- Category: PC Cases
- Published: Thursday, 22 April 2010 20:00
- Written by garfi3ld
Sometimes it’s hard to improve on an already popular design. You risk losing what made the original so popular, but if you don’t continue to innovate and change things you will be out of date in no time. This is where Cooler Master was stuck when redesigning the popular 690. Today we are taking a look at the 690 II, a complete redesign of an already amazing case. Let’s see is the case still has what made the original so great.
Product Name: Cooler Master 690 II Advanced
Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Steel body / Plastic + Mesh bezel
214.5 x 511.8 x 528.8 mm
Net Weight: 9.56 kg / 21.08 lbs
Micro - ATX / ATX / Mini-ITX(supports)
5.25" Drive Bay
4 (without the use of exposed 3.5" drive bay)
3.5" Drive Bay
2.5" Drive Bay
2 (From 3.5" HDD Cage)
USB2.0 x 2, eSATAx 1, MIC x 1 Audio x 1
7 + 1
Front: 140 x 25 mm Blue LED fan x 1 / 1200 RPM / 19 dBA
Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)
Supports Top and Bottom
Liquid Cooling Retaining Hole
CPU Retaining Hole
Removable HDD Cage
The 690 II came packed up in a box with a large picture of the case in the front. On the back you have pictures of the case from each angle with each of the 690 II’s main features highlighted. Inside the case is wrapped up in the typical plastic bag with Styrofoam on each end to keep it safe in shipping.
You don’t have to sit the 690 II next to the original to see the resemblance, its clear where this case gets its good looks from. The twin chrome stripes going up and down the top and front of the case really pop and give it that 690 style. The original 690 wasn’t without fault, the placement of both the power button and front i/o plate where questionable at best. This time around everything is up top in an easy to find location. The power and reset buttons are both simple black plastic buttons and the i/o panel includes two USB, an eSATA port, and standard microphone and headphone plugs. Along with the other switches there is a small button on the left side that turns the blue fan lighting on and off.
Behind the front I/O panel Cooler Master snuck in a fully hot swappable hard drive dock with a dark tinted cover that keeps the dust out when not in use. The hot swap is easy to use and is a perfect way to show off one of the old RaptorX’s if you have one sitting around (I used a Velociraptor for our photos). The entire front and top of the 690 II is mesh, giving more than enough breathing room. If that’s not enough the left side has two holes for 120mm fans in place of a side window.
Inside Cooler Master gave the 690 II the full treatment with a full black finish. Unlike past cases the 690 II’s black finish is a wrinkle finish that feels a little more durable than other finishes. The redesigned interior has an access hole for the back of the CPU and wire management holes all along both the side and bottom of your motherboard. The four 5 ¼ drive bay’s all have a newly designed tool less design that is as easy as flipping a switch. Six of their flexible drive bays should make it easy to store all the drives that you need. They included an adapter to fit an SSD in the drive bays. To keep things cool there are three 120mm fans, one up top, one on the back, and another in front of the hard drives. I was surprised they didn’t use one of the larger 180 or 200mm fans up top like we have seen recently.
Installing our test rig into the 690 II went smooth thanks to easy wire management and the simple tool less devices for both the disc drives and hard drive bays. The revamped power button is a major improvement over the old setup, the button that controls the LED is a little difficult to push but you shouldn’t be using it much once you decide if you want to have your lighting on. The three 120mm fans did a more than adequate job of keeping our rig chilled while not being loud. In fact if you for some reason need more cooling you can add a fan to the side panel, but I don’t see any reason to need to improve on something that works so well. The most interesting part of the 690 II is the inclusion of the hard drive dock on top. During testing the drive dock was perfect for swapping out drives as needed or showing off a drive like the Raptor X.
So the question is, with all of the changes, is the 690 II as good as or better than the original? I can say without a doubt that they improved the 690 in every way without losing what the original was all about. The only thing they could do to improve on the formula is include a side panel window, but you can pick one up for a small amount on their website. Even with the side window this is an amazing case, you couldn’t ask for a better follow up to one of Cooler Master’s best cases.