Cooler Master 690Feb 4th, 2008 | By Archive
Cooler Master 690
: 02/4/08 – 01:49:36 AM
Page 1 : Index
Cooler Master is a company that is already well known to Overclockers Online, bringing forth quality coolers, cases, as well as power supplies.
Today, they present a mid-tower chassis, the Cooler Master 690 case. With a smooth metal side panels, and full mesh top and front panels, it is very obvious that Cooler Master wanted this case to stand out appearance-wise.
A computer chassis is the first thing one sees when looking at a computer. It serves a very important purpose as the computer's structural exoskeleton. Computer cases should be built strong, tough, and user friendly. Nobody enjoys working with a case that is hard to work with; features such as motherboard trays and hard drive racks make life easier. The 690 appears to be a very top notch case when looking at the specifications, yet they mean nothing until it goes through the hands of a reviewer at Overclockers Online to see first hand how the cooling performance is, and if the quality of the case is indeed excellent.
Page 2 : Package and Contents
The 690 comes in a standard cardboard box with lots of pictures on the front.
Just by examining the front picture, with the full black outfit and chrome linings, you can see that Cooler Master was aiming for a mixture of a futuristic appearance with the sophistication of minimalism.
The side of the box shows all of the case's specifications.
Included with the case is a 3-pin to molex connector, brass standoffs, a manual, as well as a 5.25" to 3.5" drive bay cover adapter. Where are the screws?
And a little sneak peak, but before we unveil the case, let's have a look at the specifications.
Page 3 : Specifications
As on the Cooler Master website, these are the specifications:
The features listed are:
The 690 is made of SECC metal, a strong and dense steel which makes the case relatively heavy. The case can accommodate up to seven 120mm fans, where two are already included in the front and back. Cooler Master really wanted this case to be fully ventilated in order to give the user the best cooling efficiency when overclocking, but having seven fans in the case would be very loud. Also notice the various tool-free features implemented into the 690; PCI slots and all drive bays are designed to be installed without screws. Very convenient.
Now that we have covered specifications, let's move on to seeing the case.
Page 4 : Exterior
The 690 case comes in a very standard method of protection; two Styrofoam guards and a plastic bag.
The case feels really tough and heavy, and would be thought of to take a lot of damage before even denting. The mesh top and front looks very clean and the bezel finished side panels complete the look.
The rear of the case reveals the the 690 situates the power supply on the bottom, which may or may not be a problem depending on the power supplies wire length.
The entire case is secured by two rubber feet at the bottom. The feet are made of a very hard rubber and has a rough texture for extra grip. It's perfect for users who place their computers on their desktop.
The top of the case is made of mesh, and most of it is ventilated into the inside of the case to allow fan cooling.
The external connections are located on the top, and include two USB ports, FireWire, audio ports, and an eSATA port.
The power and reset switches are chrome finished, and located at the side corner of the case.
Now that we are finished inspecting the exterior, let's move onto the insides.
Page 5 : Interior
Removing the side panel only requires you to remove two thumbscrews.
The interior of the 690 has very little sharp edges making installation much less hazardous to your fingers!
On the inside, there are a series of plastic clips which make wire managment a lot easier to handle.
The tool-less design of the 5.25" drive bays are made of plastic, and have little studs that go into the drives in place of screws. Remember how we thought there were no screws included? Well they were hiding along the drive rail! Very neat design by Cooler Master.
The internal 3.5" bays are all filled with plastic trays that hold hard drives.
The PCI slots are all tool-less for convenience.
Cooler Master has even put in a foam seal around the power supply mount to keep the case from scratching the PSU. Very user-friendly thinking by Cooler Master.
There are several motherboard connectors for the top panel as well as the molex connectors for the two fans.
Now that the full interior has been explored, let's see how the installation process is like.
Page 6 : Installation
With various tool-less installation features, a very quick and easy setup is anticipated.
Inserting and securing the motherboard is the first step, which is straight forward and simple.
Putting in the power supply is also a snap.
The plastic material of the hard drive trays are very flimsy and have to be bent slightly to remove and to insert the hard drive. This may be awkward to some to not have anything solid to secure the hard drive, but this keeps screws out of the picture. The whole process of getting the hard drive in is very fast nonetheless.
The installation of a CD drive is very quick; one snap and a click and the drive is locked in place.
The tool-less design of the PCI slots is also easy to use, and also gives the same sturdiness of a screw.
The installation of the system is completed with wiring, so now that the system is up and running, let's see how it performs.
Page 7 : Testing
The testing is set up to test thermal cooling performance of the case. The specifications of the system are:
- DFI LanParty Ultra-D
- AMD Opteron 148 s939 @ 2.5GHz
- OCZ EL Plat. Rev.2 (TCCD) 2x512MB @ 2-2-2-5, 200MHz
- OCZ ModStream 450W
- Sapphire Radeon X800GTO2 flashed to X850XT
- Zalman VF700-Cu
- Thermaltake Big Typhoon
The ambient temperature remained at 25 degrees throughout testing. Here are the results:
In idle, the cases are only slightly hotter than having an open air system. In load however, the 690 performs a little better than the open air system, making the 690 above average in cooling performance. However, the two included 120mm fans and a very efficient mesh design, the 690 case is able to perform even better than the Apevia X-Telstar equipped with three 120mm fans. The noise level of the case is very low, most likely because of the steel material used acts as a dampener. With five more available slots for 120mm fans, the 690 is very expandable when it comes to cooling, and also has enough internal space to accommodate water cooling. Overall the Cooler Master 690 performed above average in cooling.
Page 8 : Conclusion
Cooler Master is a very reliable source of computer products, and the 690 case is no different. With minimalistic black styling, a mesh shell, and chrome outlines, the 690 is one of the most visually appealing cases I have ever seen. Combined with an arsenal of tool-less features, the 690 case is a top-notch case.
However, due to a lower level cooling performance, the 690 does not shine as bright as the more efficiently cooled cases. With the vast selection of computer cases out on the market, one can easily be overwhelmed with the choices. Having the 690 case out on the market gives everyone a very fine option for a case that is strong, visually stunning, and easy to install. I would definitely recommend the 690 to enthusiasts looking for a new case to showoff.
- Stylish exterior
- Strong steel material
- Good grip on the bottom feet
- Tool-less designs
- Cooling performance could be better
Overclockers Online would like to thank Cooler Master for making this review possible.