Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

The Build - Inside the Cooler Master HAF 500

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

Cooler Master's HAF 500 PC Case

Today we are looking at the white version of Cooler Master's HAF 500 PC case, which features a mostly white/grey colour scheme and RGB lighting in the form of the enclosure's front mounted 200mm fans and rear-mounted 120mm fan. The good news for white case enthusiasts is that Cooler Master has given these fans white shrouds, allowing these fans to blend in nicely with the HAF 500's other white elements.

As you can see, the HAF 500 features an all-mesh front panel, with this HAF 500 offering no front glass panel to uses. This is good news for PC builders, as these front glass panels harmed the airflow of prior HAF series cases, removing the HAF series' High Air Flow design intention. That said, below we will show you a new problem that Cooler Master has given themselves.  

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

On the left side of the HAF 500 is a tempered glass side panel with a grey surround, giving this case an almost Corsair-like colour scheme. We like it, as white/black would present an overly stark contrast with this case design, taking away this enclosure's understated look.

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

At the top of the HAF 500 is ample room for liquid cooling radiators that are up to 360mm or 280mm in size. These radiator mounts are offset, but that does not mean that there isn't enough room under this plate for a radiator before reaching this case's motherboard area. This case has plenty of space for a tom-mounted radiator. 

Typically, this top plate is covered by a grey dust filter, which can be seen on other pictures of this chassis. I/O-wise, we can also see two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB Type-C port (20 Gbps). We also see a standard audio in/out jack.  

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

200mm design flaw...

 If you look at the HAF 500's 200mm fans, you will see that behind them is a big chunk of unventilated metal. Yes, Cooler Master has blocked the HAF 500's 200mm fans with a 360mm radiator mount, compromising this case's ability to deliver the High Air Flow that we expected from a chassis with two 200mm fans. 

Honestly, we expect better from a HAF series chassis, with this 360mm/280mm radiator mounting plate being a removable add-on or (at a minimum) a better ventilated piece of metal. Some extra venting holes would have done wonders here. Cooler Master, why have you needlessly limited the airflow of this "High Air Flow" (HAF) case? If I were buying this case, the first thing I would do with it is take out my tools and cut some proper ventilation holes for this case's 200mm fans. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

The tempered glass window on Cooler Master's HAF 500 is easy to remove, being a screwless design that can be held in place with push pins. That said, users have the option to install a screw to better secure their tempered glass window should they wish to do so. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

At the rear of the HAF 500 is a panel designt that limits airflow to specific locations, our the case's PCI slot covers or though the case's 120mm fan mount. This helps to direct airflow out of the chassis in specific areas, and prevents dust from blogging into the case from other areas. This design helps to give the HAF 500 a clean aesthetic, and the case's use of black rivets deliver some nice contrast and showcase's the enclosure's construction.  

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

Inside the HAF 500 is plenty of space, both for top mounted radiators, liquid cooling components and large GPUs/motherboards. While EATX motherboards are supported by this motherboard, these motherboards may cover the HAF 500's cable management grommets, limiting your cable management options. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

 Here, we can see Cooler Master's 120mm GPU cooling fan, which can be used to direct airflow into the GPU area of the HAF 500, helping to reduce GPU thermals. This will work best for graphics cards that use Axial fans, unlike the blower-fan reference GTX 980 graphics card that we used for case testing. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

 At the rear of the HAF 500 we see plenty of space for cable management, a fan/ARGB LED hub and space for multiple 2.5-inch SSDs. With this case's steel side panel, HAF 500 users won't need to put in much effort to get tidy cable within the main (windowed) side of the case. That said, there are plenty of places for cable ties for those who want to manage their PC's cables properly. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

Below we can see that HAF 500's RGB/Fan hub, which can be used to control the HAF 500's lighting and fan speeds from a single place. Users of the HAF 500 can connect the hub to their reset switch for simple RGB lighting controls, or connect the hub to your PC for more in-depth lighting control through your PC's motherboard. Fan speeds can be controlled by connecting the hub to your PC using a 4-pin PWM fan header. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review

 Again, we can see below that Cooler Master has needlessly limited the airflow offered by their 200mm ARGB fans by mounting a unventilated steel plate behind most of its area. In doing so, Cooler Master has limited the potential of this case by reducing the usable area of their large fans. While front radiator support sounds good on a spec sheet, not being able to properly utilise the case's front-mounted 200mm fans is too much of a compromise to make for the same of 360mm radiator support. 

Cooler Master HAF 500 Case Review  

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Most Recent Comments

20-01-2022, 14:21:25

WYP
This case could have been soo much better. It's a real shame.Quote

20-01-2022, 15:50:46

Deadtroopers
The phrase you were looking for is 'HAF... Arsed'. There seems to be something in the Cooler Master house ethos to get to a plateau of goodness and then fall off the mountain altogether. Rubbish? Not HAF! How the hell can you name a case as Hgh Air Flow and NOT design it around the fans that make it so? How can you name a case HAF and fail to deliver the aesthetic associated with the name? It would serve them right if Thermaltake ripped this off... and did it properly!

As I wrote, this appears to be a brand defect. I'm just in to disassembling to re-orientate a C700M and noticing build & execution quality problems that are just... I was going to write juvenile; but they would put a youngster to shame. Some of that comes from tacking obvious-when-you-get-close plastic aesthetic pieces on a metal box skeleton. The execution of the aesthetics was much, much, better on the Cosmos II. Sloppy seems to be CM's middle name aesthetics-wise, and needlessly letting form get in the way of function.

This HAF 500 looks to be a nadir of inexcusable god-awfulness. The depths have been reached when I can suggest Thermaltake could do better. CM seem to have no long-term corporate memory of their own errors and no long-term awareness of the rest of the market, their mistakes, and recovering from those mistakes. Nevermind an inability to recognise reviewer's constructive criticisms; and nevermind take them on-board.

Perfect case for sticking a RTX 3080 12GB or RX 6500 XT in though. 'Be The Steaming Pile Of Odure You Dream You Are' seems to be the motto de jour. Quote
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