At CES last month, Cooler Master unveiled to the world its line-up of cases for 2017, with the star of the show no doubt being the MasterCase Pro 6. A release date of around late March at the earliest was mooted, but that date has been fast-tracked…and we have one in the flesh, right here to test.
The MasterCase 5 series was critically acclaimed for its huge range of customisation options thanks to its FreeForm Modular System feature, allowing the user to tweak the case with a wealth of optional parts that could be located in numerous locations throughout the chassis.
With the launch of the MasterCase Pro 6, Cooler Master are promising that many of the FreeForm accessories already on the market are compatible, and therefore any previous purchases won’t go to waste and can be slotted straight into the Pro 6.
|Product Name||MasterCase Pro 6|
|Model Number||Blue LED version: MCY-C6P2-KW5N
Red LED version: MCY-C6P2-KW5N-01
|Available Color||Dark metallic grey exterior with black interior|
|Materials||Steel body, Plastic panels|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||544 x 235 x 548mm|
|Net Weight||11.74 Kg|
|Motherboard Support||ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Combo 3.5″ / 2.5″||5|
|Electronics||I/O Panel||USB 3.0 x 2
Audio in / out
|Pre-installed Fan(s)||Front||140mm x 2|
|Rear||140mm Blue / Red LED Fan x 1|
|Fan Support||Front||120mm x 3 / 140mm x 3|
|Rear||120mm x 1 / 140mm x 1|
|Top||120mm x 2 / 140mm x 2|
|Liquid Cooling Support||Front||240 / 280mm|
|Rear||120 / 140mm|
|Top||240mm / 280mm (max. 297mm radiator length)|
|Clearance||CPU Cooler||190mm / 7.48″|
|PSU||200mm / 7.87″|
|Graphics Card||412mm / 16.22″ (without 3.5″ HDD cage)
296mm / 11.7″ (with 3.5″ HDD cage)
|Cable Routing||Behind Motherboard Tray||25mm – 35mm|
|Dust Filters||Front, bottom|
|Power Supply||Bottom mount, ATX|
|Extra features||Side Window Panel
Front bottom Blue or Red LED Strip x 1
Closer Look – Exterior
Right from the off, the Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 6 promises to be something a little different. A full-colour outer box again protects the chassis, which is a nice change from the usual bland, brown cardboard with black text. Upon opening the box, we see that the unusual approach continues, and removing the chassis is achieved by lifting the whole unit out with the help of a huge canvas bag. Inside this, the MasterCase Pro 6 is clad in very substantial gray polystyrene, and then in a further bag.
At first glance, the Pro 6 is a little more reserved in appearance than its predecessor. Gone is the angular approach to the roof and front I/O panel, and we are greeted with something a lot sleeker in appearance.
Dominating the front side of the Pro 6 is a huge acrylic side panel, which I have to be honest and say was a little bit of a let-down, as I had heard that the Pro 6 would ship with tempered glass as standard. However, the window is huge, and features the darker glazed lower portion, as per the Pro 5, so I’m assuming it’s the same panel.
The front panel is completely free of any detail, save for an embossed Cooler Master badge affixed towards the base. The sleek, angular dimensions do give the MasterCase Pro 6 a very dominating look though I have to say, and I really like its clean lines. The rear side panel is even more sparse of features and is just a solid steel surface.
Around the back, we find the usual rear access features, but the MasterCase Pro 6 features a removable magnetic cover, helping to hide away the cables from the rear I/O whilst also adding to the cases symmetrical look.
Further enhancing the Pro 6 sleek look is the roof panel. Again, it appears to be devoid of any features, with the front I/O panel hidden away behind a magnetically latched flap. Once lifted, access is gained to an illuminated power button, audio & mic jacks positioned centrally, flanked by twin USB 3.0 ports, and finally, HDD led and reset button at the outer edges. All fairly standard, but for a premium case I would have expected four USB ports if I’m being honest.
Flipping the case over to take a look at the underside is no mean feat, as the MasterCase Pro 6 weighs in at 11.6 kilos, and due to its dimensions, it’s not easy to man handle.
Looking at the underside we can see that the whole case is lifted off the ground with the help of two huge feet, which span the whole width of the case. Wedged under the rear foot is a fairly substantial PSU filter, which is removed backward from the rear of the case.
Closer Look – Interior
Removing the front and roof panels is a two stage process. Thanks to spring loaded, magnetic mounts, each of these panels can be raised up, in order to increase airflow if your system is getting toasty. Whilst this may well increase noise leakage from the system, this is an ingenious feature. Once in the raised position, the panels then pop off from the magnetic mounting points.
The front panel swings forward on extended hooks to the base of the panel, prior to full removal. This allows access to the two 5.25” drive bays located at the front.
Upon full removal of the front panel, we gain access to the front dust filter, and behind this the two 140mm fans that come pre-installed.
Removing the side panels is also blissfully straight forward. Remove the captive thumb screws at the rear (all cases should have this feature), and the side panel slides effortlessly backward a couple of inches. Thanks to the rails the side panels sit on, they open slightly but stay in place before you lift them out. This works the same as on the MasterCase 5, and I’m glad that Cooler Master hasn’t changed this feature, as it just worked perfectly fine as it is.
With the side panel removed, we get our first look at the interior main chamber. To the right-hand side, you get a dual 5.25” drive bay cage and a tool-less HDD caddy with space for 3 drives. In the basement, we can see a further HDD caddy for a further two 3.5” hard drives. To the left we have a 140mm pre-installed LED exhaust fan, and two SSD mounts sitting on top of the PSU chamber divider.
Spinning the MasterCase Pro 6 around to take a look at the rear of the motherboard tray, and I have high hopes for some excellent cable management when it’s time for the build. The rear is extremely uncluttered, with the front I/O cables sat within a deep channel and retained by pre-installed cable ties. With the bottom drive caddy pushed all the way to the front of the chassis, the amount of space available for the PSU looks cavernous.
Removing the roof panel is identical as the front panel, as it’s held using the same spring-loaded, magnetic catches. Once removed, we have access to the pre-installed fan/radiator mounting bracket that sits above the main chassis frame. This bracket is available as an optional extra, so it’s nice to see that you get this included in the price of the MasterCase Pro 6. Held in place with thumbscrews, the mount just lifts off when installing your fans and/or radiator.
With all the outer panels removed, it’s clear to see that the possibilities for customisation are endless! Throughout the skeleton of the MasterCase Pro 6, there are various thumb screw mounting points, allowing you to re-locate the modules included, or even adding more to suit your requirements.
Closer Look – The Build
- CPU – Intel Core i7 6700k
- Motherboard – Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
- Cooler – Fractal Design Kelvin S24 CPU Water Cooler
- GPU – Asus ROG Radeon RX460 Strix
- RAM – Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB DDR4 3000MHz
- SSD – Crucial MX300 525GB
- PSU – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 1000w
Not that I had any doubts anyway, but the Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 6 was an absolute dream to build in. For the purposes of this test build, I decided to remove the optical drive and hard drive caddies that were pre-installed into the main chamber. This replicates how I would set up the interior of my rig, as I prefer the wide open expanse of the main chamber, rather than clutter it with cages I would have no use for.
Fitting the all-in-one CPU cooler into the roof mounted bracket couldn’t have been simpler, as I could just remove it whilst I screwed down the motherboard, then re-fit it afterwards.
The space afforded to you in the basement for the excess PSU cables is extremely generous, and even without taking any real time to make the cable look tidy, they all tucked inside without any issue. In fact, the same applies to the cables management behind the motherboard. Every access point just seemed to be in a perfect position when routing the cables through to the front side, and thanks to the deep channel, fixing the cables in a neat fashion was child’s play.
The SSD brackets that come situated in the main chamber, on top of the PSU divider, can also be re-located around the back of the motherboard tray if you so wish. However, I decided to leave them where they were, as the access points for the SATA cables were again perfectly positioned, and gave a very tidy look.
The glow from the front mounted LED strip at the base of the MasterCase Pro 6 is quite subtle once all the panels were re-fitted, and the same can be said for the LED’s on the exhaust fan also.
The final act of the build was to re-fit the windowed side panel, and proceed to peel off the protective cover from the acrylic side window, which never tires of being perhaps the most satisfying element of the whole project!
Given my job of reviewing a number of PC cases on a regular basis, I can be forgiven for taking some of these test builds for granted. Stepping back and taking a look at the finished MasterCase Pro 6 though, this isn’t one of those occasions…it is an extremely good looking system.
The dimensions of the case are pretty substantial, and it is one of the larger mid-tower cases, but the clean lines and symmetry of design means that it still looks striking, without it being too overbearing.
Let’s get the awards sorted straight away, shall we? It gets the Play3r Platinum Award, as well as the Design Award.
It’s built to a really high standard, using good quality materials, and the level of design that’s gone into it to make it so modular is second to none. To top it off, it looks stunning too. The fact that you can add & remove so many modules to make your MasterCase Pro 6 perfectly bespoke to your needs is quite frankly, genius!
It’s true that the MasterCase Pro 6 shares a lot of the design elements with the Pro 5. If you already have the Pro 5, there’s nothing additionally ground breaking that would probably entice you to upgrade to this…but the Pro 6 looks better, and if you wanted to get into the MasterCase series before, but have yet to buy, then go for the Pro 6.
It also doesn’t cost the earth either. At the time of writing this review, Cooler Master advised that the RRP will be £139.99 here in the UK. Whilst I agree that is still a big chunk of cash, there are quite frankly inferior cases that cost more than that. For what you get bundled already with the Pro 6, at that price I think Cooler Master have a real winner on their hands.
The only downside is that the panels are quite easy to mark up. Whilst the majority of the fingerprints & smudges from handling cleaned off eventually, there is a mark that just won’t budge.
The bright lights of the photography rig do extenuate this to a certain extent, and it will be interesting to see how the MasterCase Pro 6 stands the test of time when in use over an extended period…. but I will find out! That’s because I am so impressed with Cooler Master’s latest offering, that this is going to be the new home of my everyday system.
The exterior look of the MasterCase Pro 6 will be enough for most buyers to pull the trigger on purchasing this, but the flexibility it also offers due to its FreeForm Modular System means you can adapt it whenever your needs change…and that’s the whole point here. Cooler Master was aiming for this… a case where one-size really can fit all, whatever the needs of the buyer. What more could you want?
Well…actually…I want the tempered glass side panel!
Massive thanks to Cooler Master for sending the MasterCase Pro 6 in for review.
- FreeForm Modular System offers unrivaled flexibility
- New subtle & sleek design looks fantastic
- Adaptive air vents
- High-quality materials
- Only 2 front USB headers
- Side panel marked up easily