Cooler Master Silencio 650 Review
Published: 30th August 2012 | Source: Cooler Master | Price: £110.34 |
Performance, Testing and Conclusion
If you've read the rest of the review you'll already have a good idea about what we're going to be saying here. If you haven't, then shame on you for skipping to the conclusion page. First then is to agree that this case is not out there to compete with the balls out gaming cases with massive ventilation and options for water cooling. No, it's designed to sit on you desk, looking cool and quietly going about it's business. That's not to say it doesn't have the capability to house a top end system and large GPUs, it can, and it does. The 650 is perhaps the case for the more mature gamer, or maybe the chap (or chapess) who out of necessity has to home their PC in their lounge or dining room where having something sleek and elegant won't make it stand out like a turd in a punch bowl.
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. 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.
The Silencio 650 is far from perfect but it does come close. Aside from the issues we have mentioned above there are a few thorns in its side in the form of the Corsair 550 and the Fractal define R4. Both the Cooler Master and the Corsair can be had for similar money, with the R4 offering it's silence for in the region of £30 less. The R4 is a good case in it's own right and with regards value for money perhaps has the two more expensive cases beaten. That said, the Corsair and the Cooler Master do offer more for your money with additional features and arguably higher build quality. Whether you go for the R4, the Cooler Master or the Corsair will depend a great deal on personal preference and finances. They are all sleek, they are sexy, and are very well build and they are all very quiet. They have about the same amount of storage and can accommodate the same size coolers and GPUs. The Corsair has better cable management and more cable tie mounts with more management holes in more sensible places, but then the the Cooler Master has more features. It offers hot swap and dual boot, it has a fan controller where the 550 doesn't.
We're not going to tell you which of these to buy, that's not our role. What we will say is that if you get the Silencio 650 you won't be disappointed. It's sleek, it's elegant, it's well made, it's quiet and it can house a decent gaming rig without getting so hot the paint melts off the outside. Subjectively we would award this case a gold as we like it a lot however objectively, and as Cooler Master have not entirely addressed all the weaknessess of the Silencio 550 the main one of which was the cable management we can really only offer a silver. Close, damn close. It does however receive the Silence award for what is undeniably fantastic sonic performance.