The Cooler Master HAF 500
The Cooler Master HAF (high air flow) is a classic series of computer case that dates back over a decade ago. As the name implies, the HAF series prioritize the cooling performance over the looks. That is not saying that all HAF cases are boring as the HAF X military certainly offer a unique rugged look that appeals to many folks.
The HAF 500 is the latest mid-tower ATX in the series. Upon the first glance, you will immediately notice that the HAF 500 shares a lot of design cue from the popular MasterCase H500. In fact, I would go as far as calling the HAF 500 as an improved of version of the H500. Both H500 and the HAF 500 are constructed with steel frame, mesh and plastic; however, the HAF 500 is a tad more compact with dimension of 516 x 224 x 510mm (LWH); which works out to be 10 cm shorter in length, 4 cm shorter in width, and 8 cm shorter in height. Despite this, we not losing any hardware clearance space as the HAF 500 still able to supports CPU cooler up to 167mm, PSU up to 180 mm, and GPU up to 410mm. The smaller footprint reduced the rear exhaust fan on the HAF 500 to 120 mm as oppose to 140 mm on the H500. Furthermore, the HAF 500 lost the interchangeable front panel and the handle on the top (which personally I am fine without). However, the HAF 500 gained an additional 200 mm fan support on the top as well as able to accommodate additional radiator sizes on the top (240mm/280mm/360mm), an much welcomed USB-C port front panel connector and a removable top panel.
The HAF 500 is a well built, solid case. The unit is available in black or white color and Our review unit is black which in my opinion is the better of the two colors. The main body is made with steel so the case is strong and rigid. There are a couple of sharp points on the rear corner of the case but other than that, there is no major complains with the craftmanship. Clearly, the most eye-catching feature of the case would be the giant dual 200mm ARGB fans on the front covered by the metallic mesh that grace almost the entire front of the chassis.
The mesh front panel can be removed easily and unlike the H500’s scaffolding pattern along the left and right side of the front panel, the HAF500 has only a simple flat design on the either side. This makes the HAF 500 looks more subdued and less aggressive than the H500.
Over the top is where we find the signature hexagonal power button, two USB 3.2 gen 1 port, one USB 3.2 GEN 2 Type C port, and the audio in/out jack. It is great to see USB Type C port here. With the exception of the budget motherboards, almost all new motherboards now are equipped with internal USB C header so you can take advantage of such port on the front.
On the side of the case, we find the tempered glass is used on the left side while the steel cover is on the right side. Thumbscrews are used to hold the side panels and I like the convenience design where the thumb screws are attached to the side panel when unscrewed. Unfortunately, this only applies to the right metallic side panel and not the left glass side panel. The tempered glass is thick with a metal lips on the bottom that helps to keep it from falling out of the case and also protects it from chipping. To open or close the glass panel, you rest the metal lip on the bottom of the chassis and push the glass toward the frame of the chassis to close it or pull away from the frame to open it.
Pretty standard affair on the rear where we can see the PSU is mounted on the bottom and there are spaces for seven expansion slots. Just above them is where we find the 120mm exhaust fan grill.
We find a removable dust filter covers PSU cooling fan. The cover slides off the case easily for cleaning. The feet of the case are a little under 1.5 inches, which is a tad taller than your typical case. This allows more air to flow through the bottom of the case in order to help dissipate heat.
The top of the case is fully removable though a screw driver is needed to remove two screws holding it to the frame of the case. The top panel locks to the frame of the case and you lift the panel up to remove it. The entire steel plate is almost open to the air with perforated pattern. We see that instead of individual mounting holes for different size of fans, the HAF500 has five large cutouts along the top panel to allow user to position the cooling fans at the optimal position. A handy piece of plastic dust cover is magnetically attached to the top to help dust from getting into the case. As mentioned earlier, the HAF 500 lacks the handle that is found on the H500 to help moving the system.
With the HAF 500, Cooler Master’s legendary HAF series makes a comeback. The HAF 500 has famous 200mm huge intake ARGB fans for maximum airflow and performance, ensuring unrivaled intake and cooling efficiency. A dedicated GPU fan is included in the chassis, which can be adjusted to fit various GPU lengths. The most modern water cooling configurations may be accommodated thanks to ample clearance for dual 360mm radiators on the top and front panels. Component installation is simplified and hassle-free thanks to tool-less side panels and a removable top panel that eliminates the need to battle with tight locations.
The CoolerMaster 500 series case is definitely one of the best out there, but I found airflow works better with 200 mm fans on top and avoiding hooking up any other type to an identical hub. You’ll want two separate splitter cables–one for your motherboard’s CPU cooler (or watercooling setup) and another just straight through if you’re running something beefy like RTX 30 Series cards where all their cooling needs are taken care off by default without having too many unnecessary connections hanging around doing nothing! 120/140mm intake blade situated improperly can cause serious problems so keep these things facing forward