Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced Case Reviewjlqrb - January 6, 2010
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The Cooler Master CM 690 was released into the market in 2007 and has since become one of Cooler Master's more successful cases. The reason for this success was due to it being a case designed with enthusiasts in mind, but at the same time offer features, simplicity, and a low enough price to make it a good fit for users regardless of their computing needs. Even though it was commercially successful, the case was not without some criticism. Many did not like the cable management system, flimsy feeling power and reset switches, or the awkward placement of the front I/O ports. On top of this, the sub $100 dollar case market has become quite crowded in the last year and you really need to push the envelope to stand out in it and stay competitive. So, in the development of the CM 690 II Cooler Master not only turned to their development team, but also focus groups and end-user suggestions, to create a case that keeps the best aspects of its predecessor, but also adds features and innovations that will improve upon the original design.
Cooler Master is releasing the case as both the CM 690 II and CM 690 II Advanced. Each case will be a mid-sized steel chassis that is visually the same and have most of the same features, but the advanced model will include a few additional goodies and a higher price tag than the non-advanced model. The additional features of the Advanced version are a GPU retention bracket, 2-1 SSD bay and an external hard drive dock. These features will make it more appealing and should really increase the demand for the case in the enthusiast market. Also, there is no need for fans of original to worry about the CM 690 as it not going anywhere soon. The reason being is that the release of the CM 690 II will not phase it out, instead the new cases will become part of the existing CM line-up.
The case comes packaged in an appealing high gloss black box. The front of the packaging has an angled image of the CM 690 II, with the name and company logo next to the image. The back of the box shows both internal and external views of the case from a few different angles, with a few smaller images below that show off some of the new features of the case. Turning the box to the sides, you see that one side has the listed specifications for the case and the other an image CM 690 II.
With the box open, you can see that the CM 690 II is wrapped in a thin plastic layer and is secured into the packaging with two Styrofoam inserts on each side of the case. The accessories that are included consist of installation screws, motherboard stand-offs, 3.5" bracket, cable ties, 5.25" to 3.5" mesh panel, plastic rivets, a buzzer, and a VGA retention bracket; most of these accessories will be found in both the regular and advanced models except the VGA retention bracket. The bracket is for SLI and Crossfire users to reduce the amount of strain two or three large graphics cards can add to the motherboard. The bracket, when installed, sits next to your graphics cards and is secured in place by two screws through the back of the case that can be adjusted to fit different card set-ups or motherboards. The bracket also has the option to house a 80mm case fan for additional VGA cooling.
Now that we have looked packaging of the CM 690 II, we can move on and take a closer look at the case.