It's always a happy day when a new, mysterious box of unknown product arrives at the gates of Maximum PC. Specifically, my desk. Today's latest offering comes straight from Cooler Master, and it was wholly unexpected -- as we say at magazine, "surprise and delight!" Like a kid on Some Major December-ish Holiday, I tore open the packaging to find three new goodies: Cooler Master's new CM 690 chassis, a Glacier 600 cooler for ATI 2900XT video cards, and a Hydra cooler for Nvidia 8800-series cards.
I didn't shoot a picture of it, but this box was wrapped in more tape and cardboard than any package I've received this year. Unpacking the case's
took probably as long as it would take to mount a rig in the chassis.
An exterior shot of the 690's left side shows its copious space for air-cooling. In total, the chassis comes with space for nine fans.
. We might have a worthy contender to the
Here's an awesome little innovation -- Cooler Master has included all the screws you need for assembly... directly in the case. These are mainly for the hard drive bays, as everything else on the chassis
screwless. Still, it's a wonder that no other case designer has thought of this fun way for users to preserve their screws (least, we haven't seen any cases do this over the past year). Take that, Ziploc bags.
First off, sorry this picture is huge. But It does a wonderful job of illustrating the 690's screwless hard drive bays. Well, semi-screwless. As previously mentioned, you still have to attach the drive
the holder. But after that, it's just a simple pop-in, pop-out whenever you need to shuffle the drive around. You can't see it in the shot, but there's a fan pumping air into the case on the right, snuggled up against the front of the chassis.
Another big picture, I know, I know. But you can see how the 690 uses Cooler Master's typical, screwless setup for the PCI slots. I fondly recall the first Cooler Master case I ever reviewed; snapped one of these blue tabs clean off. Careful!
While you can still wrap your cables around the back of the motherboard tray, the 690 comes with a series of handy little clamps that, in theory, should prevent you from making a mess of the inside of your case.
Two grills sit on the bottom of the case -- curiously, Cooler Master includes the case's only screw-less fan mounting mechanism on one of the bottom grills. This would have been perfect in another area, methinks.