The huge performance jump, in CPU and GPU power alike, in which we’ve indulged in the past few years, couldn’t have gone “unpunished”. The negative side of all these improvements is the increased energy consumption and heating, which in turn causes the numerous fans inside our enclosures to make their presence heard. The times when we only had two fans inside the enclosure, one on the CPU and the other one on the PSU, seem incredibly long ago. Of course, there’s always the option of sacrificing performance for silence, but when conditions are such that you absolutely require or desire both, you turn to specially tailored enclosures. Cooler Master’s take on the latter is represented by their Silencio series, which contains modern enclosures with a particular penchant from keeping the noise inside.
The model we have at hand is the latest in the family, Silencio 650, third in the row of these noise-suppressing enclosures, and one that offers everything one would expect from a 2012 enclosure, perhaps even more. With its modern and attractive design, a high-quality build and material, this Silencio packs excellent cable management, a fan controller, USB 3.0 connectors, but also something in the line of a DualBoot switch, which enables you to easily select between two HDDs (or SSDs) and thereby which system to boot.
The packaging contains an entire set of plastic rails for HDD mounting, a bag with zip cable tighteners, as well as two smaller bags with all necessary screws. Silencio 650 is visually very different from Cooler Master’s more popular HAF line, so instead of a robust and aggressive exterior, one is treated to simplicity and uniformity. Yet it is this ascetic style and the enclosure’s elegant lines that make it as attractive as most will find it to be. The first thing that occupies one’s attention is the door that covers the front of the enclosure entirely, made out of a single piece of rather thick aluminum. The door really looks impressive, both in mass and its high-quality finish and nicely ground edges, while its inner surface has an extra layer of sound-absorbing foam. The door in question can also be completely removed, making the front devices permanently available; however, the most interesting feature was the ability to open in both from the left and right side. Behind this door, there’s the standard-fare equipment for an enclosure in this category, which means two 120 mm fans in the lower section, covered by another removable plastic panel, containing the dust filter and additionally removes unwanted sound waves. Above these are three empty slots for 5.25” devices, with the bottom one being an X-dock, meaning that you can install any 3.5” or 2.5” HDD/SSD into it, as long as you connect the appropriate SATA and power cables to its back panel. Moving onto the upper, more interesting surface, it contains an I/O panel with all necessary connectors, including two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, two 3.5 mm audio jacks (input/output), as well as an SD card reader, which is a nice touch indeed.
There are the inevitable Power and Reset buttons, but also two slider controllers, the right one being in charge of RPM rate settings for chassis fans, while the other one serves as the primary drive switch, essentially serving as a boot device selector, which can be very neat if you actively use two operating systems. This entire panel is covered by a sliding plastic door, while the opposite end of the top surface contains another such door, hiding an opening for an additional 120/140 mm exhaust fan.Of course, the latter also contains a dust filter, so there are no worries about accelerated dust collection inside. The rest of the exterior is rather uniform and standard, with no windows or openings on either side panel; the sides are entirely flat, which makes sense entirely having in mind their noise-absorbing role. The back side contains not only the opening for the motherboard’s I/O panel, but also an exhaust slot with a 120 mm fan, with rubber-coated circle slots right above it, serving as potential pipe openings in case the user opts for a water-cooled interior. The PSU section is also as typical as it gets, situated at the bottom. We appreciated the fact that the entire enclosure uses tall, high-quality rubber bumpers to lie on the floor or other supporting surface.
It takes merely seconds after first removing the side panel to understand just how far soundproofing the interior of Silencio 650 goes. Literally every applicable surface is covered with high-quality noise-absorbing foam. Of course, both tin side panels have textured, uneven isolation on the inside, which does wonders for noise, but hardly so for airflow. The whole of the interior is matte black, characterized by spaciousness, despite the enclosure being mid-tower, which is especially important in case of longer graphics cards. Still, should the need arise, the upper 3.5” cage can be removed, which grants sufficient space for even the longest models on the market. As already stated, the PSU slot is located at the bottom and is sufficiently long, housing even the largest PSUs effortlessly. The grid-like opening covered by a dust filter stretches across the entire bottom surface and enables adequate air intake for PSU cooling. The back side has a total of 7+1 extension slots (aka PCI slots), which is enough for up to three graphics cards in the SLI/CrossFireX mode, while the motherboard holder contains a large opening for easing the installation of more advanced CPU coolers. On the right, just behind the front fans, are two HDD/SSD cages rotated by 90 degrees. The upper one is removable, and mounting standard HDDs is as simple as it gets, with the help of the supplied plastic rails. All that needs to be done is to tighten the plastic rails onto the drive and subsequently insert the entire “construction” into the slot, which completes the procedure and leaves the HDD securely in the cage. As for the “roof”, as already stated, it has a single slot for an extra exhaust fan, while the rest of the surface is soundproofed; there’s no leeway for another fan or a water-cooling radiator, which may be a limiting factor to some.
As for general functionality, there’s little to reproach to Silencio 650, but more importantly, this model really does what it claims to, with noise neutralization at its extreme. A total of seven fans working at maximum RPM (two front, one back, one top, one CPU and one PSU fan) were unable to penetrate the sound isolation and generate any audible noise outside the enclosure. We can freely say that Cooler Master has done an excellent job, so for everyone who considers silence in his/her working environment a must, feel free to place this model at the top of your priorities. The only thing that may bother certain folks is the lack of airflow flexibility compared to other models, but keep in mind that the existing airflow is still unhindered and sufficient even in overclocking scenarios. Finally, the utmost level of production and material quality rounds up the model so nicely that we can only give Silencio 650 our warmest recommendation.