Casings Guide

Cooler Master CM690 (RC-690) review

Cooler Master CM 690

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Interior Design

Interior Design

One of the major features of the CM 690 is the number of system fans that can be mounted in this chassis. The retail unit comes with three such fans already pre-installed, one at the rear, the front and one the side panel. These are 120mm fans rated at 21 decibels or less, so they should be very quiet. Additional mounting locations are found at the top of the chassis, one more at the side panel and another 120mm fan at the bottom. That's a total of seven and though it's hard to imagine anyone using the full complement available, keeping with slower spinning 120mm fans for all of them should keep the noise level humanly tolerable.

As one would expect from a modern chassis, tool-free is the key word here and the CM 690 has made sure that the inevitable screwdriver is kept to a minimum. In fact, Cooler Master has integrated the screws into the chassis itself. Instead of having them packed in small plastic bags, all the screws you'll ever need have already been screwed into the chassis in the factory. All you'll have to do is to select and unscrew the ones that you require and use them at the proper locations.

The rest of the chassis is mostly tool-free, from the seven expansion slots that rely on plastic locks to the external drive bays, which are secured simply using a snap lock plastic mechanism that aligns to the screw holes on the drives.

Obviously, the motherboard is one such area where screws are still necessary. The CM 690 supports microATX as well as standard ATX form factor motherboards. While the chassis appears to be roomy with ample space internally, Cooler Master's inclusion of integrated cable management tools has actually reduced available space. During installation testing, we found our motherboard touching the plastic grips that are included for cable management. If you happen to have a deeper non standard ATX board, fitting may become a problem with this chassis. Although having such cable management tools are a step forward, we would have preferred that there was more allowance given between the motherboard.

Another potential problem seems to involve the hard drive cage, of which there are five slots available. A handy snap-on holder allows each hard drive to be installed without any screws and users can easily slot the hard drive into the cage. This would have been very useful, but there is one drawback. Basically, there seems to be little room at the rear for the cables, hence installing them may involve some creative cable routing. This issue is alleviated somewhat if you're using the thinner SATA cables but for IDE hard drives, it does seem rather cramped at the back of the hard drives. At least vibration is reduced thanks to the dampeners found on the hard drive holder.