CoolerMaster MasterCase Pro3 Review
Published: 9th November 2016 | Source: CoolerMaster | Price: £89.99 |
The M-ATX based CoolerMaster MasterCase Pro3 might not be that much smaller than the full fall ATX versions that make up the MasterCase5 series, but then neither has it had to sacrifice many of the features we loved about the 5 series. For starters, it shares the same aesthetic, an aesthetic which somehow walks that difficult line between simple elegance and high airflow. Build quality is also apparent, with us not being able to find a single issue either with the case or any of the accessories. The case might be M-ATX, but it will still take CPU coolers up to 190mm in height, GPUs up to 370mm long and PSUs up to 200mm, which isn't bad at all. Cooling wise there's room in the front for a pair of either 120mm or 140mm fans, with a 140mm unit coming as standard. Up in the roof, it's the same story, with room for up to two 120mm or 140mm fans. At the rear of the case CoolerMaster have included a 140mm fan but there are slotted mounts for both 120mm and 140mm units. The main attraction of the Pro 3 though is it's capacious appetite when it comes to water cooling. The front of the case is able to house a 240mm or 280mm rad, and with one set of fans mounted exterior to the bracket, there's room inside for a rad/fan combination up to 57mm in thickness. Remove the false floor, or get the dremel out and mod it, and you'll be able to extend that measurement up to a very respectable 100mm. On it's own, that would be a highly respectable water cooling offering, but the story doesn't end there. You see CoolerMaster have also fitted a bracket into the sloping roof of the case which enables the mounting of 240mm rads and fans up to 65mm thick, which is plenty for any AIO on the market, as well as a good many stand alone radiators.
As with other cases in the MasterCase line, the Pro3 can be modded by means of the purchase and use of various add-ons and accessories from CoolerMaster. One such accessory, and one we were sent by the supplier for the review, is the full size tempered glass side panel. Personally, we think it totally changes the look of the case with the additional expense being reflected in the superior aesthetic. Well we say Additional expense, but in truth we have no real idea at all how much the panels retail for in the UK as we've been unable to find one for sale anywhere other than CoolerMaster's own EU store which gives the price as 49 Euros. Now if you cast your memories back you'll remember that we were somewhat critical of CoolerMaster when they released the original MasterCase5, as they made a big deal of how you could add accessories to it, without actually making any of these accessories widely available or indeed cost effective. While it's still the case that you can add to this case with any of the accessories which we are sure are going to be (ahem) imminently released, we're not totally sure you'll need to as the Pro3 stands up well on it's own as it is. OK, so depending on price you may wish to add the tempered glass panel, but being as the panel that comes with is already pretty huge you may well feel that it's plenty.
So are there any negative points to the Pro3? Well aside from the dearth of widely available accessories, not really. The only real issue we can see is that for an M-ATX based system, it is, well, rather large. Let's put it this way, the Pro3 only 43mm shorter in height, and 45mm smaller in depth than the full fat ATX Pro5 case. Or to look at it another way, it's 67mm longer, 2.5mm wider, and 60mm taller than the Full size ATX board accommodating Fractal design Define C Compact case that We looked at just last week, with the define also being £6 cheaper. All of which leaves us struggling to see where the Pro3 will find its home in the sales register. OK, so if you've already got a good M-ATX board and are looking for a stylish new home for it then all well and good, but don't people who buy smaller motherboards do so because they're looking to build a smaller enclosure? If however you're looking at a fresh build and are of on a shopping spree, and love the looks and features of the MasterCase series we're hard pushed to see why you would favour the MasterCase3 range over the MasterCase5 range. On the other hand, if CoolerMaster had made it physically smaller then most likely it would have lost some of the water cooling features with which it is blessed, so maybe it's right to have it the size it is....But then then you come back the fact that it's nearly the same size as the 5 series so why not just buy one of them...Aaaaargh. Now don't go thinking this is a criticism of the Pro3, it's not, it's a truly excellent case, it's just that it's not different enough from the 5 series to make much sense to us. But hey, we might be wrong, we might be missing something obvious, and if we are, we're sure you'll let us know.
It might be very similar to the MasterCase5 range but then they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so with that in mind we have no trouble at all in awarding it the OC3D approved award.