Cooler Master MasterBox NR600 bears a strong resemblance to the NZXT H500, mostly thanks to the partial glass panel that cuts off at the level of the PSU shroud, but also the flat, unadorned exterior. Cooler Master has gone increasingly minimalist with their branding, which is limited to a logo-shaped power button and an embossed hexagon on the side of the PSU shroud. We went so far as to put the NR600 side-by-side with the H500 for comparison, but their glass panels are in fact slightly different sizes.
Cooler Master NR600 Specs
|Product Name||MasterBox NR600|
|Materials – Body||Steel, Plastic|
|Materials – Windowed Side Panel||Tempered Glass|
|Dimensions||478 (L) x 209 (W) x 473 (H) mm|
|Motherboard Support||Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX|
|5.25″ Drive Bays||N/A (MasterBox NR600 without ODD)1 (MasterBox NR600 with ODD)|
|3.5″ HDD Drive Bays||4|
|2.5″ SSD Drive Bays||5|
|I/O Panel – USB Ports||USB 3.0 x 2|
|I/O Panel – Audio In / Out||1x 3.5mm Headset Jack (Audio+Mic)|
|Pre-installed Fan(s) – Front||120mm x 1|
|Pre-installed Fan(s) – Rear||120mm x 1|
|Fan Support – Front||140mm x 2 / 120mm x 3 (MasterBox NR600 without ODD)140mm x 2/ 120mm x 2 (MasterBox NR600 with ODD)|
|Fan Support – Top||140mm x 2 / 120mm x 2|
|Fan Support – Rear||120mm x 1|
|Radiator Support – Front||360 / 280 / 240 / 140 / 120mm (MasterBox NR600 without ODD)280 / 240 / 140 / 120mm (MasterBox NR600 with ODD)|
|Radiator Support – Top||240mm / 120mm (MasterBox NR600 without ODD) (35mm max motherboard component height)240mm (with ODD removed) / 120mm (MasterBox NR600 with ODD) (35mm max motherboard component height)|
|Radiator Support – Rear||120mm x 1|
|Clearance – CPU Cooler||166mm / 6.54″|
|Clearance – Power Supply||180mm / 7.08″|
|Clearance – Graphics Card||410mm / 16.14″|
|Cable Routing – Behind MB Tray||20~28mm / 0.78~1.10″|
|Dust Filters||Top, Bottom|
|Power Supply Support||Bottom Mount, ATX|
Cooler Master NR600 Build
A glance might not make it clear how much more ventilated the NR600 is than the H500, though. The NR600’s front is covered with a fine mesh that acts as both a filter and a front panel, hopefully avoiding the thermal problems that some cases introduce by backing mesh with additional layers of filtration. Dust will gather on the outside and some will inevitably get through, but it’s easy to wipe down and the front panel comes off easily. We prefer this solution. By opting out of a filter they’ve also made it possible to mount fans on the outside of the chassis, nearly flush with the front panel, which should draw more air from outside of the case instead of just recirculating it inside.
The mounts inside the front panel have three perfectly-sized ducts for 120mm fans, but not so for 140mm ones. Two 140mm fans are supported, but they don’t line up with the cutouts and the mounting holes are at the bottom of the panel rather than the top, so there’s no way to point a 140mm intake fan directly back towards the CPU cooler. There are also just a couple of mounting holes that are too small for fan screws (although they would fit radiator screws). Cooler Master includes two 120mm fans with the case, one intake and one exhaust, which is (much like the Meshify C) enough for the case to function but not really excel. It’s difficult to install fans of any size in the bottom-most slot because of the HDD cage, which is riveted in place and prevents most screwdrivers from fitting under the PSU shroud. A removable fan/radiator bracket would solve this completely, but also add to production costs.
Opening up the case for the first time revealed two minor fit-and-finish issues: first, there was the tip of a broken-off rivet (nothing structural) loose in the bottom of the case, and second, the glass panel doesn’t slide all the way forward to fit flush against the front panel. The glass is supposed to be slotted in, slid forward, and screwed into place, but since it can’t slide forward that last millimeter or so, the metal tabs at the rear of our case were bent slightly when the thumbscrews were tightened down at the factory. This also doesn’t affect function, but it is visible from the outside of the system.
The other side of the case uses an old-school steel panel with tabs that hook into the case, but it’s thick enough and the cable management space is wide enough that there isn’t much danger of the panel bowing out when it’s being put back on, which is usually the biggest annoyance with that style of panel. The cable cutouts on the motherboard edge, the clearance for cables, and the tie points that are well-placed for velcro straps make cable management pretty good. The riveted HDD cage is the only roadblock since it makes it more difficult for users to repurpose that space for storing power cables.
The top of the case has a vent roughly 30cm long, or large enough to fit two 140mm fans. Its magnetic filter is shipped stowed inside the side panel, which is a great strategy to keep us from using it our stock test and hurting thermals. The filter for the PSU vent on the bottom of the case is just a square of mesh that fits into cutouts on the case. It pops out easily and it’s annoying to put back in, but it’s also fairly standard for this price range.
Front I/O is limited to two USB ports and one four-pole (combined in/out) audio jack. Cooler Master advertises the combined jack as a feature, but plenty of headsets split mic/headphone cables out to two separate 3.5mm jacks, so it’s just as likely to be a limitation. Whether it’s a benefit or a drawback comes down to what the user already owns, though. On the other hand, Cooler Master may have made up for this in the compatibility department by selling a version of the case with a 5.25” bay. We rarely bother to comment on support for optical drives at this point, but it’s something that other mesh-fronted cases like the Meshify C, RL06, or the various Cooler Master H500 variants shy away from. The ODD model of the case is a separate SKU and doesn’t seem to be on sale yet at the time of this writing.
GN Case Testing Bench (Sponsored by CableMod)
|Video Card||MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X (OC Mode)||MSI|
|CPU||Intel i7-6700K @ 4.4GHz||GamersNexus|
|CPU Cooler||MSI Core Frozr L||MSI|
|Motherboard||MSI Z170A Gaming M7||MSI|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LED 32GB 3200MHz||Corsair|
|SSD||Samsung 850 EVO 120GB||Samsung|
|Cables||CableMod Pro Mesh Cables||CableMod|
The video card is configured to run at 55% fan speed at all times.
Prior to load testing, we collect idle temperature results for ten minutes to determine the unloaded cooling performance of a case’s fans and air channels. Thermal benchmarking is conducted for 1400 seconds (23 minutes), a period we’ve determined sufficient for achieving equilibrium. The over-time data is aggregated and will occasionally be compiled into charts, if interesting or relevant. The equilibrium performance is averaged to create the below charts.
Load testing is conducted using Prime95 LFFTs and Kombustor “FurMark” stress testing simultaneously. Testing is completely automated using in-house scripting and executes with perfect accuracy on every run.
We recently validated our test methodology using a thermal chamber, finding our approach to be nearly perfectly accurate. Learn more here.
CM NR600 Thermals & Noise
For standardized fan testing, we’ve picked two 140mm 1500RPM Noctua fans to use as intake (one designated upper, one lower) and one 120mm 1500RPM Noctua fan as exhaust. Almost every ATX case we’ve reviewed over the past couple years supports two 140mm intakes and one 120mm exhaust fan. Other than that, we tested without the front panel as usual, and did one final test with an extra 120mm 1500RPM intake fan to see what performance would be like if a user chose to just buy one additional fan.