I fell in love with this PC case that looks like a cheese grater

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Cooler Master Qube 500 PC case sitting on a coffee table.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Who would’ve anticipation Apple’s abominable “cheese grater” architecture for the Mac Pro would assignment its way into custom PCs? For as abundant abuse as Apple caught, the architecture of the Mac Pro absolutely fabricated a statement, and Cooler Master is authoritative a agnate account with its awful modular Qube 500 Flat Pack.

It spits in the face of the best PC cases, activity rogue with a architecture that feels all its own. It’s not aloof a case with a agglomeration of holes, though; the Qube 500 appearance a modular, flat-pack architecture that provided one of the best different architecture adventures I’ve anytime had.

Build as you build

The Cooler Master Qube 500 in its box.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Qube 500 Flat Pack is a case you body while you build. The case’s affirmation to acclaim is that it’s absolutely modular, and Cooler Master ships it in a collapsed box absolutely disassembled — acceptable for aircraft purposes, but it ability about-face some builders away. I wasn’t too aflame about architecture my PC case afore architecture my PC, but that’s not the acquaintance with the Qube 500.

You body the case as you body the PC. It’s a action of demography out one or two parts, putting calm some of your build, and again fishing out added genitalia of the case. This could calmly become frustrating, but it’s not. Cooler Master has accomplish printed central the box with QR codes, anniversary of which links to a video from Cooler Master. The genitalia of the case are ample in such a way that you don’t charge to unbox aggregate at once. The genitalia are layered, so you see the abutting genitalia you charge as you build.

It concluded up actuality beneath arresting than a acceptable body experience, and there are several affidavit for that. For starters, cable management. Routing your cables is allotment of accumulating the case, so you accept abundant cleaner acceptance to bung aggregate in and administer your cables afore finishing out the case.

All of the genitalia for the Cooler Master Qube 500 case.I pulled out all of the genitalia for this shot, but you’d appetite to body the case anon out of the box. Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Second, Cooler Master includes a bag of screws that assignment with everything. They’re the screws you use to accumulate the case, as able-bodied as affix the motherboard, cartoon card, and ability supply. I never afraid about fishing about for the appropriate circling back I bare to about-face from PC architecture approach to case architecture mode. I aloof affective a screw, followed my abutting step, and it worked.

You accept a lot of adaptability if things don’t go according to plan, too. I abandoned the instructions and installed the basal of the case afore abutting my advanced console ports. I accomplished that there wasn’t a advanced abundant gap to angle the top of the USB 3.2 adapter through the basal to affix it. In a accustomed case, I’d accept to achieve for an animal cable addition above the motherboard or no USB 3.2 in the advanced panel. With the Qube 500, I undid two screws to booty off the bottom, affiliated the cable, and I was acceptable to go.

This modular architecture shouldn’t work, and alike with the best intentions, it’s bright how Cooler Master could accept gotten a architecture like this wrong. Cooler Master paid absorption to the capacity here, which creates a different architecture acquaintance that’s decidedly accessible to blanket your arch around.

Fully modular

The Cooler Master Qube 500 in its alongside form.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can body the Qube 500 absolutely how Cooler Master says, and it works great. There are abounding options to accomplish it your own, though, and that mainly comes bottomward to the feet.

Cooler Master includes four anxiety that go on the basal of the case, but you can attach them elsewhere. You can bandy them on the advanced and accept the case aggressive so your ports are on top, or you can put them on the ancillary console and lay the case flat. It doesn’t assume like a big deal, but that’s because the band-aid is so ingeniously simple. You accept assorted options to set up the case; all they crave is swapping the feet.

The Qube 500 has added tricks than feet, however. Included in the box is a vertical GPU mount that slots into the accustomed brackets, acceptance you to install your GPU angular after an all-encompassing case mod. There’s additionally a accepted bracket that you can accept to install, which allows you to arise fans, a cooler, or adamantine drives on the ancillary of the case (there’s alike added ascent allowance in the back, too).

Mounting bracket on the Cooler Master Qube 500.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Outside of the advanced and aback panel, you can mix and bout the abandon about you want. They all work, alike swapping the top and basal if you’d like. The black plates that authority the dust filters are additionally modular, as you can install them on whatever ancillary of the case looks the best for your layout.

Going alike further, there’s a analysis bank mode. One of the keys to the Qube 500 is that the ability accumulation and motherboard are army on the aforementioned plate, so you can abolish the front, top, and basal to accept a analysis bank setup. There are alike spots to install the anxiety in this configuration.

The Cooler Master Qube 500 in analysis bank mode.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The modularity additionally opens up a lot of options for accouterments support. The case is alone 33 liters in volume, but it still supports up to E-ATX motherboards, ATX ability supplies, 360mm GPUs, four 3.5-inch HDDs, and three 2.5-inch SSDs. There’s additionally allowance for up to a 280mm radiator on the top, bottom, or larboard ancillary with the bracket, alternating with a 120mm fan in the aback and 120mm/140mm fan in the front. You can alike get abroad with a 280mm radiator in the advanced if you arise the ability accumulation on the basal of the case.

You won’t be able to arise aggregate at once, but there’s a lot of adaptability here. Given how modular the architecture is, you’re chargeless to arise fans, adamantine drives, and alike your ability accumulation in several altered places, giving you allowance for whatever added accouterments you appetite to clasp inside. It’s a decidedly able use of space, and Cooler Master still leaves you some solid allowance for cable management.

Extra goodies

The top of the Cooler Master Qube 500.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

All of the holes about the Qube 500 are for added than aloof looks. It’s the base of a modular ecosystem of accessories, some of which Cooler Master includes in the box. Out of the gate, you get two hooks and two cable acquisition plugs. These are abundant for charwoman up rogue cables and blind accessories, be it a controller, a headset, or alike your keyboard.

You could aloof stop there, but Cooler Master offers eight files so you can book your own accessories with a 3D printer, chargeless of charge. It alike includes a arrangement for these accessories, so you can architecture and book your own.

I don’t anticipate these accessories are a acumen to buy the Qube 500, admitting Cooler Master’s business materials. They’re absolutely a plus, though. I don’t accept an absorption in tweaking the case with my own designs, but I adulation the advantage for association who are abysmal into 3D printing.

A brace of issues

The internals of the Cooler Master Qube 500 PC case.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Qube 500 is a abundant case, abnormally because its price, but there are a few problems. First is the acumen of application an all-in-one aqueous cooler. Cooler Master includes a lot of support, but it’s not consistently practical. The ancillary bracket blocks your appearance central the case, and you don’t accept the advantage for a 360mm AIO.

The bigger affair is airflow. Cooler Master alone includes a distinct fan, and it’s an bankrupt fan. If you’re planning on installing an AIO, you’ll apparently appetite that exhausting, too, abrogation you to acquirement two added admirers for intakes. The alone botheration is you can’t arise those up advanced due to the ability accumulation placement, so you’ll charge to arise them on the bottom, which agency you can’t use that amplitude for a adamantine drive. I achievement you see how this can snowball.

Cooler Master makes able use of the amplitude in the Qube 500, but that additionally agency you charge to plan your body central of it. Moving one basic generally agency compromising another. Most cases accord you a basal assimilation and outtake adjustment from the jump, so you don’t accept to anticipate about it. That’s not the case here, so you’ll charge to agency in admirers and adjustment back architecture your PC.

The baby admeasurement and aberrant compromises with added apparatus beggarly you can run into thermal issues if you backpack high-end accouterments in the case. It can fit an RTX 4090 and Core i9-14900K, for example, but accepting the cooling you charge to administer these apparatus is tough.

Should you buy the Qube 500?

The central of the Cooler Master Qube 500.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

This case isn’t for anybody absolutely based on aesthetics. It looks a bit strange, so if you’re not in adulation with the design, it’s not the case for you. I like the design, and it’s fabricated alike bigger because the modularity of this case and its price.

The Qube 500 is decidedly inexpensive. You can get it for about $90 if you opt for the atramentous or white version, or about . I advised this version, which comes with three options for colors for the top and advanced panels, which you’re chargeless to mix and match.

Your options about that amount are adequately accepted mid-tower designs. Designs like the NZXT H5 and Corsair 3000D aren’t bad, but they’re far beneath adjustable than the Qube 500. This is one of the few cases that absolutely stands out about this price, and it’s a abundant advantage if you don’t apperception ambidextrous with some of its oddities.

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