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Cooler Master's Silencio 652S case reviewed

Acoustic foam and retractable drive trays

Phew. It's been a while since I've done one of these. We have a new guy, Jeff Kampman, doing case reviews for us now (and nailing it), so I've been keeping busy with other things. Jeff is occupied with another project at the moment, though, so I figured I'd give Cooler Master's Silencio 652S a spin myself.

The Silencio 652S has been around for a little while, and it remains an interesting option—particularly as we consider new case picks for our System Guide. Priced at $119.99 (or $99.99 after a mail-in rebate), this enclosure can play host to an ATX motherboard along with a generous assortment of storage drives and cooling contraptions. The Silencio 652S also features noise-dampening foam on its front and side panels, and it ships with plastic covers to block unused vents.

The result, then, should be a relatively roomy and cool-running enclosure that still satisfies the needs of silent-PC connoisseurs. For 100 bucks after rebate, that's not a bad proposition.

Externally, the Silencio 652S looks pretty slick and stealthy. It combines black steel and matte black plastic in the same way as many of today's popular cases.

Unlike some of those offerings, however, the Silencio 652S doesn't leave any of its front, side, or top vents uncovered. The front vents are hidden behind a door, and the side and top vents are covered with removable plastic covers. The only visible intake vents are the little horizontal slits along the sides of the front bezel. When the door is closed, intake airflow is directed through these openings.

Keen-eyed readers may find this case looks familiar. That's because the Silencio 652S is visually identical to the older Silencio 652. As far as I can tell, the main difference between the two models is the use of newer Silencio FP 120 fans on the 652S. Cooler Master claims these fans deliver "absolute silence and excellent airflow." Together with the foam-lined panels, they should help keep noise levels to a minimum.

This reverse-angle shot gives us a glimpse at the Silencio 652S's internal layout. We can see the power supply is supposed to sit at the bottom, while the motherboard isn't meant to be mounted upside down or in some other crazy position.

Users with exotic liquid-cooling setups will be happy to find three rubber-grommeted holes beneath the 120-mm exhaust fan. Further down, you'll notice an extra expansion slot cover that sits perpendicular to the main expansion slots.

The purpose of that extra slot cover should be obvious to anyone whose motherboard shipped with an expansion slot bracket for extra USB, FireWire, or audio ports. Such brackets often plug right into the motherboard's internal headers, so there's technically no need for them to block a PCI or PCIe slot. With the Silencio 652S, they don't have to (unless you have more than one, I guess).

  Cooler Master Silencio 652S
Dimensions (H x W x D) 20" x 8.7" x 20"
Supported motherboards microATX, ATX
3.5" drive bays 9
2.5" drive bays 10
5.25" drive bays 3
Fan mounts 8
Included Fans 2x 120-mm front intake
1x 120-mm rear exhaust
Front panel I/O 2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
SD card reader
Max. graphics card length 10.6", 12", or 15.4", depending on drive bay config
Max. CPU cooler height 6.9"
Gap behind motherboard 0.7"

We'll start our dissection of the Silencio 652S shortly. First, here's an at-a-glance overview of the case's specifications.

This table doesn't show us anything particularly shocking or unusual, except perhaps for the number of 2.5" and 3.5" drive bays. Okay, so the Silencio 652S doesn't really have 19 internal drive bays. As we're about to see, the seven side-mounted bays at the front can be configured to accommodate either 3.5" or 2.5" drives. Users can also mount 2.5" drives to the inside of the bottom panel, to the back of the motherboard tray, and to the bottom of the lowermost 5.25" bay.

One last point of note: the 0.7" clearance behind the motherboard tray also looks potentially tight, at least compared to the recent Corsair enclosures we've tested. The similarly priced Obsidian 450D has 0.8" of space back there, and that's without acoustic foam eating into it. We'll see in our assembly section how that difference affects cable management.