Cooler Master N600 Review
Reviewed by: red454
Reviewed on: July 28, 2013
Cooler Master N600 Introduction:
Over the years, Cooler Master has been known for a wide variety of products - power supplies, fans, CPU coolers, and gaming peripherals - but for me the first thing that comes to mind is the wide range of Cooler Master cases. From the HAF and COSMOS series monster cases down to the LAN box, Cooler Master has a case for you. Recently I reviewed the N200 and it is really a nice little case packed with features.
At the other end of the spectrum is the N600. This is a mid tower case with even more features. If you are a fan of liquid cooling and many fan mounting locations, you will love this case. Ever seen a side radiator? Well, this case supports it. Up to 280mm on top and 240mm on the side.
Cooler Master N600 Closer Look:
First, let's look at the box. Up front we have a nice color graphic of the case and on the rear there are three shots that illustrate the internal features of the N600 with a set of detailed feature descriptions in eight languages in the charts below the images. On the ends we have a nice 3/4 view profile picture and full list of features.
The top is fairly simple. Just the Cooler Master logo and the model - and of course, the usual shipping labels. Open the top and the N600 is ready to be unpacked. There is something about opening a big case box - it makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.
Heavy Styrofoam end caps keep everything in pristine condition. A plastic bag does its job and protects the case on the journey to your door from the wear induced by the Styrofoam in transit. Remove the main packing and there is generous use of clear plastic film to cover the front trim and side window.
Coolermaster N600 Closer Look:
When I pulled the case out of the box, I realized just how much larger and how much heavier it is compared to its little N200 brother. It retains the same classic style as the others in the N series, but on a much larger scale. The case measures 207 x 455 x 520 mm / 8.1 x 17.9 x 18.9 inch. The entire front is a metal mesh for air flow. There is a plastic rib that runs vertically on the right and contains the mounting for all of the front I/O along with the Cooler Master logo. Looking at the front of the case, we have three bays for optical drives. Very conservative, but certainly not boring.
At the rear we have at the upper left a switch for fan speed control, which we will talk about later. Then there are two rubber grommets for external water cooling lines, a 120mm (included) rear cooling fan, seven expansion slots, and to the right of the normal horizontal expansion slots, there is one vertical expansion slot. These are often used as space saving places to mount fan controllers, or a USB expansion card that doesn't plug into the motherboard. And at the bottom is the space for the PSU.
On top we have the ventilation grid with mounting holes for up to a 280mm radiation and either two 120mm or two 140mm fans. There is a mesh filter attached from inside. Looking at the bottom we have the filter for the PSU.
The sides of the case are fairly standard. Both are flat and we will see if there is enough space for cable management. One side has a nice flush mounted window, and on the other side there is a large vent for... wait for it... a SIDE mounted radiator! The N200 had the ability for a front mounted radiator, but the side mount on the N600 really has me anxious to see how it will fit. Both side panels use removable thumb screws for retention.
Here is a close up of the front I/O. From the bottom up, you have the fan LED control switch, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a microphone jack, a headphone jack, HDD activity light, power button, and finally the reset button.
The filter on the bottom is for the PSU intake and also covers the intake for the optional 120mm case floor fan. It easily slides in and out for quick cleaning. There is 3/8" of clearance under the case, so be careful if your case will sit on carpet or a rug. You don't want to restrict the PSU intake.
Cooler Master N600 Closer Look: Working Components:
I removed both side panels and noticed the nice cut out in the motherboard tray that provides easy access for your CPU cooler installation. I had to add some standoffs for the motherboard installation and this was easy to do since Cooler Master included a handy little installation tool. You use a small Phillips screwdriver with the tool, which has a hex socket to drive the standoffs in securely. Two case fans are included with the N600: one at the rear and one up front. Both are 3-pin 120mm fans. The front fan has white LEDs that can be turned off.
The N600 gives you three nice options for liquid cooling. The first two are fairly standard now on many cases, which are the rear for a 120mm radiator, and the top for up to a 280mm radiator. But now we have a side mount option and I am anxious to see how my Corsair H70 fits. And even if you don't mount a radiator on the side, you can still put a single 120mm fan there and increase your airflow. On the back of the motherboard tray there is a provision to mount a single SSD, although the instructions do not make any note of it.
When the front fascia is removed, you can see the 120mm included fan mounted at the bottom. It has white LEDs that can be turned off from a switch on the front panel. If you want to add a fan above that one, you will need to remove the I/O block (as I have shown), which is secured with three screws. Add your fan, then reattach the I/O block. And speaking of fans, this case model is the KWN1/KWN2 and can handle up to nine fans. Fan locations include: one rear, two on top, two in front, one on the case floor, one on the side (two with a long radiator), and one on the center HDD cage. The KN1/KN2 does not have a side window and can handle ten fans.
At the bottom, the drive cage can handle three 3.5" drives. The center cage can hold another four drives. And the center drive cage can be configured for either 2.5" or 3.5" drives. The uppper tool-free "EZ tray" slots will accept up to three optical drives. The rubber grommets on the back plane are nice and large for easy cable routing.
Here we are focusing on the center drive cage. It has three configurations - remove two screws and move the partition to the outer tabs (left hand side) and you are ready for 3.5" drives as shown, move the partition in to the next (center) mounting tabs for 2.5" drives, or you can completely remove the partition. And you can remove the right hand partition too, which you will see shortly. The partitions have mounting holes for optional 120mm fans.
Here is the mount for the side radiator. It is designed to hold a single 120mm radiator, or a larger 240mm radiator. Any cooling fans would then be attached to the radiator. You can also mount a single 120mm fan without a radiator.
With the center hard drive side partitions and the fan mount removed, you can see the access to mount a radiator. Plus with the center opened up, you can use a video card that is 16.9 inches (430mm) long. The spoiler alert here is that my H70 just wouldn't fit in the side mounting position. The coolant tubes were about an inch too short. I don't have a liquid cooling solution from Cooler Master, but I suspect that Cooler Master has taken the mounting locations into account and its solutions would fit.
The top offers plenty of room for up to a 280mm radiator if you choose, although you will only be able to mount one fan for a 120mm radiator (or two fans if you use a 280mm radiator). There is not enough room for a push / pull configuration unless you mount the radiator on top. There is space to route the cables for your CPU power, which is nice because I prefer to keep them out of sight if possible. There is a filter installed from the factory and it is secured in position with four plastic pins. On the rear at the upper left is the 120mm rear exhaust fan (included) and at the upper right on the back of the case is a switch that will control two case fans (3-pin). It has two speed positions: Low and Hi.
Time for a motherboard test fit. The extended ATX is a half inch wider than a standard ATX, and it fits just fine. Make sure to use an anti-static wrist strap when handling your motherboard, especially in the winter months when the humidity is low. You see the H70 in the rear exhaust location, which of course it fits perfectly. The hardware pack has the usual screws, system speaker, and side mounts for your internal drives.
The hard drive mounting hardware conforms to both 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives. There are screw holes for attaching to the 2.5" drives. Also, there is a left and right hand side, so make sure you check for the R and the L. And there is an arrow showing the proper orientation. Here I have my 2.5" Corsair Force GT SSD ready to go.
Here we have the final assembly. Very clean. Great cable management. Lots of space and a nice clean build.
Cooler Master N600 Specifications:
|Polymer, mesh front bezel, steel case|
207 x 455 x 520 mm / 8.1 x 17.9 x 18.9 inch
8.1kg / 17.8lb
5.25" Drive Bays:
3 (exposed, with new tool-less design "EZ Tray")
3.5" Drive Bays:
2.5" Drive Bays:
5 (hidden; 4 in the SSD cage, 1 behind the M/B tray)
USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, Audio In & Out (supports AC97 / HD Audio)
Top: 120/140mm fan x 2 (optional)
Front: 120mm fan x 2 (one white LED XtraFlo installed, one optional), or 140mm fan x 1 (optional) - for KKN1/KWN1; with no LED XtraFlo - KKN2/KWN2
Rear: 120mm XtraFlo fan (no LED) x 1 (installed)
Left Side: 120mm fan x 2 or 180/200mm fan x 1 (optional) - for KKN1/KKN2 only
Right Side: 120mm fan x 1 (optional)
Bottom: 120mm fan x 1 (optional)
HDD cage: 120mm fan x 1 (optional)
|Standard ATX PS2|
Water cooling: 240mm radiator (top or side), 120mm radiator (top, side, or rear)
VGA card length: 430mm / 16.9 inch
CPU cooler height: 167mm / 6.6 inch
Cooler Master N600 Features:
- Front panel and I/O area feature a premium mesh for a modern look
- Mid tower with great expandability that supports up to 5 SSDs (4 in the removable HDD/SSD combo cage, 1 behind the M/B tray) and 7 HDDs
- 3 designated places for radiators: 240mm - top, right side, 120mm - rear
- Both XtraFlo fans are arranged for optimum airflow with support for up to 10 fans (KKN1/KKN2: 10 fans, KWN1/KWN2: 9 fans)
- Fan speed controller to manage the two included XtraFlo fans - for KKN1/KWN1 only
- Fan LED on/off to toggle the front fan LED (white LED) - for KKN1/KWN1 only
- Supports all high-end graphics cards up to 430mm / 16.9 inch
- Supports air CPU cooler heights up to 167mm/6.6inch
- Dual Super Speed USB 3.0
- Multiple dust filters (top, right side, bottom) fro easy maintenance
Information provided by: "http://www.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/n-series/n600.html"
Cooler Master N600 Testing:
Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, and motherboard during idle and load phases. The load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor 1.21.0. Please note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.
- Processor: Core i7 3770K @ 3.9 GHz (100 MHz x 39)
- CPU Cooling: Corsair H70
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus V Formula
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance 9-9-9-24 16 GB
- Video Card: XFX HD7970 Black Edition
- PSU: Corsair TX-750M
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit SP1
The CPU and GPU idle temps were as expected, nothing remarkable. But under a load, we see the CPU temps on the N600 well below the other cases. I let things cool down, and ran the tests again and got the same results. So, what gives the N600 such an advantage? Normally the CPU cooler has to draw air in from inside the case - air that has already taken on heat from the internal components (motherboard, RAM, GPU, HDD, PSU, etc.). Well, since I am using the Corsair H70 CPU cooler mounted at the rear (in a push / pull configuration), and the top of the case is essentially open and very close to the intake of the H70, it appears that a fresh supply of ambient air was available to the H70, and I suspect that this kept the CPU temps down.
With all the different places to mount additional fans, I though I would have a little fun so I added three more fans (two Corsair SP120 on top and one Cooler Master A12025-20RB-3BN-F1 on the HDD cage) and cranked them up and ran the stress tests again - I mounted the Corsair SP120 fans (on the top) to draw in outside air and force it down into the case rather than mount them as exhaust fans. The GPU dropped by five degress and the CPU dropped by three degrees. Of course, the noise level goes up with the extra fans. But you can see that there is some benefit to adding some of your own fans to this case.
Cooler Master N600 Conclusion:
What can I say - despite being a little disappointed about not being able to mount my radiator on the side (which of course isn't Cooler Master's fault), I really like this case. I couldn't find anything to not like about it. It looks nice, has plenty of room, and nine places to mount fans, although testing shows that this case does not have a problem with airflow. In fact, the stock setup moves plenty of air.
It handled my ASUS extended ATX motherboard with no problems. I was expecting to have some issues with cable space since the side panels are flat and don't have the usual bulge. But the case is wide enough and the cable management was easy and made for a clean build. The modular center hard drive cage gives you options for 2.5" and 3.5" drives, or you can even remove the whole thing for more room. And you can even stash a 2.5" SSD behind the motherboard.
As for the cons - well, what I list below is rather weak - almost not worth listing. I suppose a storage tray would be nice - but not a big deal. And the fan switch on the rear - yeah, it would be nice to have it up front. Really though, I control my fans with software, so the switch location is also not a big deal.
Pricing is comparable to other cases with similar features and is currently available at Amazon for $87.89. The N600 gives you affordable space, functionality, room for expansion, a variety of cooling options, and classic Cooler Master styling.
- Support for up to a 280mm top or 240mm side radiator
- Up to five places to mount an SSD and seven to mount a HDD
- Top and side fan options
- Up to nine places to mount fans
- Fan control (two speed) for two fans
- Easy filter cleaning
- Nice cable management
- 3/8 inch clearance on bottom - so be careful when sitting the case on a carpeted floor
- No top storage tray
- Fan switch in rear