Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
The Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition is quite a roomy ATX chassis to work with, so it really does not matter if you install the power supply or motherboard first. Out of personal preference, I got my NZXT HALE90 750W to get the wires worked out first. Everything is quite simple; due to the abundance of openings in the motherboard tray, everything leading out of the power supply unit can be sent behind the motherboard tray. Cable guides can be used with zip ties to secure things in this area. Meanwhile, I also pre-routed the front panel I/O, audio, SATA, and USB cables to ensure everything is neat and tidy before the motherboard comes onto the scene. The front panel connectors actually don't require much work; but if you don't do it correctly you can see them behind the hard drive trays if you look carefully. Better cable routing in this area would be highly appreciated. On a side note, the special tray for accommodating 2.5" drives is not tool free, so you will need to attach four screws from the side yourself.
Screwing in all nine ATX motherboard risers, the Cooler Master 690 II Advanced exhibits absolutely no 'gotchas'; making installation as painless as possible. I even have some thin wires clipped between the motherboard tray and the motherboard itself for maximum tidiness, as usual. I didn't use the VGA retention bracket in my specific installation, so I left it out of the picture. Again, thanks to all the openings around the motherboard on the tray, routing the cables behind is as straightforward as it gets. They are there where you need it, so I got absolutely no complaints in this area. By the way, you do see a Radeon 6850 inside. No NVIDIA cards. Anywho, I believe my end results shown in the photo above speaks for itself!
Again, hard drive and optical drive installation is extremely simple, thanks to the well implemented tool-free installation system. If you want your disk drives to be installed securely, however, I highly recommend you to attach one screw on each side on the drive tray regardless. The drive trays slide into the rack in the chassis, and locks in place by a pull out lever. Optical drive tool-free installation works flawlessly as well. All expansion card slots have thumbscrews, so we can count that as basically tool-free, haha. My only complaint is after installation of 5.25" drives, when you reattach the front case panel, be very careful -- since a metal element sticks out from the adjacent 5.25" drive covers, and if you don't angle it correctly, you will scratch your optical drive's bezel. My demonstration build features an NZXT Sleeved LED Kit for internal lighting.
After plugging in everything, our system configured inside the Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition was ready to roll. I hit the large power button at the top, and my computer came to life. Your finished system will resemble what I have above to an extent, except I have removed the front green LED fan and added aftermarket interior lighting. The stock front LED fan's light can be switched on and off by a switch at the top with the fan still running. Just on a side note, be careful when hooking up your system in this area. I was experimenting if I can reverse the plugs, so I can keep the LED on with the fan off (Opposite of the original design of being capable of keeping the fan on with the LED off), but whoever that designed the case kept reciprocal plugs for the two sets of 3-pin power control connectors. This means it is possible to plug the fan into itself. No problems here. But this also means if you are not paying attention, you can easily plug the power supply into itself as well. I did that. It ended up in instant smoke, fried my case switch, and cancer smoke filled the room, haha. Good thing I reached the power switch on my power supply in time and caused no further damage. I think Cooler Master should do something to prevent this from happening. (I ended up taking out the fan and replaced it with a Noctua anyway.)
On a scale from 0.0 to 10.0 where 0.0 is the silent and 10.0 is loudest, the fans would come in at 4.5-5.0 subjective sound rating in my opinion. I am quite sensitive to perceived sound volume, and as a quiet PC enthusiast, I found the fans are supposedly quiet -- unfortunately, the motor noise is not very fluid at all, so it easily stands out if you have a system of sound optimized components. There is nothing special about the included case fans; quiet PC enthusiasts should replace these fans especially if you are sensitive to noise generated by motors. Smoother, quieter running fans would be an excellent upgrade to the current ones found in the Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition.
Judging by the fact that the Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition made it to my main computer desk, it should be quite clear it is a pretty decent case in yours truly's opinion. This chassis is one of those rare breeds in the modern enthusiast market that actually meets my requirements! Why is so hard to find a clean looking ATX mid-tower and a clear side window with no fan openings nowadays? Yes, I had to make a few modifications to the 690 II Advanced in sealing off a couple vents I don't need, but at least the top opening is situated between a removable top panel to make this achievable without negatively affecting the aesthetics of this case. I understand the top opening improves airflow, but I can live without it -- most of you may beg to differ, and I actually appreciate this flexibility. All in all, there is quite a bit to like about the Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition. On the outside, highlights include a sleek exterior look, unique side panel window, and a convenient Serial ATA hot swap bay at the top. On the inside, we have a beautiful black painted interior with excellent cabling slots to make installation an absolute pleasure. That's not to mention tool-free installation that works surprisingly well. For less than $100 at press time, a larger side window revealing more of your computer's interior, quieter fans along with better dust filters would be my top picks. And if you don't like all the green, Cooler Master also sells a non-NVIDIA branded Cooler Master 690 II Advanced for a less polarizing look -- a large clear side panel can be purchased separately; but it comes with a vent for a 120mm fan on the window.
Cooler Master provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH equal.balance Award | APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.6/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Cooler Master 690 II Advanced NVIDIA Edition is a brilliant ATX mid-tower for less than $100 at press time -- as long as the looks are your cup of tea.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion