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Cooler Master Masterbox Q500L

Darksaber

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The Masterbox Q500L is a compact chassis that still allows for a full-size ATX board. However, that is not what makes it unique. That falls to how this case may be used as both a tower or desktop with the freedom to install fans or liquid cooling nearly anywhere and the ability to move the I/O panels around.

Show full review
 
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Buyer beware!
This case has extremely poor cooling capabilities, even tho the design is mostly mesh.
 
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Another glorified advertisement from Darksaber. Highly recommended award he says!

He also says "No issues with installing long GPUs or 120mm Tower Coolers" - Interesting, since Gamer's nexus quotes: "Our usual Corsair RM650X was too tall to clear the end of our GPU, so we were forced to use [an SFX PSU] - It would also be too tall, but the length is short enough that the whole PSU can sit above the GPU. Beware: long GPU coolers directly affect the PSU clearance in this enclosure, and Cooler Master recommends 140mm PSUs to maximize compatibility. "

"Built-In desktop mode" says Darksaber, but "It’d be a bad idea to use it as a monitor stand like the Taku, though, as the reversion to acrylic paneling means easy scratches." say GN.

"That said, Cooler Master has done well with the Masterbox Q500L between function, unique takes and features, with a fun and surprisingly capable and compact chassis as a result." says Darksaber. "The stock torture test was the worst for CPU temperature, with an average of 74.4 degrees Celsius over ambient under a torture workload. Remember, that’s over ambient -- in reality, the CPU hit 100 degrees at times and was forced to downclock, which is something we rarely see. " says GN.

And finally: "On the other hand, all the fiddliness of SFF builds--lack of clearance, cramped space for building, limited space for radiators, poor airflow--is present in this case. Its flexibility is its saving grace, because there’s always a chance that there’s some configuration we didn’t consider that would magically fix performance: as Cooler Master says themselves, “thermal performance is dependent on the build itself.” The vast majority of the time, it would make more sense to buy a cheap ATX case for an ATX system, or to buy a case this size for a SFF system. The case this size for a SFF system is called the Q300L, and it’s at least $10 cheaper, although we can’t speak to its performance.

It’s likely that users building in this case will consider a small PSU, GPU, CPU cooler, or some other concession to the limited size of the case. At that point, there should be some serious consideration of just building an actual SFF system. Especially with a mini-ITX motherboard, there’s no point at all to buy this instead of the Q300L. "
 
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@Darksaber
You gave Innovation and Highly Recommended awards to a case that is seriously flawed


I think it's about time that you start to do proper reviews, with thermal and acoustic tests.
As they are, your case "reviews" are nothing but a waste of your, and ours, time; and, eventually, misleading.
 
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I think it's about time that you start to do proper reviews, with thermal and acoustic tests.
I think we both (all) know that isn't happening, as it would require actually putting an effort.

As they are, your case "reviews" are nothing but a waste of your, and ours, time; and, eventually, misleading.
Yes, all case reviews on TPU are indeed glorified unboxings. However, to be fair, they aren't really a waste of our time, as we can simply not read any of them. I know I don't.
Sadly though, it doesn't change the fact that such "reviews" can indeed mislead people into buying inferior products thinking they are worthwhile. Maybe re-label reviews as "unboxing" or something like that, as a review implies some kind of empirical testing, whereas an unboxing does not.
 
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I think we both (all) know that isn't happening, as it would require actually putting an effort.


Yes, all case reviews on TPU are indeed glorified unboxings. However, to be fair, they aren't really a waste of our time, as we can simply not read any of them. I know I don't.
Sadly though, it doesn't change the fact that such "reviews" can indeed mislead people into buying inferior products thinking they are worthwhile. Maybe re-label them as "unboxing" or something like that, as a review implies some kind of empirical testing, whereas an unboxing does not.
Empirical testing like GN does, you mean?
 
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Empirical testing like GN does, you mean?
Yes. Like any self-respecting review site/blog/channel should be doing, when it comes to electronics and computer components.

A case review without any thermal and acoustic testing is like a graphics card review without any gaming benchmarks.
 
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actually the design has potential they just need to tweak the airflow, the mesh design
 
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actually the design has potential they just need to tweak the airflow, the mesh design
I don't think so. The reason they can make it this small and fit ATX is because they're putting the PSU where an oldschool ATX case would have put optical drives.

That means the PSU itself is blocking off a majority of the front intake.

You could have a perforated side panel above the CPU cooler, top exhausts, and bottom intake for a vertical airflow layout I guess, but that would only work if you used a downdraft CPU cooler, and most such coolers that are any good, would have clearancing issues on memory, the GPU backplate, the top fans etc. Also even if you did, the GPU would still recirculate air, as the downdraft cooler would blow some air down, against the flow of the case fans.

There's really not much you could do to save this case from itself unfortunately.
 
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Is it me or the PSU launch the hot air directly into the case? Might be why the thermals are poor.
 
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Where's the page with the thermals?
 
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Another glorified advertisement from Darksaber. Highly recommended award he says!

He also says "No issues with installing long GPUs or 120mm Tower Coolers" - Interesting, since Gamer's nexus quotes: "Our usual Corsair RM650X was too tall to clear the end of our GPU, so we were forced to use [an SFX PSU] - It would also be too tall, but the length is short enough that the whole PSU can sit above the GPU. Beware: long GPU coolers directly affect the PSU clearance in this enclosure, and Cooler Master recommends 140mm PSUs to maximize compatibility. "

"Built-In desktop mode" says Darksaber, but "It’d be a bad idea to use it as a monitor stand like the Taku, though, as the reversion to acrylic paneling means easy scratches." say GN.

"That said, Cooler Master has done well with the Masterbox Q500L between function, unique takes and features, with a fun and surprisingly capable and compact chassis as a result." says Darksaber. "The stock torture test was the worst for CPU temperature, with an average of 74.4 degrees Celsius over ambient under a torture workload. Remember, that’s over ambient -- in reality, the CPU hit 100 degrees at times and was forced to downclock, which is something we rarely see. " says GN.

And finally: "On the other hand, all the fiddliness of SFF builds--lack of clearance, cramped space for building, limited space for radiators, poor airflow--is present in this case. Its flexibility is its saving grace, because there’s always a chance that there’s some configuration we didn’t consider that would magically fix performance: as Cooler Master says themselves, “thermal performance is dependent on the build itself.” The vast majority of the time, it would make more sense to buy a cheap ATX case for an ATX system, or to buy a case this size for a SFF system. The case this size for a SFF system is called the Q300L, and it’s at least $10 cheaper, although we can’t speak to its performance.

It’s likely that users building in this case will consider a small PSU, GPU, CPU cooler, or some other concession to the limited size of the case. At that point, there should be some serious consideration of just building an actual SFF system. Especially with a mini-ITX motherboard, there’s no point at all to buy this instead of the Q300L. "
Dont forget GN reviewed the case stock. If you put proper fans in front and back it will have better airflow.
 
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Dont forget GN reviewed the case stock. If you put proper fans in front and back it will have better airflow.
From GN's review...
In fact, we did so many thermal tests that Patrick spent nearly a week longer on this case review than we’d typically spend. It’s worth it, though, because we really wanted to give the case a fair shot. We also retested our test bench in other cases we’ve previously reviewed, validating that its performance was unchanged and reliable.

Here’s a list of those tests.

  1. Torture, no front filter: exactly the same as the stock test with the case upright, with just the front magnetic filter removed. We would have removed the whole front panel, but it’s a riveted part of the case structure and there’s no other place to put the PSU, anyway.
  2. PSU moved +1 fan: Since we used an SFF power supply, we were able to flip it cable-end-up and install it on the bottom half of the front panel under the GPU and put the 120mm Noctua fan where the PSU had been. The front intake fan is therefore pointed at the CPU instead of the GPU. Case was upright.
  3. Upright +2 fans: Case upright and set up the same way as in the previous test, but with a 1500RPM NZXT Aer RGB120 directly under the GPU die, pulling air in and directing it into the GPU cooler.
  4. On side +2 fans: same as above but with the case on its side, since there’s barely any clearance for air intake from the bottom with the case upright.
  5. On side +2 fans, no filters: Same as above but with no front or bottom filter. The GPU temperatures had been much worse than we expected, and we suspected that the bottom filter was causing a bad airflow pattern.
  6. Better exhaust: same as the original stock test but with the stock fan swapped out for the Noctua one.
  7. Best-case: a last-ditch effort to make the case cool well. The setup is the same as “on side +2 fans, no filters,” but with an additional NZXT Aer RGB120 on the front panel pulling air in towards the GPU.
  8. Best-case, front exhaust: because the results still weren’t great, we did one final test with the front NZXT fan flipped around to exhaust out of the front panel.
 
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I enjoy HardwareCanucks case reviews, and they confirmed pretty much what GN stated in that this case is an oven:


It would be good if TPU did at least a small level of thermal testing - it doesn't have to be hugely comprehensive, but at least then it would eliminate "Highly Recommended" awards being awarded to obviously flawed case designs.
 
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Could you imagine the outrage if the GPU reviews were so half assed?
 
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Hi,
This case is interesting because you can put an atx motherboard in a small case format.
Do you know if there are similar and better solution to build an atx pc into a small case like this one?

Thanks
 
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Replaceced Define R4 for this case because define is huge and heavy to move around and this case is just perfect for me. Here are some pics. Thermals are same with all fans installed.
 

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Replaceced Define R4 for this case
The Fractal Define R4 is one of the best mid-tower cases ever built and put to sale.
To replace it for this... piece of metal is... well, let's stop my rant here.
 
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The Fractal Define R4 is one of the best mid-tower cases ever built and put to sale.
To replace it for this... piece of metal is... well, let's stop my rant here.
Yes it is... But it is very heavy , and huge... And I move a lot... And I really like innovation in Q500L. Full ATX MB in this small case... Fantastic. And it looks really good.
 
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Yes it is... But it is very heavy , and huge... And I move a lot... And I really like innovation in Q500L. Full ATX MB in this small case... Fantastic. And it looks really good.
Indeed. In this moment i have not found another alternative for a FULL ATX MB in a SMALL CASE like this.

I would have already bought this case were it not for the fact that I'm not sure where I can put the pump/reservoir combo.

@ivicagmc, please can you share a better picture of the inside case? and what is your vga? the space between the end of vga and the frontal panel is interesting, maybe there is the space for the pump.
Thanks in advanced for you assistance and feedback.
 
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Indeed. In this moment i have not found another alternative for a FULL ATX MB in a SMALL CASE like this.

I would have already bought this case were it not for the fact that I'm not sure where I can put the pump/reservoir combo.

@ivicagmc, please can you share a better picture of the inside case? and what is your vga? the space between the end of vga and the frontal panel is interesting, maybe there is the space for the pump.
Thanks in advanced for you assistance and feedback.
Sory for late answer... Here are some pics... VGA is Asus Dual RX 580 4G
 

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Sory for late answer... Here are some pics... VGA is Asus Dual RX 580 4G
Thanks buddy.
To put my EK Fluid Gaming A240 and my MSI GTX 1060 6GB seems be a hard work. :(
 
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