Over the years the CM 690 series have proven to be a success number for Cooler Master, the fact that we have arrived at revision 3 of this chassis speaks for itself. Even in-between the releases we have seen advanced editions, black & white versions ... yeah there has been a lot of diversity. Still over the years some people kept nagging about small things, and these have been addressed in the Mark III model. And yeah, this revision is nearing perfection whilst retaining its curbed looks and style.
For this particular model the side panels were closed, for those needing a little more style to the product, a side window version is available as well. The new interior is fantastic, a lot of space, all black interior and the many SSD/HHD options are just fantastic. The HDDs now use new trays, installing HDDs or an SSD could not be any easier. Next to that you get added functionality by allowing you to modify the drive cages. At the backside you'll have plenty of space for cable routing. It is good to see multiple dust-filters as well as the mega 200mm fan at the front of the drive cages.
Obviously the frontpanel has been updated, it has USB 3.0 connectors, but that is at the cost of eSATA and I kind of do miss the X-Dock the Advanced models had. The grommet holes have been improved slightly, I think they are a little bigger as well, which definitely helps with cable management. Now rubber inserts have been applied though.
Other than that, it's a CM 690 II Advanced with all the positives we mentioned in our previous review as well. For a mid-tower there is plenty of space inside, and sure, especially with liquid cooling taken into consideration this chassis has a trick or two up its sleeve. The one gripe would be the power button, it is located behind the top latch. So to power up the PC you need to open the latch first, and that is a tiny bit inconvenient. I'm really nagging here now though. There is decent enough room for proper cable management (not optimal though), the CPU cooler gap, the utility panel located on top, the swappable 3.5" drive trays, the easy to install ODD units ... it's all either impressive or handy for sure. Also, we like the fact that the majority of the chassis is completely tool-less, pretty much anything is either easy to install or remove. So it remains a very good chassis, the one thing we would have liked to see is some sort of fan controller though. Slowly but steadily we say that 100 EUR chassis' should have these as standard.
The CM 690 III is showing a very familiar outside, but the inside has certainly been overhauled with some upgrades to improve the product and make it a little more suited for the demands of 2013, the USB 3.0 ports are especially appreciated of course. The CM 690 III series remains a classic and even after all these years we still love that original concept. The new upgrades make it a very interesting purchase in the 80 to 90 EUR range. We can most certainly recommend it.
Update - Cooler Master reported after publication that the standard screws for the PCI-E slot clips will be replaced with thumb-screws and that it will equip the grommet holes with rubber inlays. For those who already purchased the chassis, drop Cooler Master an email and they will send this free of charge.
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