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Computer Shopper - - CONTENTS - James Archer

Cooler Master’s MasterCase H500P Mesh White is a great case for PC builds that need an abun­dance of cool­ing

VER­DICT

This re­design im­proves the cool­ing from last year’s H500P, while keep­ing its neat-freak ten­den­cies

IT WASN’T TOO long ago that the orig­i­nal gun-metal grey MasterCase H500P first went on sale, but Cooler Master has been quick to re­lease an up­dated ver­sion that fixes some of the ear­lier ver­sion’s foibles.

As the name im­plies, the MasterCase H500P Mesh’s most sig­nif­i­cant change is greater use of mesh pan­elling. If this doesn’t sound like much of an up­grade, con­sider that the H500P had a solid piece of acrylic run­ning right down its front, so while its dual 200mm in­take fans were ca­pa­ble of suck­ing in huge amounts of fresh, cool­ing air, they could only gasp for small breaths through rel­a­tively slim lines of mesh down ei­ther side. Now the en­tire front panel is per­fo­rated metal, al­low­ing for much better air­flow.

To our eyes, it also makes the H500P Mesh White look a lit­tle better, and this is a strongly at­ten­tion-grab­bing PC case in gen­eral. Bright and chunky, with a full-size, tem­pered glass side win­dow, al­most noth­ing about the ex­te­rior de­sign is sub­tle or un­der­stated. Much of it is built from plas­tic, but the whole thing feels sturdy and heavy, save for a sur­viv­ing piece of acrylic on top, which pro­vides a sec­ondary win­dow but feels flimsy next to the thick­set side panel.

BLOW WITH THE FLOW

It’s also a mighty big case by mid-tower stan­dards, at 542mm tall and 242mm wide. The up­side of this is the vast amount of space in­side: there’s acres of room for both the

largest of hands and some bulky com­po­nents. Mother­board sup­port scales from Mini-ITX all the way up to EATX; the CPU clear­ance of 190mm is more than enough for any re­spectable tower-style air cooler; and you’d ac­tively strug­gle to find a graph­ics card that fills the 412mm of GPU clear­ance.

As well as the seven hor­i­zon­tal PCI-E slots at the rear, the H500P Mesh throws in two ver­ti­cal slots, so you can mount a graph­ics card side­ways (hold­ing it up for you to ad­mire its cooler de­sign through the side win­dow). Sadly, this re­quires the ad­di­tional pur­chase of a £45 bracket and riser ca­ble kit.

Much more gen­er­ous are those two 200mm fans, which to­gether with a 140mm ex­haust de­liver the exact kind of high-ca­pac­ity, in-and-out air­flow a spa­cious case needs. The H500P Mesh is also com­pat­i­ble with an ex­cel­lent range of fan and ra­di­a­tor sizes: both the top and front of the case will fit ra­di­a­tors up to 360mm long, as well as mul­ti­ple 120mm or 140mm fans, while the rear fan mount can take both 120mm and 140mm ra­di­a­tors.

For even more piz­zazz, the front fans are equipped with RGB light­ing, some­thing that’s well sup­ported on the accessories front. A three-way split­ter ca­ble is in­cluded, for group con­trol over mul­ti­ple fans, and a sim­ple, sin­gle-but­ton con­trol switch helps com­pen­sate for moth­er­boards with­out ded­i­cated RGB head­ers. The lat­ter can tog­gle the light­ing for up to four fans, if you’re mak­ing full

use of the split­ter as well.

COM­ING CLEAN

An­other, less ob­vi­ous im­prove­ment over the orig­i­nal H500P is how the PSU can now sim­ply slide in through the back; pre­vi­ously, you had to re­move the shroud and slot it in front-to-back. On the Mesh White, all you need to re­move and re­place is a small bracket and some thumb­screws.

This change shows the H500P Mesh White’s wider ap­proach of mak­ing PC build­ing as straight­for­ward as pos­si­ble, while re­tain­ing a cer­tain so­phis­ti­ca­tion and tidi­ness. This can also be seen in touches such as the shroud, which can be half-re­moved if you only want to ac­cess the 3.5in drive cage un­der­neath, or the large, grom­met-fit­ted rout­ing holes. These make it easy to thread ca­bles through while hold­ing them se­curely in place.

On that note, this case is fantastic at keep­ing ca­bles and wires hid­den away. Be­sides the shroud and the metal ca­ble man­age­ment bar in­side the main cham­ber, even on the other side there are re­mov­able plas­tic cov­ers for the PSU and front I/O ca­bles, as well as any CPU cooler mount­ing brack­ets. Open­ing and clos­ing these might add a few sec­onds to your build­ing or strip­ping time, but the re­sults look im­mac­u­late.

VA­CANT POS­SES­SION

One of the few missed op­por­tu­ni­ties is stor­age ca­pac­ity. It’s not that what you get is in­suf­fi­cient: there are two quick-re­lease 3.5in trays, which can fit 2.5in drives as well, plus two ded­i­cated 2.5in brack­ets. You can even move the lat­ter around to your choos­ing, at­tach­ing them to the shroud, on top of the 3.5in cage or on the rear of the mother­board bay. It’s just there’s lit­tle rea­son why there couldn’t be brack­ets for each mount­ing point to be­gin with, which would have upped the to­tal drive ca­pac­ity from four to seven.

Oth­er­wise, how­ever, there’s an aw­ful lot of PC case here, even for nearly £140. Its big, brash ex­te­rior be­lies a chas­sis that’s clearly been de­signed with a keen at­ten­tion to detail and a quiet ac­knowl­edge­ment of the first H500P’s flaws. It’s a great pick for high-end builds that de­mand pow­er­ful cool­ing, such as those with dual GPUs.

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