Pros: Clean and easy build, Large side window, Full basement, Ample cable management
Cons: Radiator mounting limitations, Cost
Some case manufacturers don't seem to get that not all PCs look the same. Not everyone wants 5 drive cages in the front of their case since some would like to put in a radiator. Not everyone wants to see the power supply since some would prefer a basement cover. System builders might want to show off their SSDs prominently while others may want to keep them out of site. The list goes on and emphasizes the point that each build is unique. Cooler Master's MasterCase Pro 6 is their answer to this problem. Building off the previous generation MasterCase Pro 5, the Pro 6 features the same FreeForm Modular System for a highly customizable build. How does it look and how is the build process in it? Let's find out.
Case Overview and Features
As a general overview, the case supports ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX systems. It weighs in at about 26lbs and measures 21.4" x 9.25" x 21.6". The frame is made from steel with black plastic panels on the outside. A nice feature is the carrying/protective sack that the case comes shipped in. It will do an excellent job of protecting your rig from scratches while traveling but I wouldn't trust the handles once you've put components inside. Works great during transport though.
With all the exterior panels installed, the case has a gentle, curving aesthetic. The top and front panel give a professional look; it’s something I prefer over the "gamer" style. There are no front or top ventilation grills visible either. The only accent to the front is a small silver Cooler Master logo at the bottom. The front side panel is almost entirely windowed with only a small bezel around the edge for stability. On the opposite side, the back panel is entirely flat with a matte black finish. There is no fan inlet or raised area for cable management. This likely won't be visible but I do still think it looks nice.
How does cooling work then without any visible inlets? Both the top and front panel are adjustable and attached using a magnet system. This allows them to be pushed in fully or pulled about half an inch out to allow air in around the edge. In the photo, you can see the front panel is pushed all the way in while the top panel is raised using the magnet system. I think this is a clever design as it allows you to easily change between silence and cooling performance without needing a screwdriver. The magnets are positioned in sliding plastic rods that move in and out of the case.
Moving down to the bottom, we find two large plastic feet. This raises the case slightly for airflow while still maintaining stability. You can also see the removable dust filter for the power supply in the back. This is an issue many case manufacturers still don't seem to get unfortunately. Computer cases face forwards, not backwards. This means you can't remove the filter without crawling behind the case. It's not a huge deal, but I think it would be better if it was removable from the front.
Before removing the panels and starting the build, we'll check out the front panel I/O. The MasterCase Pro 6 is equipped with a very basic setup of two USB 3.0 ports, headphone, microphone, reset, and the power button. That's pretty much the standard configuration nowadays so nothing major to talk about here. One notable feature is the flap that covers those ports though. If you don't use any of the front I/O, you can close it so the look matches the rest of the case. If you do plan to use some of the ports though, the flap moves up to uncover the ports. Unfortunately, you have no way to remove the flap without cutting the rubber connector so it pretty much just sits there on top. I wish it was removable like nearly every other part in the case but it looks like Cooler Master missed this part.
With the front, top and rear panels removed, the magnetic attachment mechanism becomes visible. The top panel definitely needs to stay on but the case can look just fine with or without the front. I wish the magnets were dark like the rest of the case so they would blend in but most people will probably keep the front cover on anyways. At the top, we find two 5.25" drive bays that come covered with mesh by default. Below that is a large singular mesh panel all the way down to the bottom. Down at the base is a red LED strip that illuminates the area directly in front of the case. It's a great look if you have a red themed build like I ended up doing. If not, you don't have to plug it in and you'd never know it was there otherwise. At the very top is a plastic crossbar that, along with another one in the rear, I believe is supposed to be a handle for carrying the case. Unfortunately, it is very flimsy and I could feel it slowly breaking as I put more weight on it. It's positioned like a handle but isn't nearly strong enough to support the case so I'm not exactly sure of its purpose.
With the inner front panel removed we can see the front case fans and 5.25" drive bays. If you don't plan to use them you should be able to install a third fan without too much trouble. You can also mount up to a 280mm radiator. Note that even though three fans are supported, Cooler Master's website only lists front radiator support at up to 280mm. Up top is a removable radiator mount for installing up to a 280mm radiator. The construction of this piece, while great for some liquid coolers, causes significant compatibility issues for longer radiators. If your radiator is longer than 297mm, you must install it from the inside of the case and then that external mounting bracket just becomes a hindrance. I would have liked to have seen this extended to enable support for all double radiators. More on the specifics of how the mounting system works when we start the build.
Now that we finally have the case disassembled, you can see just how much customization is available in this chassis. Starting in the top and moving clockwise we have the back panel, the front panel, the top radiator mount, the top panel with front I/O flap, and finally the front grill. While you'll need these parts for a full build, it's still nice to be able to remove them for easy installation of components. I ended up left the back panel off for my build but that's just my personal taste.
Moving inside the case now, you can see both the 5.25" drive cage and the 3.5" hard drive cage removed. All you need is a screw driver, and some parts are even attached with thumb screws. Right off the bat you can see the case is divided into two main sections with a basement cover in the middle. Up top is the main system area and below is the power supply, cable management, and additional hard drive area. Full PSU basements are becoming more and more popular and I'm glad since they make builds look extremely clean. I much prefer them to half basements or simple PSU shrouds since those still leave the cables hanging out and messy. In the bottom right of the case you’ll find space for two hard drives. I didn't end up using them but since they are hidden from view anyway, I didn't bother removing them either.
Mounted to the cover plate are two tool-less 2.5" drive mounts. They hold the drive firmly in place without needing to install those four tiny screws on each corner. Instead, there is a simple thumbscrew in the front. The basement cover also has two cutouts in the back for running the power and data cables to those drives out of site. To the right of those mounts are two of the five included rubber cable grommets. They are pretty big and are really just going to be used for graphics card power cables and small front panel cables, so I think a single smaller grommet would have worked fine instead.
Running vertically up the inside of the case are dozens of small cutouts for mounting hard drive cages or possibly water cooling components with some light modding. It's nice that Cooler Master has provided so many since depending on your GPU or cooling configuration, you may need to move the hard drive cages around to make them fit. In total, there are two 5.25" drive mounts, five 3.5"/2.5" combo mounts, and two more dedicated 2.5" drive mounts. The CPU cutout is plenty big enough to allow for easy installation of coolers after the motherboard has been installed. In terms of front panel cables, they are all black which is nice. They run down a cable management channel in the back which can also be used for other system cables as well. With its three included velcro tie-downs, it's a great way to hide some of the clutter in the back.
There's a decent amount of space in the back so I didn't have to try and jam the back panel closed like some other cases require. There is a gap of about 1-1.5" across the full width of the case so even the beefy 24-pin cable can easily fit. In the background you can also see the SATA power cable for the front red LED. I'm glad it was SATA instead of Molex since I find I'm not using many Molex connections in builds these days. Since the hard drives are mounted in the same spot, it's easy to find a spare plug for that light.
In terms of accessories, you get the usual assortment of zip ties, screws, power adapters, and mounting brackets. I like the cardboard case since it's easy to accidentally misplace a baggie of screws and be, well, screwed. Another nice feature was the PSU mounting bracket. It makes securing the power supply much easier than normally trying to prop it up in the case. You install it externally and then it slides easily into the case with just four simple thumb screws.
Here is the build I put together for this case. You can see nothing is cramped and nearly all the cables are out of sight. The basement is still somewhat of a mess but that's what it's designed for and the area isn't visible once you put the side door back on. At the top you'll notice I had to mount the radiator on the inside of the case since this particular model, Thermaltake's Water3.0, would not fit in the normal mounting bracket. Other than that, there isn't really anything I would change about the case. The rear fan is adjustable up and down to optimize cooling for a CPU heatsink or RAM.
From the back you can see cable management is not an issue. There's plenty of space for everything and this photo was taken after minimal effort. I spent a few more minutes tidying everything up but it really only took about 5-10 minutes to get the build looking great.
Here is the completed build. The large side window shows off everything good about the build and the tinted bottom hides all the cables. The red Cooler Master LED strips on the side do a nice job of filling the case and its components. The matte black case material does a great job of attracting fingerprints and oils from your skin so wiping the case down every once in a while is definitely recommended.
Overall I really like the MasterCase Pro 6. It has everything you need a mid tower chassis. It's easy to customize your build and remove everything that you don't need. With only a few minor issues coming from the radiator mounting at the top, the build was flawless. I would put this case on the larger end of mid-tower cases so keep that in mind when shopping. Available online for $160 though, the price is pretty high. There are plenty of other great cases for the same or even less than this one. I think a $15-20 price drop would make it much more competitive. That being said, it's still very easy to recommend this case since building is simple and the final result looks great.
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