Cooler Master Silencio 550 - Whisper Quiet

Launch SRP: S$129

Internal Design

Interior Design

Looking inside, the Silencio 550 is everything you’d expect from a decent and competent computer chassis. There are seven 3.5-inch drive bays, and the good thing about them is that they are loaded from the sides. This means your drives won’t be intruding into the motherboard tray area. Of the seven 3.5-inch drives, four can be removed by means of a HDD cage should you need extra space to accommodate ultra-large graphics cards such as the Radeon HD 6990.

Installation of components was a straightforward and tool-less affair. Optical drives are installed simply by sliding them into the optical drive bay and using the locking mechanism to hold them in place. Hard drives, on the other, require users to only attach the mounting racks and then sliding them into the respective drive bay. Finally, the expansion bay slots employ the use of large thumbscrews that can be easily undone using bare hands.

And there’s also sufficient space within the case, especially round the back of the motherboard tray, for cable management.

To accommodate larger graphics cards, the HDD cage is removable.

Installing hard drives was easy thanks to the squeeze and pull racks. Simply attach the racks to the hard drive and push it into the drive bay until you hear a click sound. The Silencio 550 also comes with a special adapter for installing 2.5-inch devices such as SSDs.

Optical drives are equally easy to install too, if not easier. Slide the drive into the drive bay and slide the lever to lock.

This PCB is for the X-Dock. Connect a Molex and SATA cable to it on the reverse side to have a hot-swappable HDD bay for 3.5-inch devices. It will be better if Cooler Master provided an ejection mechanism because while it is easy to install a 3.5-inch drive into the X-Dock, removing it proved to be more tricky.

Here's a look with an 11-inch Radeon HD 3870 X2 installed, and it barely fits. Larger cards such as the Radeon HD 6990 would require the HDD cage to be removed.

The Good
Quiet operation
Mostly tool-free installation
Can accommodate most graphics cards
The Bad
Max of one exhaust and two intake fans
Only two USB ports
Heat could be an issue in high-powered systems

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