|Name||PC case: Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced|
|At a glance:||External hard drive dock,Good ventilation,Tool-less drive bays,Solid construction with all black interior|
|Summary:||Another winning case from Cooler Master that won't blow the budget.|
The Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced case is a follow up to the immensely popular CM 690 originally released back in 2007. The sub-$200 market has become somewhat saturated in the last couple of years with excellent new cases and the first CM 690 was starting to look a little outclassed, so Cooler Master have released this updated version to help them stay in the game.
There are actually two different CM 690 II cases available but the one we’re looking at today is the Advanced variant. For an approximate $30 premium over the vanilla CM 690 II, the Advanced case gives you a GPU retention bracket, an external HDD dock and an internal SSD bay.
Almost the entire top, front and bottom bezels of the CM 690 II Advanced are plastic and steel mesh, meaning ventilation in this case should be excellent. Up to ten case fans in total can be supported, although only three are supplied – one 120mm fan and two 140mm fans (one with blue LED lighting to bling out the case a little).
The top panel has standard-issue power/reset switches, USB, audio and eSATA ports, as well as a switch to turn the blue LED lighting on and off.
Also on the top panel is a very unique feature – an external hard drive dock. This has a power and data connector which you can slot any 2.5in or 3.5in hard drive into, and you can configure it to either use the disk as a boot drive or a hot-swap drive for full speed data transfers.
The side panel has space for two 140mm fans, whilst the front bezel can hold one. The other side panel can house one 80mm fan directly underneath the motherboard to keep the CPU socket cool, which is a nice touch. Removing this panel also gives you access to the CPU backplate via a hole in the motherboard tray (handy for getting CPU coolers on and off).
This case is also configured to house a full water cooling setup – two 240mm radiators can be mounted top and bottom, and there are pre-cut tubing holes on the back panel.
The power supply is bottom-mounted with anti-vibration rubber supports preinstalled. There are four large rubber feet holding the case over a centimetre off the ground, which enables fresh room-temperature air into the power supply’s intake.
Inside the fully painted black interior there are four 5.25in tool-less drive bays and six 3.5in tool-less drive bays with rubber anti-vibration mounts.
The motherboard tray is raised with holes allowing you to run cables beneath it to keep things nice and tidy, with plenty of anchor points for cable ties as well.
Installing my ATX motherboard, Prolimatech CPU cooler, ATI 5870 video card and Corsair 620W power supply posed no difficulties at all. The steel construction is nice and solid, cable management was a breeze, and a front-to-back air circulation configuration kept the system running nice and cool.
For a $200 case I can’t really fault the CM 690 II Advanced. It has plenty of features to keep the enthusiasts happy, a subtle, almost minimalist design, and top quality construction. Excellent stuff.