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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.