At CES 2016 in Las Vegas this year PC component manufacturer Cooler Master are bringing their 'A' game, showing off a trio of products that form the basis of their new Maker product ecosystem. The guiding principle of this ecosystem - which will initially cover cases, coolers and PSUs - is to provide the user with excellent performance and quality, and supply a medium for them to freely express their own creativity. Sounds good, so lets begin.
MasterCase Maker 5
Based broadly on the MasterCase 5 and MasterCase Pro 5, the new Maker variant offers alternate aesthetic options whilst still adhering to the FreeForm Modular System of part design. Rather than make use of perforated panels and other features designed to maximise air-flow, default panels on the MasterCase Maker 5 are flat and smooth; this lets the case more easily act as a blank canvas for your own style tweaks, whether it be your own art or other modifications.
Not only aesthetics have been tweaked with the new design - usability features have also been upgraded to include USB 3 Type-C front panel I/O, optional soundproofing panels, and fan/LED control. By default the case comes with one 140mm Silencio LED fan, but can be equipped with up to six 140mm fans, or your choice of water-cooling components.
Internally the chassis relies on the solid dual-bay layout of the MasterCase 5, which also means that parts and accessories are largely interchangeable with the more established 2015 case. As well as reducing cost, this should make it far easier to source replacements or additional parts from Cooler Master directly, giving you a certain amount of freedom to really make full use of the entire kit.
The MasterCase Maker 5 should be released in Q1 2016.
MasterAir Maker 8
Superficially, the MasterAir Maker 8 resembles older V8 air cooler designs, but the underlying technology is some way from the norm for an air cooler. Each MasterAir Maker 8 makes use of Cooler Master's exclusive 3D Vapor Chamber (3DVC) technology, a technique to merge heatpipes into the copper base in a manner which greatly improves heat transference. Cooler Master claim that 3DVC improves cooling potential by as much as 19% compares with similarly specced (i.e. 8-heatpipe, 6mm diameter tower) coolers that use traditional techniques, which in tern should improve CPU temps and allow for greater overclocks.
That said, to be part of the 'Maker' ecosystem a product has to incorporate some form of customisability, something that isn't too common in CPU coolers. The MasterAir Maker 8 bring a removable/replaceable top plate, on which you can place your own artwork an in the fullness of time even create a 3D-printed version of. Out of the box two 140mm PWM fans in push/pull configuration and red LEDs offer a little something for those looking for an aggressive 'gaming' aesthetic.
The MasterAir Maker 8 should also be released in Q1 2016.
MasterWatt Maker 1200
The final member of the Maker triumvirate is perhaps its most surprising - a digital power PSU that Cooler Master are calling the MasterWatt Maker 1200. However it's more than just a 1200W PSU; the design boasts 80PLUS Titanium efficiency (94% typical) and a new monitoring feature the manufacturers are calling CM Connect.
Externally the MasterWatt Maker 1200 tics all the right boxes - a brushed aluminium finish places it firmly in the premium category when it comes to PSU aesthetics and is unblemished by the usual specification labels common to power supplies. It's also fully modular, a feature that we have come to expect from high-end CM PSUs but remain appreciative of nonetheless. It's also equipped with a 135mm Silencio fan, which will serve to keep it cool without waking the neighbours.
Meanwhile, the newest feature is CM Connect. This PC and Smartphone app interfaces wirelessly with the PSU to provide real-time logging, as well as a log backup facility should the unit fail in operation.
The MasterWatt Maker 1200 comes with a full seven year warranty, and it too will be available in this quarter.
About the Maker program
We hope our Maker products inspire our fans to embrace their maker spirit. This is the first step in building an ecosystem for the community, said Raymen Wu, Global Marketing Director. We aspire to bring the freedom and enjoyment that comes when building your PC and third party accessories are integral to this vision.
If you're at CES this week you can pop along to the Cooler Master suite and see a number of modded Maker products from the likes of MNPCTech's Bill Owen and Brian Farrell of PrimoChill. Freelance air-brush artist Ron Lee Christianson will also be on hand, showcasing some unique artworks ideal for system exteriors or internal flair.