Hardware Reviews

Cooler MasterBox Q500L Case Review – ATX Support with a Narrow Footprint

Exterior Impression

Externally, the Cooler MasterBox Q300L and the MasterBox Q500L can hardly be distinguished from each other. But let’s start this review with a look at the front. This is characterised by an attractive geometric pattern. However, this pattern is not on the steel body, but was printed on the magnetic dust filter. Behind the filter, the steel body, which has been drilled with numerous holes, can be reached directly. These allow a variable placement of possible fans or the PSU mount. To prevent the dust filter mat from slipping, Cooler Master has attached small rubber buffers to the corners.

A jump to the lid section shows an identical structure as in the front. The perforated steel is covered by an identical dust filter and held in place by the rubber elements, so there is not much more to say about the lid.

The left side is characterized by a large acrylic window. Four flat steel knurled screws are used for fastening. In addition, the manufacturer has equipped the left side of the housing with the I/O panel. There are two USB 3.0 ports, ports for microphone and headphones as well as two buttons for power and reset. The right side panel is completely made of steel and is also fastened with four knurled screws. However, these have a rubber edge. This should enable the housing to be set up horizontally if required.

When looking at the underside there was a first disappointment. This was also equipped with a dust filter, but in contrast to the other dust filters this is unfortunately not magnetic. Instead, many small rubber elements are used for locking. Compared to the other dust filters, the removal is much more complicated here. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has also saved some money on the feet. These are made of a slightly soft plastic and are not straight high. If fans are installed in the floor, the case should not be placed on a carpet.

Underside

At the back of the Q500L it will be somewhat unusual. You can see seven slots for expansion cards, the mounting location for the pre-installed case fan and the plug for the power cable. What is missing, however, is the space for the power supply. This is because the Q500L is installed differently than usual. See where that is in the next chapter. However, we would like to make a comment here about the fan opening of the rear fan. At first glance, this appears to be quite restrictive and particularly conceals the outer areas of the fan.

Anyone who has now paid close attention will have noticed that the front, lid and underside are completely identical. Together with the modular I/O panel and the symmetrical acrylic window, the housing can be mounted on the left or right of the desk.

Painting and workmanship and processing quality are OK but not really outstanding. Especially the three hole grids of the front, the lid and the underside can be pressed in quite easily. Also the steel side part could have some more stability. Due to the low weight of 3.8 kg, it is very easy to conclude that Cooler Master has saved material in the design. What a shame!

Internal Impression

The interior of the Cooler MasterBox Q500L is very open designed and is a huge chamber. As usual, the mainboard and the expansion cards find space in this chamber. In order to be able to cable the components properly, the mainboard tray was also equipped with several cable management openings.

All this meets the standard and does not make the Q500L unique. But what makes this Midi-Tower special and the reason for the small total volume is the mounting position of the power supply. This is located to the right of the mainboard and is realized via a modular frame. The cables can be routed to the rear of the mainboard tray via a cable bushing.

In addition to the pre-installed fan in the rear, two fans each with a frame width of 120 mm or 140 mm can be installed in the base and lid. Depending on the power supply unit, a 92 mm or 120 mm fan can also be installed in the front.

Now let’s turn to the back. Behind the mainboard tray, the Q500L offers up to 30 mm space for cables. Together with the tabs for cable ties a proper cable management should be possible. In addition, all the support frames for data media are located on the back. One 3.5″ HDD or two 2.5″ SSDs are supported on each of the two steel frames. These are not an extraordinary number of possibilities, but they should be sufficient for a normal gaming PC.

The paint finish in the interior is fine. In addition, there are no sharp edges on which one could cut oneself. However, like at outer areas, the material thickness could be higher in places.

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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Berlin.

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