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Cooler Master CM690 Mid-Tower Enclosure (Page 3)

By: Mike Wright from Nov 4, 2007 @ 23:00 CST
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Cooler Master


Removing the side panel shows the full extent of this new mid tower design. While I usually like to see a removable motherboard tray, the interior offers enough workspace to make installation pretty simple. One trick is to install the system first, then install the power supply. This leaves room for you to work before adding in one of the largest components of the new system.

Starting with the optical tower, you can see that we have a little flexibility here. If you still make use of a 3.5" external device, then you can still add in four optical drives. If you have forgone this type of device, you can remove a sliding FDD mounting tray and open up another 5.25" bay for another optical drive.

Retention of those optical drives is done in a tool-free manner. The mechanisms shown above have a sliding tab in the center that locks the device into place. To remove a device, simply move the tab to the rear and lift the tab up. This removes the two pins that secure the drive in place and allow for easy installs of whatever you have that fits in this space.

And for those who had sharp eyes and noted the screws to the rear edge of the optical bay tower, you will see that there are plenty to handle whatever job you have in mind. There are both standard sizes of screws here, so if you just don't feel secure with a tool-free mechanism, feel free to install them the old fashioned way. Oh, and if there are enough screws here to get the job done, feat not because there is another identical row of screws in the other side of the tower. Just take off the left side panel and you can access them.

The hard drive tower has room for five hard drives with some breathing space in between each drive. I think there would easily be enough room to add a sixth bay, but the designers had a good head on their collective shoulders and decided that airflow was too important to crowd drive together.

The trays you see above are a flimsy plastic material that allow for tool-free installation. When you pull the tray out, you flex it just a bit and insert your hard drive into the pins that are in industry standard locations. Then slide the loaded tray back in place and snap it in. I had no issues at all with movement, stability of the drive or vibration when running a system.

Also of note is the design of the tray. The cabling goes in through the back side. This keeps everything neat and clean as well as helps in maintaining good airflow. There is a blue LED fan mounted in the lower portion of the front bezel so you can expect to have air moving over your hard drives at all times. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is a good thing.

Right next to the base of the hard drive tower is a mount for yet another 120mm fan. This fan is not included, but you can add it if you feel the need. Since this case is slightly raised on rubber feet, this would be an excellent spot for an intake of cool air. Even better, this mount is filtered too!

Moving to the rear portion of the enclosure brings us to the latest Cooler Master tool-free PCI retention system. Each slot has its own latching system so you don't have to mess around with a long arm that opens all slots at once. Simply push down on the top of the brace and roll the latch upward. Install your device and snap the latch back into place. The mechanisms are set close enough to the back panel that tall cards will not be an issue.

And since the latches are made of plastic and they will likely give way well before the case dies, there are still standard screw mount holes to handle the job years down the road.

Above is the mount for the power supply from the inside. The main reason I'm showing this angle is to show you some attention to detail that most manufacturers miss out on. While the ventilation (for the exhaust fan of the PSU) on the bottom panel is common fare, the cushioned standoffs on the mounting feet and surrounding the entire back panel is not. These cushioned areas will help keep your system as quiet as possible since they are designed to absorb any small vibrations that might be emitted by your power supply. Details like this are what helps set some manufacturers apart from the crowd.

Finally, Cooler Master has added some plastic clips to help you in your never ending goal of cable management perfection. While I have mixed feelings about the clips (they don't really secure anything, just helps guide them), the concept is sound and many will find them a blessing. I still like zip ties and hiding the cabling, but this is a good start for those who have not mastered the art of cable management.

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