?
  • stevenlynch
    @PAWINDA / BTMEDIC04 Testing for fitment issues / hardware compatibility, we test each chassis with a number of different motherboards, coolers, PSUs, GPUs. If a company includes a feature like a GPU bracket, we use a card long enough to test it. When companies claims E-ATX support we check that as well etc. etc. and so on.

    When it comes to Thermal / Acoustic performance, we use the exact same set of hardware on every case to make sure our results are as consistant as possible.

    Thanks for the questions, I hope that helps!
  • pawinda
    I would really like to know if a liquid cooler was used during the thermal testing or are the pictures of it simply to illustrate installation options. Thanks.
  • pawinda
    Steven, on your review of the comparison case NZXT H700i you specifically cite a Cooler Master Hyper T4 air cooler as part of the test configuration. For the H500M there is no reference to any air or liquid cooler under the "Test Configuration" though there is reference to Arctic MX-4 TIM. Was a liquid or air cooler mounted to the X7900 during thermal testing? Thanks.
  • stevenlynch
    @PAWINDA, Hmmm, it seems as though the website is not displaying the list of system components correctly. We use a Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB for all of our testing on our new X7900 test platform. Thanks for the extra set of eyes, we will get that fixed ASAP!
  • pawinda
    Steven, thanks so much for the update. Greatly clarifies my plans for my next rig.
  • pawinda
    Steven, one more clarification. Your reply says ML240R but the corrected test config says ml360r. Which is correct? Thanks.
  • eye4bear
    Wow, this has got to be the most bug-ridden review I have ever seen on Tom's. Is there no review before these are posted?
  • pawinda
    Steven, was a Cooler Master Masterliquid ML240R or a Masterliquid ML360R used during the testing? Thanks.
  • pawinda
    Steven, just as a follow up, the Enermax Saberay RGB Case review from August 31, 2018, on Tom's Hardware lists the same Cooler Master Masterliquid ML360R in the 'Test Configuration' section.
  • stevenlynch
    It was probably just a glitch, it is displaying correctly now.
  • pawinda
    Steven, thanks for the clarification. Makes my build decisions easier. And thanks to Tom's Hardware for your concise and thorough analysis of the Core X's use of TIM and the thermal concerns it raises.
  • kay333lol
    thank you for sharing this review..my computer cooler just broke and i couldn't decided on which to buy but you made my choise easier..and i can start working on my projects with do your project here services