Cooler Master CM 690 III - Never Judge A Book by Its Cover

Launch SRP: S$139

Exterior Design

Exterior Design

On first looks, the facade of the CM 690 III strongly resembles the CM 690 II because the front panel consists mostly entirely of mesh for air intake. However, unlike the older chassis, the mesh of the CM 690 III has been pushed forward, instead of residing in the recesses of the front panel. From its facade, we can see that there are three options to mount 5.25-inch drives.

From the front panel, we can see the options to mount up to three 5.25-inch drives.

The front panel is easily removed by a quick tug at its bottom. It houses a dust filter and 5.25-inch drive bay covers that are easily removed.

The rear of the front panel; there is a dust filter that is held in place by plastic tabs. The 5.25-inch drive bay covers are easily removed by pushing on their retaining tabs.

The top of the CM 690 III bears semblance to its predecessor. There is a top compartment for storage, and the I/O ports line the edge of the compartment. The storage compartment has a removable plastic sliding lid. The I/O ports consist of a pair of US B 3.0 ports, a microphone and earphone jack, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. The reset button is located just below the larger power button.

The I/O ports and onboard buttons line the edge of the storage space. The storage compartment has a removable sliding plastic cover, which can protect the ports too.

Moving beyond the storage space, there is a removable top cover that's secured to the chassis by a rear thumbscrew, but it doesn't house any fan filters. The perforated cover allows mounting the optional top fans where the user has options to install a pair of 120- or 140mm fans, or a single 200mm one. According to the manual, it also supports up to a 240mm radiator for liquid cooling systems.

The top removable perforated cover allows mounting additional fans or a radiator at the top of the chassis.

The top cover doesn't house any fan filters.

A top-down view of the CM 690 III, with its top cover removed.

This side panel has the option to mount a single 180- or 200mm intake fan, or a pair of 120mm intake fans.

On the flip side, we see a stamped steel panel. Besides adding some aesthetic effect of breaking the otherwise flushed side profile of the CM 690 III, we will discover its practical usage during our installation experience later.

The stamped side panel offers some practical usage; however, on first impressions, we thought that it was purely for aesthetics.

The bottom of the CM 690 III houses a dust filter that is easily removable.

From the rear of the chassis, we see there is a bundled 120mm outlet cooling fan. It can be removed to install a 120mm radiator of a liquid cooling system. There are a total of seven expansion slots; in addition, like the CM 690 II Plus, there is one lone expansion slot below the rear outlet fan. Also visible are three rubber grommets to accommodate the pipes of liquid cooling systems. Such rubber fittings may be on the wane with the popularity of closed liquid cooling systems that are able to fit entirely within the chassis, but the options are there if required.

There are three rubber grommets to fit the water pipes of liquid cooling systems. But with the advent of closed liquid cooling systems, we do see little use for these rubber fittings.

The Good
Drive enclosures and trays able to accommodate either 2.5 or 3.5-inch drives
Excellent ventilation options
The Bad
Flexible drive trays do not make installing SSDs any easier
Drive trays feel a bit flimsy

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