Cooler Master CM 690 is the most popular case from Cooler Master and because of its popularity the manufacturer decided to revamp it. The new version, called CM 690 II, will be available on stores this month and is available in two versions, “regular” (USD 80, a.k.a. RC-692-KKN3-GP) and “Advanced” (USD 100, a.k.a. RC-692-KKN2-GP). Let’s see what is new and the differences between the two versions.
The overall aspect of the new CM 690 II follows the same design of the original CM 690, as you can see on Figures 1 and 2. The overall aspect of both “regular” and “advanced” versions is the same, the difference between them is on certain features that we will be covering throughout the review.
The front panel of CM 690 II is practically identical to the CM 690’s, with the difference that the previous model has five 5.25” bays while the new model has four. The bay covers are meshed for improving ventilation, featuring air filters. There is a 140 mm fan on the front panel (1,200 rpm, 19 dBA, glows blue when turned on with an on/off switch for the LED’s, using a three-pin fan connector and coming with an adapter if you want to connect the fan directly on the power supply), whereas on the original CM 690 this fan was a 120 mm model. You can remove this 140 mm fan to either install a 120 mm fan or two 80 mm fans. You can also adjust where exactly you want this fan. It comes installed on the upper part of the frame (see Figure 4) but you can move it to the bottom part, in order to better match where you have your hard disk drives installed. An air filter is available on the front panel for the front fan(s).
[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
The top panel from CM 690 II is completely different from the one used on the original CM 690. The new CM 690 II comes with one 140 mm fan (1,200 rpm, 19 dBA, using a three-pin fan connector and coming with an adapter if you want to connect the fan directly on the power supply) and a space for installing a second 140 mm or a 120 mm fan on this panel. On the product box there is a factual error, it says this case comes with a 120 mm fan on the top panel, but this fan is actually a 140 mm model. There is an air filter on this panel.
The buttons and connectors are available on the top panel, and CM 690 II comes with two USB ports (far away from each other), one eSATA port, an on/off switch for the LED’s from the front fan, the audio jacks and the reset and standby buttons. The Advanced model comes with a hard disk drive bay on the top panel, feature not present on the regular model. This bay allows you to install a 2.5” or 3.5” storage device externally. The sticker that comes attached to this bay is misleading since it says this bay does not support hot-swap, which is not entirely true. If you configure the SATA port where this bay will be connected to under AHCI mode and correctly configure the operating system, this bay can be used as a hot-swap device.
The bottom panel, portrayed in Figure 7, has big rubber feet and air filters for the optional fans that you can install on the bottom of the case. Like the original CM 690, on CM 690 II the power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case.
Finally we have the rear panel in Figure 8, which is somewhat different from the original CM 690. The first thing that caught our eye was the fact that the rear panel is now painted black, the same happening with the interior from this case, giving CM 690 II a very professional looks. A 120 mm fan (1,200 rpm, 19 dBA, using a three-pin fan connector and coming with an adapter if you want to connect the fan directly on the power supply) comes installed on this panel – the original CM 690 has a space for installing this fan but the product doesn’t come with it. Two holes for hoses from liquid cooling systems were added. They come with rubber covers so you don’t need to break anything on your case to use them. The slot covers are not vented, but this case comes with a slot above the regular expansion slots for you to install an optional blower to remove hot air from inside the computer, feature not available on the original CM 690.
Now let’s take a look inside Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced Edition.
[nextpage title=”Inside CM 690 II Advanced Edition”]
Both panels are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews, which is excellent. Before talking about the interior from CM 690 II we must talk about the two side panels, shown in Figure 9. The left panel has space for installing two 80-, 92-, 120- or 140 mm fans, while you can install an 80 mm fan on the right panel, to cool down the area behind where the CPU is installed. The case comes with only one spare air filter, which can be used with one of the left-side fans. They could have included a spare air filter for the second left-panel fan and for the right-panel fan as well.
The interior from the new CM 690 II is way better than the original CM 690, making it to be on a complete new category in terms of aesthetics and design. First, as mentioned, the interior is completely painted black, giving the case a very professional looks. This case comes with a big hole on the motherboard tray for you to have access to the backplate from the CPU cooler, allowing you to replace it without having to remove the motherboard, and four big holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray. The motherboard tray also features several clips for holding zip-lock ties.
This case allows the installation of video cards up to 12” (30.5 cm) long. Cooler Master also points out that the CPU cooler cannot be more than 7” (17.7 cm) tall.
[nextpage title=”Inside CM 690 II Advanced Edition (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 12 you can have another overall look from inside CM 690 II. On this picture you can see the top 140 mm fan, the space for installing a 120- or 140 mm fan on the top panel, the rear 120 mm fan and the expansion slots. Daughter boards are fastened to the chassis using black thumbscrews. The original CM 690 uses individual plastic retention mechanisms for the expansion cards and we liked the improvement – from our experience these plastic mechanisms tend to break rather easily.
According to the manufacturer, if you remove the top fan you can install radiators from certain liquid cooling solutions that use two 140 mm fans.
In Figure 13, you can see the bottom panel. You can install one 120- or 140 mm fan there. If you remove the bottom hard disk cage, you can install another 120 mm fan or a radiator with two 140 mm fans from liquid cooling solutions, as long as you have a power supply that fits together. As we’ve shown in Figure 7, this panel features air filters.
The Advanced model comes with a retention mechanism for video cards, supporting up to three video cards, to ensure that heavy video cards will have an additional support.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
Cooler Master CM 690 II comes with four 5.25” bays feature a very easy to use screwless retention mechanism. As mentioned, the original CM 690 has five 5.25” bays.
The reviewed case comes with six 3.5” bays for hard disk drives, separated in two cages. The top cage holds two bays and is permanently attached to the chassis. The bottom cage holds four bays and you can remove it if you want to install a second fan on the bottom panel, a radiator for liquid cooling solutions on the bottom panel or if you just want a higher airflow and have only one or two hard drives.
You can install an optional 120 mm fan on the left side of the hard disk drive cages. Like it happens with the front fan, you can choose between installing it aligned with the top bays or with the bottom bays.
Each 3.5” bay is actually a little drawer. The pegs the hold each hard drive have a rubber piece to absorb the hard drive vibration, thus preventing the noise generated by the hard drive from propagating to the chassis.
The Advanced model comes with an adapter to allow the installation of two 2.5” or 1.8” devices (mostly SSD units) on any 3.5” bay. This adapter is the device on the left-hand side from Figure 18.
This case comes with brackets that allows the conversion of any 5.25” into an external 3.5” bay, in order for you to install a floppy disk drive or a memory card reader.
In Figure 19, you can see all the accessories that come with the Advanced version.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced case main specs include:
- Style: Mid-tower
- Application: ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC), painted black.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: Black.
- Side panel: Meshed.
- Dimensions: 20 1/8” x 8 ½” x 20 7/8” (51.2 cm x 21.5 cm x 52.9 cm) (H x W x D).
- Net weight: 20.5 lbs (9.2 kg)
- Gross weight: 26 lbs (11.8 kg)
- Bays: Four external 5.25” bays (comes with one 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter), six internal 3.5” bays and one external HDD bay (Advanced model only). Adaptor to convert one 3.5” bay in two 2.5” or 1.8” bays (Advanced model only).
- Expansion slots: Seven.
- Fans: One 140 mm on the front (1,200 rpm, 19
dBA, glowing blue), one 140 mm on the top (1,200 rpm, 19 dBA) and one 120 mm on the rear (1,200 rpm, 19 dBA).
- Optional fans: Two 80 mm fans on the front (if the 140 mm fan is removed), two 80-, 92-, 120- or 140 mm fans on the left panel, one 80 mm fan on the right panel, one 120- or 140 mm fan on the top panel, one 120- or 140 mm fan on the bottom panel, another 120 mm fan on the bottom panel (if the bottom hard drive cage is removed), one 120 mm fan on the hard drive cage.
- More Information: https://www.coolermaster.com
- Suggested price in the US*: USD 80.00 (regular) or USD 100.00 (Advanced, which is the version we reviewed)
Cooler Master CM 690 II is one of the most complete mid-tower cases around, targeted towards ventilation. We couldn’t find any real weakness on this case: it is a very-well constructed case with a terrific cost/benefit ratio that will please average users and enthusiasts alike.
- Supports up to 11 fans (Cooler Master is saying that it supports 10 fans, but they forgot that you can remove the front 140 mm fan and replace it with two 80 mm models).
- Meshed bay covers.
- Hole in the motherboard tray for accessing the backplate of the CPU cooler.
- Holes for routing cables on the motherboard tray with rubber covers.
- Clips for fastening zip-lock ties.
- eSATA port.
- The two USB ports are far away from each other, allowing you to install two “fat” devices at the same time.
- Air filters everywhere (top, front and bottom panels).
- Thumbscrews for fastening expansion cards.
- Support for a blower on top of the expansion cards to remove hot air from inside the computer.
- Screwless mechanisms for fastening drives.
- The number of hard drive bays (six) will please even the hardcore user.
- Supports the installation of radiators from certain liquid cooling solutions on the top and bottom panels.
- No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.
- Bracket for holding video cards (Advanced model only).
- Two bays for SSD units (Advanced model only).
- External HDD bay (Advanced model only).
- Slot covers could be meshed.
- No air filter for all side fans.