Cooler Master launches a 'deceptively small' PC case that fits full-size hardware

Cooler Master has rolled out its new MasterBox Q500L, a stylish and compact computer case that the company tells us is "deceptively small." What Cooler Master means by that is despite its small footprint, the Q500L supports full-size ATX hardware, including graphics cards up to 360mm (14.17 inches) long.

To put that into perspective, Zotac's elongated GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Amp edition card with three cooling fans stretches 308mm (12.13 inches). Based on Cooler Master's measurements, there would be room to spare if shoving one of those inside.

Support for full-size ATX hardware is refreshing in a compact case. Many (not all) smaller cases limit support to micro-ATX and sometimes mini-ITX motherboards. For example, NZXT's Manta is one of the best PC cases in the compact category, and it only accommodates mini-ITX boards.

The Q500L is similar in size, measuring 386 (L) x 230 (W) x 381 (H) mm (15.2 x 9.1 x 15 inches), compared to the Manta's 450 x 245 x 426 mm dimensions. You could build a micro-ATX or mini-ITX system inside the Q500L, but unlike the Manta, you don't have to restrict yourself to smaller components.

We haven't had a chance to toy around with one in person, though judging by the pictures we've seen, a full-size ATX setup is going to be cramped. To help with that, the power supply optionally mounts vertically in the front of the chassis. This allows for a shorter stature. For a mini-ITX foundation, the PSU can be conventionally slotted in the bottom-rear section.

There are also cable cutouts so you can snake power cables and wires behind the motherboard tray, where there is 27-0.30mm of clearance. And for storage, there are two caddies behind the tray, each one supporting a single 3.5-inch drive or two 2.5-inch drives.

The case only comes with a single 120mm fan, installed in the rear. For additional cooling, there is room for two 140mm or 120mm fans up top and two 120mm fans in the bottom. Alternately, the case can accommodate up to a 240mm radiator up top and a 120mm radiator in place of the rear fan. Magnetic dust filters cover the top and front of the case.

One thing that's unique about the Q500L is it's designed to sit either vertically or horizontally, with rubberized thumb screws that act as feet. As such, the front I/O panel is moveable, and can be plopped into one of three positions.

The Q500L is available now for a reasonable $59.99.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).