With the MasterCase H100, Cooler Master has introduced a compact Mini-ITX case that can be used as a portable PC and as a tiny living room PC as a game changer. We looked at whether the case with its small external dimensions and the low price of approx. 65 Euro is technically convincing.
|Model:||Cooler Master MasterCase H100|
|Dimensions:||216 x 301 x 312 mm (W x H x D)|
|Weight:||approx. 2.66 kg|
|Front connections||2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x loudspeaker, 1x microphone|
|Ventilation:||Front: 1x 200/140/120 mm (1x 200 mm pre-installed)|
|Radiators:||Front: 1x 200/140/120 mm|
|Max. CPU cooler height:||83 mm|
|Max. Graphics card length:||210 mm|
|Max. Power supply length:||210 mm|
|Cable management space:||–|
|Price:||Price not available *|
|Special features:||RGB LED fan, RGB LED control|
Scope of Delivery
The MasterCase H100 is delivered in a plain brown cardboard box that contains all important information about the case. Inside, the case is well wrapped in a plastic bag and sufficiently padded with polystyrene. The accessories are fixed in the case. Here we find the obligatory instructions as well as the screws for mounting the mainboard, power supply and hard disks. The hard disks can also be mounted decoupled. Also included is the pre-assembled case fan as well as an RGB LED controller to control the RGB LEDs of the fan, if buyers don’t have a compatible mainboard.
With dimensions of 216 x 301 x 312 mm (W x H x D) the case is pleasantly handy, although not as small as the Kolink Rocket or the Streacom DA2. With an empty weight of 2.66 kg, it is nevertheless pleasantly light and easy to carry with you thanks to the integrated handle on the top.
The housing is made of steel and plastic, which makes the favourable price possible. Nevertheless, you don’t get the feeling that the workmanship would be cheap. The steel has a good material thickness and the case is very stable. Also the workmanship is clean, we didn’t notice any sharp edges or paint defects.
The large mesh areas on both the front and the top are striking. Unfortunately, the mesh is quite coarse and Cooler Master doesn’t provide any additional dust filters, so the case might collect dust relatively quickly. Behind the front mesh there is a 200 mm RGB LED fan, which shines through the mesh in different colours.
The I/O panel is located at an angle between the front and the top. It is equipped with two USB 3.0 ports, the audio sockets as well as power and reset buttons. We are pleased that no USB 2.0 was installed, but a USB C port would have been nice, which slowly but surely also penetrates into cheaper cases.
The back of the case differs from the standard, because the power supply protrudes from the case. In order to accommodate large ATX power supplies, Cooler Master has placed the mounting bracket for the power supply so that it protrudes a few centimeters.
In addition we find the screws for opening the case at the back, but only for the left side. Here Cooler Master fortunately uses knurled screws, which can be turned by hand after the first loosening, at the beginning they are very tight. Cooler Master doesn’t provide an opening for the right side of the case, so there are no screws. These, however, are available for the slot bezels, which are not breakable and can be screwed on again at any time.
We don’t find a dust filter at the bottom of the case any more than we do in other parts of the case. Instead, we see the four rubberized adjustable feet and the mounting holes for the hard disks at the bottom of the case.
Overall, we are satisfied with the workmanship of the case. Especially for the low price Cooler Master delivers a good deal here.
Unlike larger enclosures, the interior of the Cooler MasterCase H100 is not split in two and there is only one chamber. There is no power supply cover, instead the power supply protrudes into the interior and hangs in the air. The power supply is not decoupled and may transmit vibrations.
The mainboard is mounted directly on the case wall, there is no mainboard tray with opening for mounting the CPU cooler, the opening of the right side wall is not provided by Cooler Master. Spacers are not necessary for the assembly, the elevations are worked directly into the sheet metal.
At the bottom of the case we find the mounting places for either two 2.5 inch data carriers or one 2.5 inch and one 3.5 inch drive. In addition, two 2.5-inch data carriers can be mounted on a removable carrier, which can be found on the left side of the case and must be removed in order to install hardware in the case.
Although there are some brackets for cable routing, Cooler Master does not have a proper cable management with hidden cables. However, this is not necessary due to the closed housing without windows. You should lay the cables neatly to avoid disturbing the airflow through the large 200 mm fan in the front. It’s a pity that you can’t mount an additional fan behind the mesh in the lid.
System Construction in the Cooler Master MasterCase H100
We have built the following components into the case to get a feel for the space inside:
- Asus ROG Strix B450-I Gaming Mainboard*
- AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Processor*
- Seasonic Focus Gold 80 Plus – 450 Watt, semi-modular*
- Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB RAM – 16 GB, 3.000 MHz*
- Crucial P1 500 GB SSD*
The installation is done very quickly. After opening the case on the left side and removing the SSD holder, the mainboard can be screwed in directly. Spacers are not necessary because they are already built into the sheet metal. Then we connected the cables of the case with the mainboard.
If you want to install a water cooler, you should do so now, as long as there is enough space. To do this, both the front and the front fan must be removed. The front can be easily pulled off, simply reach into the opening at the bottom and pull with a jerk. The fan can then be unscrewed to expose the screw holes for the radiator. The radiator is mounted in the interior, so it further restricts the already very limited graphics card length of 21 centimeters. If you use a water cooler, you should also think about a new front fan, ideally of course with a size of 200 mm and RGB lighting, as the built-in one only comes with a 3-pin connector and 800 revolutions per minute.
Afterwards, it is recommended to mount the hard disks at the bottom of the case, as this becomes difficult as soon as one has inserted the graphics card or another plug-in card. These are decoupled, but unfortunately cannot be mounted without tools. Directly after that the graphics card comes in.
Finally, the power supply unit is installed. For this purpose, the mounting frame is unscrewed from the case on the rear side in order to screw on the power supply unit afterwards. The easiest way is to first push the cables through the opening and connect them, since the power supply unit hangs parallel to the mainboard after installation and the cables can no longer be connected. The connection of the cables is successful, because the mainboard has enough space to the top and you don’t have to twist your fingers for the additional CPU power connection. If there is no RGB connector on the mainboard, you can also use the included controller for the lighting.
When mounting the hardware in the Cooler Master MasterCase H100, some points must be observed.
For example, the power supply unit hangs parallel to the mainboard and thus restricts the CPU cooler height to 8.3 cm. It is also recommended to use a short power supply so that the cooler is not completely covered. It is a pity that Cooler Master does not include a mounting frame for SFX power supplies to reduce the space of the power supply.
In addition, the graphics card length is limited to 21 cm, which is further reduced by a front radiator. So here you need a mini graphics card, which limits the choice quite a bit. After all, it can go over two slots. If you mount hard disks in the ground, it shouldn’t be thicker either.
There is still a lot of unused space between the mainboard and the upper side of the case, but a fan mounting is unfortunately not planned here despite the measurement opening. Instead, the power supply blows against the closed side wall at a small distance. Overall, the construction here is rather suboptimal and the existing airflow through the large front radiator must be skillfully let through the case by clean cable management. For this there are some fixing points and cable ties.
Lighting Options in the Cooler Master MasterCase H100
The front fan is equipped with eight RGB LEDs that can be individually illuminated. However, this is not a digitally addressable illumination, so the fan can only light up in one colour at a time and cannot display several at the same time. It is a MasterFan MF200R RGB.
The lighting is controlled either via a four-pole RGB connection from the mainboard or via the enclosed controller. Controlling the lighting via the mainboard is of course preferable, as this gives you a much cooler choice of effects.
If you depend on the RGB controller, it is recommended to connect it to the reset button of the case, so that you can switch the colors and modes over it. Here you can choose between different static colors and a breathing color change.
Capitulation of the Cooler Master MasterCase H100 Review
Overall, Cooler Master delivers a successful Mini-ITX package with the MasterCase H100. With a low empty weight of less than 3 kg and a practical grab handle, it is easy to take along, even if the best LAN times are already behind us. But the small housing also looks good in the living room.
Although we like the case as a whole and the hardware is easy to assemble, we still have some points of criticism. In particular, a real dust filter would have made sense. In addition, the limitations of the height of the CPU cooler and the length of the graphics card have to be considered when buying.
If you are looking for a compact but well ventilated Mini-ITX case, you should have a look at the MasterCase H100*. Unlike the even smaller competitors, for example, the hardware here can be ventilated properly by the 200 mm fan. And even though we have now expressed some criticism, you have to keep the low price in mind.