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The MasterCase 5 is a big, hefty case with some equally big ideas behind it—and they mostly work. The FreeForm system is more flexible than competing modular setups from Fractal Design, for example, especially for 3.5" storage. I found the family of add-on parts that builders can buy for their MasterCases to be well-built and well-integrated with the rest of the case. If Cooler Master continues to expand the FreeForm ecosystem for the MasterCase, the company could have a real hit on its hands.

I wasn't a fan of the MasterCase 5's incorrect instructions and parts provisions, though. No builder should be led astray by the documentation that comes with their case.  I would also like to see provisions for top-mounted radiators in the base MasterCase 5. That's table stakes for today's cases.

Even so, the MasterCase 5 has a lot to like. It's quiet, hanging right with Fractal Design's Define S even without any dedicated noise-deadening features, and it's a snap to build a clean-looking system inside. The sturdy, all-metal construction and subtle styling are points in the MasterCase 5's favor, too. I also appreciate the real flexibility that the FreeForm system offers. 

All told, though, between the MasterCase 5 and the MasterCase Pro 5, I find myself in a weird position when I try to call a winner here. At $110, the MasterCase 5 seems a tad expensive for what it offers: despite the FreeForm system's promise and the heavy-duty build quality, that money only gets you two 3.5" drive bays and a top panel that can't accept radiators.

As a result, the MasterCase 5 looks less appealing in certain respects than similarly priced cases like the Obsidian 450D, Fractal's Define offerings, and Cooler Master's own Silencio 652S, even though the MasterCase packs more metal and modularity.

On the other hand, the MasterCase Pro 5 comes fully stocked with five 3.5" bays, plus a radiator-friendly top panel, a fancy mesh top cover, a spiffy windowed side panel, and an extra 140-mm intake fan for $140—and the $30 premium is less than you'll pay for all of the Pro parts separately. Between those extra features and the base MasterCase's solid performance and build quality, I'm happy to call the MasterCase Pro 5 TR Recommended.

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