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Best Cases for Liquid Cooling - Cooler Master RC 690

written by: Jesma•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/8/2009

You're probably not thinking of a regular old model number stock case when you brainstorm on best cases for liquid cooling, but the humble RC 690 from Cooler Master will pleasantly surprise you.

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    Overview

    rc690 RC 690? What is that? This simple model Cooler Master case is probably one that you have never heard of. You're probably wondering why I'm not talking about the latest and greatest COSMOS case CM has launched to the forefront of their brand image. The fact is, that before the $200 COSMOS there was the RC 690 - a simple yet amazingly functional case that leaves no doubt in anyone's mind that it was the predecessor to the company's proclaimed "flagship" case.

    Besides having a fantastic layout, excellent air flow and cooling potential, and standard liquid cooling features, the RC 690 is one of the few mid-tower's I've seen that can support a complete liquid cooling system. Additionally, it rings up as a meager $80 - over $100 less than its spruced up cousin.

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    Liquid Cooling Friendly Features

    The beauty of the RC 690 is in its simplicity. It makes wise usage of space and has simple yet effective cable management. The tool-free sliding side panel, which includes two vents for 120mm fans, reveals a roomy and clean interior. Five 5.25 inch drive bays fill the top front area of the case. Five 3.5 inch drive bays lay directly below them, featuring individual hard drive cages for the ultimate ease of installation. The power supply is mounted on the bottom, utilizing the "hot air rises" rule to promote good airflow throughout the system. In addition to this, the front and top panels are both made entirely of wire mesh, with a foam dust filter behind them. This design allows a radiator to be effective when mounted pretty much anywhere you can fit it. The last liquid cooling friendly feature is, of course, the rear tubing holes for use with any external liquid cooling components.

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    Liquid Cooling Systems Best for This Case

    Being a mid-tower, the interior space for bulky liquid cooling components is limited. To make it work nicely, you'll have to be specific about which system or LCS components you choose. The best solution for a pump and reservoir is a 5.25 drive bay mounted one, such as this XSPC one. With two of the larger components neatly tucked away in the ample 5.25 inch bays, the only other bulk you need to worry about is in the form of a radiator.

    What's nice about the RC 690 is that you can mount a radiator just about anywhere: on the side panel internally, on the side panel externally, on the back internally or externally, or on the top internally.

    So there you have it: An inexpensive, non-space-hogging, liquid cooling friendly case, brought to you by Cooler Master.