The upper part is the one that undertook the greatest changes. The front panel contains eSATA as well as two USB 2.0 ports and the headset connector couple. Also present are, of course, power and reset buttons, the latter being rather difficult to press if you have fingers larger in girth (the same goes for front fan LED on/off button). The only thing we find missing is a Firewire connector. However, the most notable change on the case is the so-called X-Dock. This is basically a hoisted SATA connector for 2.5” and 3.5” HDDs, which means that no additional drawers will be needed for this device type. The side panel is the same as ever - non-transparent and containing two fan slots, for fans with a diameter of 140 mm or less (120 mm and even 90 mm fans fit just as well).
The back panel remained unchanged for the most part as well, except for the addition of a “bar” and a screw which can be used to tie up the remained of the cables for your mouse/keyboard. The upper part of the case contains water cooling openings, so that it can be effortlessly installed should the need arise. However, this case has definitely undergone the most extensive treatment “under the hood”. The thing that you’ll notice the second you open it is that the inside is now coloured entirely black. The front side of the interiors contains six 3.5” slots, part of which - that is, four of them - can be removed with a belonging cage and thus make room for a double water cooling radiator. In charge of cooling the hard disks is a blue LED “fourteen”, declared to 1200 RPM. HDD installation is done via plastic carriers which are nearly omnipresent in Cooler Master cases lately. 5.25” devices are also secured via plastic carriers, containing “lock” and “open” positions. You can always take them down and install your devices the classic way, using screws, if you desire. The bottom of the case is entirely riddled with holes and supports installation of two 140 mm fans (or smaller). Alongside these, there’s also a PSU installation spot on the back side, which contains small pieces of rubber, in order to minimise vibrations and therefore noise. Besides seven PCI slot openings, the back side also packs a 120 mm exhaust fan, working at 1200 RPM just like the other ones. The side of the case which usually contains the motherboard integrates an opening, used to enable installation of more massive coolers that would otherwise require the motherboard to be taken out. Nothing new, but definitely underused and useful solution which, combined with the fan opening of 80x15 mm may reduce CPU temperature by a few additional degrees. Besides the aforementioned, this side of the case is really choke full of cable hiding spots, which makes neat cable management very simple to perform and maintain.
The top side of the case comes with a 140 mm fan preinstalled, but another one can be fitted in nicely, which means that a total of ten fans can be installed in this case. The noise these factory-shipped fans make is supportable even at full speed, so that it isn’t bothersome even though you can hear a steady flow of air through the nets. The fans all contain a 3-pin connector and the possibility of speed reduction, so that you can customise the noise levels if you really need to.
All advantages of this enclosure considered, plus a rich bundle containing, among other things, a graphics card bracket with support for 3-way SLI, 2-in-1 2.5” and 1.8” SSD adapter, plus three fans with belonging filters, and all that at a price point lower than 100€, this is clearly a fantastic case which can cover a huge range of users, from hardcore gamers to enthusiasts and less proficient users. Add to all this the fact that there will also be a “Lite” variant of this case on the market soon, costing around 20€ less, due to not packing the same amount of additional equipment, and you really get a case which can easily be tailored to each user’s needs, taste, and most of all, budget. This is clearly a best-buy in this price range.
|Cooler Master 690 II Advanced|
|Dimensions||214.5 x 511.8 x 528.8 mm|
|Supported form factors||Micro ATX, ATX|
|5.25"/3.5" slots||4 / 6+1|
|I/O Panel||2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA, 1 x Mic, 1 x Phones|
|Price||around 97 EUR|