The basic stance and lines of the original 690 are carried over to the nVidia Edition; in fact, this case is virtually identical to the original with the addition of some styling elements. For example, nV green accent bars run up each side of the front panel and back across the top. These replace the chrome accents on the 690 II Advanced case. Also, an nVidia logo is prominently displayed on the front mesh panel. Speaking of which, mesh is widely used on the front and top panels, fostering excellent cooling potential throughout the case.
Over on the other side, Cooler Master replaces the fan placements with a window feature incorporating the nVIDIA eye logo in transparent green acrylic. The rear panel is identical to the original with the same excellent features and layout. First of all there are two grommetted tubing holes, just above the 120mm exhaust fan. This is just the first of several features that liquid cooling enthusiasts will find handy. Just to the right of the seven expansion bays is another slot for an expansion bay device that doesn't require a direct connection to a motherboard expansion slot, like a fan speed controller or USB/FireWire adapter. The PSU mounts at the bottom of the chassis, the side panels are secured with thumbscrews and the rear panel has the same black finish as the rest of the case.
Cooler Master designers wisely moved the front I/O panel to the top front of the chassis. From top to bottom we have a front fan LED on/off switch, eSATA, 2 USB, mic/headphone ports, reset switch and power switch, along with the customary power and HDD activity LEDs. Conspicuously absent is USB 3.0 support. A plastic door just to the rear of the I/O panel slides out of the way to reveal an external SATA X-dock right on the top of the chassis. This is an excellent feature that offers the user full docking functionality without giving up premium desktop space to a separate device. While the manual warns that, “This devices does not support hot swap. Please install the HDD before starting the system,” a modern motherboard with properly configured ACHI mode capability will support hot swapping.
Inside, like the original CM 690 II Advanced, the nVIDIA Edition has some very nice features. First of all, the interior is painted black to match the rest of the chassis. Notice the cutouts and loops surrounding the motherboard area? These will make cable management much easier, allowing the user to have a clean build with minimal bother. Cooler Master designers eschew any fancy tool-free features and use thumbscrews to secure the graphics and other expansion cards. They also include a metal retention bracket, supporting triple card graphics, to further secure the graphics cards. The 690 II is very roomy in this area and will support most modern cards not exceeding 12 inches in length. While something like the ATI HD 5970 may not fit with all the internal bits installed, virtually all other cards will easily go into the case.
The large cutout in the tray will make CPU cooler changes much easier as well, and the tool-free features of the 3.5- and 5.25-inch bays in the front of the chassis should make drive installs/swaps a breeze. The green LED intake fan will keep the hard drives cool, but will likely impede airflow to the graphics cards, but the original case displayed excellent cooling numbers, so I wouldn't let this sway your opinion.
The bottom four HDD bays are in a removable cage that, when out of the case, leaves room for a dual 120mm watercooling radiator and fans on the floor of the case. There is also a place engineered on the top of the chassis for an identical setup, allowing liquid cooling enthusiasts to install a very capable system into the chassis without any modification to the chassis. Longer power supplies may interfere with the radiator here, but Cooler Master provides guidelines in the manual (available for download on their website) to keep the user out of trouble. The drive caddies are nVIDIA green plastic affairs and the top one holds a 5.25-inch bay adapter that, along with the supplied bay cover, allows the user to install a front accessible 3.5-inch device. 5.25-inch drives are secured with the familiar toggle clips seen on other Cooler Master products.