We’ve come across Cooler Master’s Silencio cases before and, while they’re generally well made and quiet, they haven’t topped our cooling graphs. The company is having another attempt at creating the perfect quiet case with the Silencio 652S though – a mid-sized tower that also boasts extensive water-cooling support. It’s just over 50cm deep and 50cm high, and the steel construction helps it to tip the scales at 10.4kg. It also has plenty of space for optical drives and fan controllers, thanks to three external tool-free 5.25in bays, which are hidden behind a magnetic door that spans the entire length of the front panel. Behind this door sits a big wad of sound-absorbing foam, bolstering the Silencio 652S’s claims of being a quiet case.
The downside to having the front door, of course, is that air has to be drawn into the enclosure at right angles through side vents in the front panel. The area behind these vents is vacant, but we’ve yet to see a case score highly in the cooling department with this arrangement. Interestingly, the top panel appears to have no fan vents out of the box, but a sliding cover reveals a large removable mesh. This arrangement presumably prevents spills entering the case, while reducing noise if you’re leaving this area free of fans.
Meanwhile, the power and reset buttons are located to the right of the door at the front, while two USB 2 and two USB 3 ports, plus a USB 2 SD card reader, are located on the top of the case for convenience, although only if your PC is situated on the floor. The Silencio 652S can accommodate loads of hard drives and SSDs too. There’s a very nifty contraption in the form of an expandable drive cage too. Out of the box, it’s set up to receive four 2.5in SSDs, but both the cage and the tool-free drive trays are extendable to allow the same number of 3.5in hard disks to be installed too.
There are three further 3.5in/2.5in bays in a separate drive cage at the bottom, and another in the base, plus there’s the option to mount a 3.5in disk in a 5.25in bay using the included adaptors, and a 2.5in SSD underneath it and also behind the motherboard tray. All this brings the total to nine 3.5in mounts and ten 2.5in mounts, although eight are shared. Both drive cages are removable too, which exposes two 120mm fan mounts, each occupied by a fan, as is the rear 120mm fan mount.
There are two further 120/140mm fan mounts in the roof, with the option to use a 180/200mm fan too, and there’s another 120mm fan mount at the rear of the upper drive cage, with an additional 120/180mm fan mount in the base of the case. Here, though, a 180mm fan will require the removal of the lower drive cage. The side panel also features a 180/200mm fan mount, although out of the box, it’s covered with a removable fascia. There’s space for a half-height double 120mm-fan radiator in the roof with a single row of fans too, and removing both drive cages provides space for a full-height radiator with fans on each side too, even if you use a 290mm-long graphics card. Meanwhile, removable dust filters are present in the PSU mount in addition to the roof, front and bottom fan mounts.
Cable routing is also excellent, with four large rubber grommets surrounding the motherboard, and an extralarge one for the PSU. There’s also a cut-out for 8-pin EPS 12V cables at the top left and another at centre top, which could be handy for fan cables. You also get around 4mm of space between the motherboard tray and rear side panel to tuck away cables, with several cable-tie anchor points too, although dealing with masses of cables will require a lengthy tidying session to make the interior look neat.
We tested the Silencio 652S in two configurations – one with both external fascias fitted and the drive cages installed, and the other with these parts removed to give you an idea of the lowest and highest airflow setups. With all the bits installed, the CPU delta T of 58°C is certainly on the warm side, with NZXT’s Phantom 530 bettering this result by 3°C even on its lowest fan speed setting, and the Fractal Design Define R4 beating it at its maximum fan speed too. The Phantom 530 also beat the Silencio’s GPU delta T of 53°C, again at its lowest fan speed.
That said, the Silencio 552S was whisper-quiet in this configuration, and its GPU delta T was generally cooler than that of the Fractal, while the soundproofing had a noticeable impact on the noise created by our test hardware too. Not surprisingly, removing the drive cages and fascias had a noticeable impact on the case’s cooling ability, with the CPU delta T dropping 4°C to 54°C, and the GPU delta T decreasing from 53°C to 49°C. As we suspected, the drive cages do a good job of reducing airflow, so we suggest removing any unused ones.
Removing the fascias had a small impact on noise, but you’ll need to test your own system to find the balance between decibels and cooling that best suits your requirements.
The Silencio 652S fared surprisingly well, given that it’s kitted out with comparatively low-spinning fans and has several vents blocked as default to reduce noise. It’s far from the worst case we’ve tested in terms of cooling, but equally, there’s quite a margin between its cooling ability and the best-performing cases available.
Of course, the average cooling comes with the advantage of lower noise, and the Silencio 652S is one of the quietest cases we’ve tested. If low noise is your priority then the Silencio 652S is undoubtedly a capable and well-designed chassis. NZXT’s Phantom 530 is also a worthy adversary, and while it costs a little more, its integrated fan controller can cut noise significantly, albeit not quite to the levels achieved by the Silencio 652S.
However, at its current price, the Silencio’s biggest threat comes from the similarly low-noise and well designed Fractal Design Define R4, which now costs just £72 from www.scan.co.uk, and remains our case of choice for a well-built, low-noise PC. However, if you can find the Silencio 652S cheaper, it’s undoubtedly a capable and well designed chassis.