Consumers, users, buyers, or whichever term you want to use, are getting ever pickier about their PC components (those of us that still prefer hardware retailers to supermarkets, at least). They’re much better informed than they used to be, and that means that they often reach for the impossible, trying to switch to a higher price range all the time, which consequently gives them a feel of a lacking PC. Among other things, enclosures evolved over time, trying to benefit from this phenomenon, so that the enclosures of today are far from just a piece of tin used to house the components. More and more users are looking for silence and soundproof designs, and if you offer them some bonuses to top that off, you can count on major interest in your product.
This time, we’re dealing with Cooler Master’s newest, namely a midi-tower enclosure named Silencio 550 (RC-550). The packaging is just like any other, but not in a negative sense; it’s just that it’s all standard purple and green features, with images, specifications etc.
Black is the latest fad these days, and this model shows that very clearly. Black exterior, black interior, even the front panel connectors are black; there’s not a single trace of the kitschy “rainbow-enclosures” we were seeing a few years back, and that’s definitely a welcome change according to us. As this enclosure belongs to the Silent series, as implied by its name, we were expecting a lot in this regard. However, after opening the glossy front door and having a look at the spongy mass that was stuck to its back, it was clear to us that engineers had gone one step further this time around. The front panel has room for two 12 mm fans in total, and only a single one comes preinstalled, spinning at 800 RPM. The panel in front of that fan is completely removable (i.e. almost the entire front of the enclosure), and it contains a net that’s supposed to prevent dust intrusion. We haven’t previously seen this sort of solution, and we have to commend it wholeheartedly, as it’s utterly functional.
Right above it, one can find three 5.25” device slots, as well as a so-called eSATA X-Dock for 3.5” devices (hard disks). We deem this solution to be much more elegant than the one seen on Cooler Master’s 690 Advanced II. On top of 550, you can see (left to right) a USB 3.0 port, microphone and headphone connectors, USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader and power and reset buttons. Even the microphone and speaker connectors are painted black instead of the usual pink and green, which makes this model truly uniformly black. Switching to the inside, the first thing that made us impressed was the weight of the side panel, which is entirely coated in sound isolation material, just like the front door. The same goes for the back as well, which means that this truly is an enclosure entirely dedicated to sound isolation at the highest possible level.
We should also mention an entire seven available places for 3.5” devices, one of which can be used for an SSD. These are mounted in a rather straightforward way, via sliders that come with the enclosure. The seven 3.5” places are split into two cages, with the upper one with four places being removable, which gives you the ability to install graphics cards up to a length of 400 mm, which is more than any card currently on the market can fill. There’s also the literally gaping hole in the right side panel, right below the CPU, so that you can mount all coolers without the need for removing the entire motherboard.
On the back, there’s another 12 cm exhaust fan. Below it are two water-cooling pipe openings and seven PCI slots. The PSU is placed on the bottom, according to an already de-facto standard, and is mounted onto four rubber cushions, in order to reduce vibration and elevate the PSU from the filter, so that the airflow is maximised.
After the initial setup and running the PC in this new enclosure model, we were amazed by the noise this model produces, or to be more precise, doesn’t produce. If you stick your head into the enclosure itself (which we don’t encourage you to do at home), you’ll hear a mild breeze; ten centimetres away from the enclosure, that sound will become barely noticeable; another ten centimetres and you’ll actually be unable to hear whether the fans are spinning at all or not. To top things off, the fans have 3-pin connectors available as well, so that you can additionally silence them, although this really isn’t necessary. Once all the panels are mounted and the elements assembled, this 9.2 kg enclosure simply has no competitors in the noise department. As a final blow, all this is available for a mere 80€. Is this a best buy, then? Most definitely so, and we’re awarding this model accordingly. All that remains now is to enjoy the silence and wait for the competition to roll out their own products onto the market, with a satisfied grin on our faces…
|Cooler Master Silencio 550|
|Size||210 x 415.5 x 505.2 mm|
|Form Factors||ATX, micro ATX|
|Disk Sockets||3+1 x 5.25" / 6+1 x 3.5"|
|I/O Panel||1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x mic, 1 x audio, 1 x SD Card slot|