Casings Guide

Cooler Master CM690 (RC-690) review

Cooler Master CM 690

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Cooler Master's new CM 690 chassis takes case ventilation to the extremes with its meshed design that allows unhindered airflow in and out of the chassis. This is then bolstered by the support of up to seven system cooling fans, though we doubt few users would reach that limit. As it is, the three existing pre-installed 120mm cooling fans are in our opinion, sufficient for proper system vetilation while its low noise output is something we can appreciate more readily than a minute drop in temperatures. Other useful features that will lead to cooler case temperatures include having cable management tools to reduce the clutter and streamline the airflow. Placing the PSU at the bottom also separates the warmer PSU from the usual thermal hotspots from an ATX motherboard design like the processor and chipset. Finally, the tool-free movement continues to flourish, going by the number of tool-free mechanisms found on this chassis.

Unfortunately, the CM 690 is not without its weaknesses. Its substantial weight at 9.8kg proves to be a problem, but is not as bad as it seems for a mid-tower. Rather, it's the design of the chassis that hinders users from getting a decent grip on the chassis. This could make moving this chassis around more difficult and we also didn't appreciate the stiff side panel which requires a fair bit of strength to slide open.

Inside the case, the spacious interior will be a welcome to most enthusiasts with ample room to accommodate even two of the latest NVIDIA high-end GeForce 8800 GTX cards, and although we have to give credit to Cooler Master for including integrated cable management tools, it would have been better if they had more clearance away from the motherboard. In our case, we had to adjust the plastic cable grips in order to fit the motherboard in during installation. The hard drive cage could also use a slight adjustment to provide more room for cabling, though it isn't a real situation if you're already fully using SATA drives.

Overall, the Cooler Master CM 690 has some nifty features that benefit enthusiasts looking to fit a whole battalion of cooling fans into a chassis. Cable management looks promising while the tool-free mechanisms are always welcome. It doesn't hurt too that the meshed design works from an aesthetic point of view, especially clad in black. However, we aren't too sure about the dust factor after a few months of usage. As this chassis has just been released by Cooler Master, we are unable to get a price quote for it currently. We are betting on a reasonable price that will reflect its quality and features but this chassis is definitely not for the budget crowd.