We reviewed the original version of the this case back in August of last year and were on the whole impressed with it. A trifle on the expensive side perhaps but as we noted it was quite feature rich. Move forward 12 months and with the original version still very much available but with "Silent" cases becoming ever more popular Cooler Master have decided to release a second version of their Silencio 650 case. As it's exactly the same chassis the battleship build quality remains. What's missing are a few of the bells and whistles present on the Original version of the case. Should you decide these missing features are important to you, then rest assured you can still buy the original version of this case. If however a "Pure" version of the Silencio 650 might be the case for you then best you read on to see what's been cut and what remains.
Aluminum Alloy, Polymer, Steel
207 x 479 x 525.6mm / 8.1 x 18.8 x 20.7 inch
9.8 kg / 21.6 lbs
5.25" Drive Bays
3 (w/o the use of exposed 3.5" drive bays)
3.5" Drive Bays
2.5" Drive Bays
3 (hidden; 2 converted from one 3.5” drive bay,1 by 3.5”-to-2.5” adapter)
USB 3.0 x 2 (int.), USB 2.0 x 2 , Mic x 1, Audio x 1 (supports AC97 / HD Audio), SD card reader x 1
Top: 120/140mm fan x 1 (optional) Front: 120mm fan x 2, 1200 RPM, 17 dBA (installed); or 140mm fan x 1 (optional)
Power Supply Type
Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V
VGA card length:
Up Close: Overview and Front
If you read the review of the original 650 back in August 2012 you're probably looking at the pictures below and thinking that it looks exactly the same. The reason for that is simple, in looks at least the two cases are identical, sharing the same chassis and same door and same panels, so don't go thinking that Cooler Master have saved some money by shaving off some quality, oh no no, you still get the same excellent levels of build and finish.
We think the 650 series are amongst some of the most "Mature" looking cases on the market today, but are none the less stylish for it. Simple black lines, a full length steel door flanked by glinting diamond cut strips and an understated almost indistinguishable Cooler Master embossed logo bestow an elegant superior appearance to the case.
Opening the foam rubber lined thick steel door reveals the first of the variances from the more expensive original model. Where the Pure version has 3 x 5.25" bays the standard model utilises the lower of these bays for a hot swap drive bay, enabling on the fly swapping of both 2.5" and 3.5" drives. Further down it's all business as usual with a large removable panel giving access to the fans behind.
With the door closed the only entry point for air into the case is via small slanted slits in the side of the front panel. OK, so you're not going to be getting the airflow of a HAF, but then you're not going to be getting the noise levels either. Like pretty much every other panel on the case the inside of the door is lined with sound dampening foam rubber. Whether you keep the door as is, or swap it to open the other way, you'll notice that even the magnetic door retainers have rubber caps in them to give a silent door close.
The front fan filter releases by means of a small catch at the top of the panel allowing it to be lifted free. Pushing out 6 plastic pins enables you to then further dismantle the filter in order to give it a proper clean. It might look a complicated process, but actually it's one of the simplest we've come across
Up Close: Roof, Rear and Base
The roof of the case is also designed with silence and stealthy looks in mind. A placement for a 120mm fan at the rear of the case can be opened or closed depending on whether you're looking to optimise airflow or noise levels.
The front I/O panel also has a sliding door which not just looks sleek but also serves to protect it from prying, and potentially sticky jammy fingers. Along with a the power and reset buttons, both of which have a nice short travel quality feel to them, there's a brace of both USB2.0 and USB3.0, and of course the usual audio headers. To the left a sliding switch enables speed control over attached fans whist to the right, in place of the Boot drive selection switch found on the standard case there's a slider switch that enables the top fan to be turned of completely, thus further supporting the emphasis placed on noise reduction with the 650 Pure.
The rear of the case is largely unremarkable. two large grommetted tubing ports sit atop the 120mm fan extract grill, below which are found 7 solid expansion bay covers. To the right of these there is an additional mount for expansion cards that don't need to be attached to the motherboard.
Sliding out the large mesh fan filter grill which covers 2/3rds of the base of the case reveals a sturdy hex mesh underneath. The case itself is mounted on 4 large rubber capped feet which should serve raise it from the surface giving good airflow to the PSU area and adding good vibration dampening.
Each of the side panels are heavily coated in foam rubber sound and vibration absorbing material. The right side panel has a cut out and is smooth, whereas the left panel is of the egg box variety.
Up Close: Interior, Drive bays and Base.
The interior of the 650 Pure features a large rectangular cut out extending laterally across the case interior, this is sure to make changing coolers an easy job whichever motherboard you opt for. At 207mm the Pure is quite a slim case, yet you'll still be able to plonk a cooler up to 162mm in there no problem. Two vertical grommeted cable management holes are positioned down the side of the motherboard, and as these are in exactly the same position as in the original case our criticism of their spacing remains. A third very large grommeted PSU cable management hole can be found at the base of the case.
Unlike the original version which has the PCB and circuitry associated with the hot swap bay effectively negating the lower 5.25" bay the Pure version has a true 3 x 5.25" bays. The bays utilise the standard Cooler Master tool-less fitting method which we've always found to be more than adequate. Lower down can be found a total of 7 x 3.5" bays, 3 of which can be used as 2.5" bays by means of a converter. Undoing 4 screws and pinching the release clips enables the upper 4 bay rack to be removed, upping the available GPU length from 268mm to 434mm which should be plenty house even the largest old school GPUs
Although the upper rack does have mounting holes on it's inner aspect for a 120mm fan, if you want to improve airflow but retain the drive bays then the upper rack can be rotated 90 degrees and re inserted as seen below right.
In the base there's a mount for a 120mm fan rear of which is a ventilation area for the PSU. Two of the four rubber topped mounts are much longer than usual giving stability to longer PSUs and thus reducing vibration transfer. Seven unvented expansion bay covers are flanked by an additional cover that can be used to mount expansion decives with a PCI type fitting that do not require attachment to the motherboard. Towards the top of the case there's a single 120mm fan on extract duty along with a pair of grommeted tubing holes should you wish to transport yourself back 10 years and rig yourself up an external water-cooling loop.
Up Close: Interior Roof and Rear
As the main selling point of these case is it's very low sonic foot-print it's no surprise to see that Cooler Master have covered a great percentage of the roof interior in sound dampening egg-box foam material. However, as we saw from the outside the very rear of the roof has a sliding panel which if opened serves to improve heat dissipation. Mounts for a 120mm and 140mm fan give the option of further cooling should it felt to be needed. The roof panel is a nice little touch, essentially enabling you to have a silent(ish) case that who's sonic characteristics can be directly traded for improved cooling performance as the task in hand dictates.
The rear of motherboard area is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand we have 3 large rubber grommeted cable management holes, (who's spacing is a bit iffy) and a large CPU cut out .
On the other hand there's only 10 cable tie points, which although large and reasonably well distributed will still restrict our cable management options back here. The real turd in the punch bowl though is the meagre 15mm of space back here. The sound dampning material on the insdie of the side panel will of course further reduce this gap down to 10-11mm bring back memories of the fun we had trying to get the side panel back on when we reviewed the original back in 2012
Those of you familiar with the original version of the 650 will have noticed the final difference between the two cases in the image below left. As this case does not come with a hardware switchable dual boot facility the little green circuitboard that lives behind the lower bay is absent.
The Pure comes with exactly the same set of accessories and extras as the original case, 5 pairs of 3.5" drive brackets along with a "bag'o'screws", a buzzer, security bracket and a generous 12 quite long cable ties. However, unlike the original 650, the instruction booklet is gone, replaced instead with a sheet that unfolds to almost table cloth proportions. Still, at least the instructions are good and the diagrams clear.
As we've built into the 650 before we know largely what to expect as changes made make very little difference to this process. Perhaps a cable route change here or there as a result of the loss of the hot swap but that's about it. Room at the bottom of the case is still at a bit of a premium as although the hole is big, it's situated quite posteriorly so your PSU is probably going to cover a percentage of it. Having pushed the cables through to the back remember that as this is the only hole at the bottom, all the front I/O, USB and Audio cables are going to have to back through to attach to their motherboard headers.
Ok so it's not as spacious as a Trooper series, but there's enough room to manoeuvre both hands and cables inside the Pure. If you're wondering about watercooling support you'll be disappointed to learn there's only 35mm of room up top with no native suppot and no pre drilled holes for 240 rads. Shame really, as there are cases of this ilk out there that do offer native support
If you've read the review of the original 650 you'll know that we were critical of the spacing and distribuition of the vertical cable management holes, falling as they do, either side of the usual place for the 24 pin cable socket. Not a disaster by any means, but it does perhaps show a gap in Cooler Masters otherwise top notch attention to detail.
With all the cables sorted and tied in place, You might think we've managed to make a fairly decent fist of things and negated our concerns about the room back here. Don't be fooled though, even with this OC3D level of cable management it's still going to be a job to get the door on. If you think you can simply stuff the cables in and wedge it on, think again, it ain't going to happen.
At 207mm wide the Pure is able to accept coolers up to 162mm in height, shown below as usual with our NZXT Havik 120 to aid comparison. The vigilant amongst you will have noticed as we have that there's a discrepancy in the comparative heights with regards to the figures given for supported CPU cooler height. The original supports up to 168 and the Pure 162. The reason for this we think is that Cooler Master have measured differently, with the variance being explained by the inclusion or otherwise of the sound dampening foam in their calculations. Having measurd ourselves we can say that a 168mm cooler will fit, but it will compress the foam up against the side panel and may cause a bulge.
With the upper HDD cage left in the Silencio is still able to accept GPUs up to 269mm (10.5") in length. Should you want to slot in a monster then removing the upper HDD rack extends the depth available to 434mm (17.1"). if you can get by with 3 HDDs then the removal of the upper rack is probably the better option as it will also improve through case air flow. We were quite pleased with the build however as before our concerns about the crowding at the PSU hole and the room around the back were well founded, with us having to lay the case on its side and it taking two people to get the right hand side panel on.
In reviewing a case, or any other product for that matter it's important to remember which area of the market the product is aimed at. It's clear from the sleek understated appearance of the 650 Pure that this is no pedal to the metal, high air flow, massive fanned gaming rig. But that's not to say it's not capable of keeping a system cool enough for gaming, with its 162mm of CPU cooler clearance and room for GPUs up to 268mm and 434mm with the upper drive cage removed there's more than enough room to fit the sort of hardware necessary to keep a system cool under fire. Like the originator of the species, the 650 Pure is perhaps targeted at the more "mature" gamer, someone who wants decent performance but also wants the case to blend more easily into its surroundings.
Throughout this review we have referred to the original Silencio 650 we reviewed back in August of 2012. It's important to remember that the original is still very much available and on sale, and is in its own right a very good case. Far from being a replacement for the original, the Pure represents an alternative in the 650 line up. In essence it is a cut down version. The feature count has been reduced, but then so has the price. With that in mind let’s take a look back at what we said about the original 650,
".....Aesthetics wise then, we can pretty much agree that this is a mature sleek unit. Even the front I/O panel and rear vent have simple and elegant sliding covers to keep the contents from offending us. The lines of the side panel and front of the case are not be-spoiled by the intrusion of windows or fan mounts, and not a glimpse of hex mesh is to be seen. Quality is good as we've come to expect with Cooler Master products, with no rough edges or imperfections of any sort. The thick Aluminium front door closes with a reassuring magnetic click, and should you want to swap things about, it can even be hinged on the alternate side. Behind the front door lies a comprehensive fan filtering system nestled beneath three 5.25" bays one of which offers hot swap capabilities for 3.5" and 2.5" drives. Inside the case, things aren't quite so rosy, with a less than ideal layout of the cable management holes, and a bit of a sparsity of cable tie points around back. That said, you will be able to lob in a decent cooler (up to 168mm in height), and should have no trouble housing a large GPU should you so desire. Ample storage is provided by 7 HDD bays, 2 of which benefit from hot swap functionality/hardware boot switching. The upper rack, holding a maximum of 4 HDDs can be rotated 90 degrees, or removed completely, upping the max GPU length available from 10.5" to 17.1". Down in the rear corner we find the home of the PSU Ample rubber isolation pads mean that you will be able to slot in the largest of PSUs, but beware covering up the bottom cable management holes as they're your only way in and out for a great many of your cables. Seven expansion bays and an additional vertical bay for those devices not requiring motherboard connection should be plenty for most users and a brace of tubing routing holes enable external water cooling set ups to be used if you absolutely have to ruin the looks of the case. The build itself was a simple enough affair, but we were left a little wanting for cable tie mounts and were more than a little perplexed by the layout of the routing holes, albeit with some of the best quality grommets we've seen. The absence of a lower hole along the vertical edge of the motherboard, and the location of the only hole along the base of the motherboard being quite posterior relative to the PSU meant that that lower hole became very crowded indeed. Not only would all the power cables leave through it, but all the front I/O cables would have to enter through it also. In use the Silencio 650 is a delight, and it's here that it really comes into it's own. The extensive use of high density foam sound proofing combined with a high build quality throughout and the use of very quiet fans (17dB-A at 1200rpm) means that what we have on our desk top is as close as we've heard to a silent PC. It even manages to pretty much muffle the noise of the fan on our test GPU..."
Most of what we said above about the original 650 still holds true. Certainly as the base chassis is the same the great Cooler Master quality and elegant mature looks remain. So what's changed? Well if by any chance you've read the whole of this review you'll know by now which features have been trimmed and which have escaped the knife. If you haven't read the whole review then best we point out where Cooler Master have made their savings, so in deference to the above reference the following needs to be noted.
Firstly, the Pure has done away with the hot swap capability, where the original 650 has 3 x 5.25" bays with the lower facilitating hot swap for 3.5" and 2.5" drives the Pure simply has 3 x 5.25" bays.
Secondly, the Pure does not have the ability to hardware switch boot drives, instead the lower two 3.5" bays are just simple bays.
Thirdly, in place of the boot drive selection switch on the front I/O the Pure has a switch enabling the top fan to be turned off, further decreasing the sonic signature of the case.
Whether these features are important to you is very much subjective. However what is highly relevant is the cost saving you will make. With the 650 Pure expected to retail for in the region of £80, should you decide you want the looks and build quality of the 650 series but can do without the bells and whistles you'll be looking to save in the region of £20-£30. A significant saving in anyone's book. But what else could you get with that £80? Well the ubiquitous but slightly dated looking CM690 II can still be had for in the region of £80 as can the Fractal Design Define R4, The Nanoxia DS1 and DS2 and for that matter the slightly more aggressive looking but none the less sleek NZXT Phantom 410. All of these cases offer much of what the Pure does with those towards the end of the list also offering native water-cooling support, a feature absent from both the original and the Pure models
The 650 and the Pure are without doubt the quietest mid tower cases we've come across. We also think the Pure has a slight edge on looks and has an undeniably high level of build quality and finish, but there's really not a lot in it. Unfortunately it still suffers from the faults of the original 650, the main one of which is the restrictive amount of space available behind the motherboard for cable management. There’ll be no lobbing the PSU in, plugging the cables in and powering up. If you want to get that case side on you're going to have to be truly OC3D about your cable management.
Which case you buy will depend on what is important to you, and what we said in our original review still holds true, if you buy the 650 you won't be disappointed. It's elegant, quiet and now very good value, but then so are a lot of the competition. Because of it's truly extraordinary sonic footprint however, the silence award is well deserved. We hope that waiting in the wings at Cooler Master is a Silencio 750 with native water cooling support and decent cable management.
Thanks to Cooler Master for sending the 650 in for review, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.