Cooler Master introduced a number of new products at CeBIT last March, but few caught our attention like the Silencio 650. Not only does it resemble a cleaner version of Cooler Master's more aggressive HAF range, but it also advertises many attractive features, including sound-absorbing foam mats and specially designed ventilation slots to minimize noise while maintaining low operating temperatures.
The Silencio's ability to mute high-end hardware is hands down its main selling point, but there's a lot more to see here. Other notable functions are a "DualBoot HDD Switch" for switching between operating systems, a fan speed controller, a memory card reader, 1-A USB 3.0 ports for charging smartphones and tablets, and X-Dock, the hot-swappable 2.5 " / 3.5 "HDD / SSD drive bay (previously seen in cases like the Storm Trooper).
The Silencio 650 made a great first impression between its long spec sheet, sleek aesthetic, and seemingly superb build quality. Unfortunately, availability in the US is currently weak and based on local pricing in Australia, I believe the Silencio 650 should retail for around $ 140-150 – a very competitive range as any enthusiast can attest.
That price is home to many impressive mid-tower cases, including the Antec Performance One P183 ($ 140), the Corsair Vengeance Series C70 ($ 140), the Corsair Carbide Series 500R ($ 140), and the Corsair Obsidian Series 550D ($ 140), the aforementioned CM Storm Trooper ($ 150), and the Silverstone TJ04-E ($ 150).
Can the Silenco 650 hold its own?
The Silencio 650 is more elegant and restrained than other recently tested Cooler Master cases like Cosmos II, Storm Trooper and HAF X. Cooler Master quickly indicates that the slim front door has been diamond cut for high precision. and we have to say that it looks very nice.
The door was made of 3 mm thick aluminum and lined on the back with a 5 mm thick sound-absorbing foam mat. There are also two magnetic plugs that can be used to close the door flush with the front of the cabinet.
There appear to be seven external 5.25-inch drive bays behind the door. However, we quickly discovered that it was a fan shroud that covers two intake fans. The hood can be removed with a press clip at the top, revealing the fans. Revealing a large dust filter.
There are three real 5.25-inch outer bays above the fan cover, the two upper bays being designed for optical drives. The lower outer bay looks a bit unusual as this is the previously mentioned X-Dock feature. This is similar to the Thermaltake BlacX docking station we saw while testing the Chaser MK-1.
The design of Cooler Master has some advantages and disadvantages. Compared to implementing Thermaltake, X-Dock is easier to access for those who mount their suitcases in or under a desk, as they are at the front rather than at the top. The drive also sits further into the X-Dock, making it more secure and less likely to be bumped.
However, this is also a disadvantage as 2.5 inch devices must be installed in the drive caddy before they can be inserted in the X-Dock. This is a bit annoying and makes the X-Dock less attractive to those hoping for a smaller backup of drives. That said, the X-Dock is a very nice feature and we've found it to work well, especially with 3.5-inch drives.
If we turn to the top of the case, we find an all-plastic design, although that's not necessarily a bad thing. As always, Cooler Master did an excellent job with the styling. The first thing you'll notice is a small control panel that slides backwards, exposing the front-mounted I / O control panel.
This section contains two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a card reader – a nice addition. Between the USB 2.0 ports there are two audio jacks that support headphones and a microphone.
Below the USB ports are two switches: the left one is a fan controller that switches the case fans between 700 rpm and 1200 rpm, while the right one is the Dual Boost HDD switch that lets you switch one of two Select boot drives. The power switch is located below the Dual Boost HDD switch, while the reset button is located below the fan controller.
Behind the I / O area is a much larger panel that confused us a little, but upon opening it we found a large grill for an optional 140mm fan. We were still confused about why you would want a panel here in the first place. According to the Cooler Master, the operating volume is reduced by closing.
The right and left housing doors are painted matt black and otherwise completely without features on the outside. Inside, both are lined with 5 mm sound-absorbing foam mats. The right door has a section behind the hole in the motherboard tray for rear access to the CPU socket, which suggests that Cooler Master found the foam causing a compatibility issue here.
On the back we find a pretty normal layout with the power supply bracket attached to the bottom of the case. Above it are seven expansion slots with an additional vertically mounted slot for I / O brackets. There is also an I / O plate along with a rear exhaust fan and two half inch water cooling holes.
The bottom of the case shows four large rubber feet that offer excellent support. Each rubber foot is secured with three screws so there is little chance that they will ever fall. These feet raise the case 20mm above the floor, which allows enough space for a floor-mounted suction fan. Cooler Master has also taken the liberty of adding a large removable dust filter to the bottom of the case.