Cooler Master MasterBox 540 Review
Published: 14th May 2021 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: |
When we were reviewing this case, we were first informed by Cooler Master that the MasterBox 540 would cost £59.99 in the UK, and we based our early thoughts on this enclosure on the assumption that this price tag was correct. Sadly, we were misinformed. The MasterBox 540 costs £109.99 in the UK.
For £59.99, our conclusion would have been that the MasterBox 540 is a pretty case with a design flaw. The ARGB lighting on this enclosure looks fantastic, but the restrictive design of the MasterBox 540's front panel comprises performance enough to make this case difficult to recommend. With Cooler Master's £109.99 price tag, the MasterBox 540 moves from being a pretty case with sub-standard airflow to being a case that we would tell our readers to avoid at all costs. For £109.99, you can buy cases that are better than this.
Airflow-wise, the front panel design of the MasterBox 540 is suffocating. Adding more fans improves matters, but it doesn't do enough to keep fresh air running through our test system. If we are honest, we have no idea how this design passed Cooler Master's quality control mechanisms, as while this design looks great visually, it does do by sacrificing airflow and cooling performance. For a £109.99 case, this is not a good move.
If there was one thought that we have about this case, it's that this design is crying out for a redesign. The Masterbox 540 need a variant with a mesh front. or a variant where the enclosure's front panel is redesigned to give its fans more breathing space. Airflow is so restricted in this case that adding front fans creates suction noise at the base of the enclosure, as that is where most of the MasterBox 540 comes from. This case is not a MasterBox; it is a HotBox.
At stock, this case's thermals are bad. After our initial testing, we added more fans, and it barely helped. Removing the MasterBox 540's front panel yielded a 9-degree drop in GPU temperatures and a 3-degree drop in CPU thermals. Those are big shifts, and a clear design that airflow was compromised to achieve the MasterBox 540's RGB aesthetic.
If this case was £59.99, it would be an incredible case at its core with a compromised front panel. The case has great RGB lighting; it has room for plenty of fans, liquid cooling radiators, and 2.5-inch SSDs. Cables are easy to manage; the case has a strong front I/O with USB 3.2 connectivity and enough space to accommodate some EATX mainboards. That said, this is all for nought because of this case's airflow problems.
As it stands, we cannot give this case an award. It doesn't deserve one. This case needs to be redesigned with even minor airflow in mind, as aesthetics are meaningless when cooling is compromised to this extent. This case needs a 540 Mesh variant; it's as simple as that.
What Cooler Master has here is a case with a strong core design and a botch external design. With the front panel being so easily switched, there is no reason why Cooler Master cannot address this case's airflow issues with a new revision. We know that Cooler Master can do better than this.
The fact there are all these bad points, and now it turns out that it's a £110 case amazes us. There are so many cases out there that do a better job of pretty much everything. Those front panel RGB's are not worthy of all of these compromises.
Anyways, it's annoying us typing about this now; what's even worse is the efforts we went to with it thinking it was £60, and there must be something good about it. Nope, we wasted our time. Don't waste yours.