In 2017, Cooler Master went through a complete rebrand. Like many others in the PC hardware space, the company had a bit of an identity crisis trying to balance the needs of PC enthusiasts with the global market for PC gaming and esports. For the last two years, we've been consistently impressed with Cooler Master's offerings. The bold move to shift towards the simple "Make It Yours" philosophy has paid off.
The flagship Cosmos C700M is a favorite of ours, but the recently released SL600M is also a fantastic example. The case is all about blurring the lines between work and play, and it does so beautifully. Tasteless "gaming" designs are a thing of the past for Cooler Master and we couldn't be happier about it.
The SL600M features anodized aluminum with a sand-blasted finish that looks incredibly classy. But it also has a few angled lines and accent features that set it apart from your typically sleek and boxy enterprise machine. Even more impressive than its exterior design is the engineering feat in the internal chassis.
Cooler Master's SL600M has accomplished something even the flagship Cosmos C700M has failed to do. It made us fall in love with a vertical chimney design. When we first saw the case at Computex last year, it seemed like the SL600M was just going to be another silent case severely starved of airflow. We were definitely wrong.
It's a very bold move to completely seal the front of a case. So much so that most cases fake it with some form of intake airflow either through the sides or the bottom of the front panel. Cooler Master went all-in with the SL600M, completely sealing the front and moving the entire PSU shroud and housing from the bottom of the case to the front of the case.
By moving the power supply to the front of the case, Cooler Master was able to completely open up the bottom of the SL600M. Combine that open space with generous feet lifting it 2.25 inches off of the floor, and the case has plenty of room for the two included 200mm fans to maximize airflow. The SL600M also has a sealed rear panel, allowing hot air to follow its natural trajectory and quickly escape the case through the top panel.
It doesn't quite compare to a true silent case with sound dampening foam, but the enclosed panels and the large airflow fans make the SL600M much quieter than your typical mid tower. It's certainly cooler, too. The biggest benefit of this vertical chimney design is the fact that you now have cool air blowing directly onto your graphics card. CPU temperatures are a bit higher, but the GPU temperatures with the SL600M beat out any other mid tower we've tested.
Another unique feature of the SL600M is a rotatable PCI bracket window. This allows you to mount multiple GPUs vertically or install a single GPU further away from the tempered glass panel. Doing so improved our GPU temperatures even more. We're disappointed to see the lack of a riser cable included in the SL600M because you won't take full advantage of the chimney design without a vertically mounted GPU.
Building in the SL600M was generally easy enough, but the PSU installation may be tricky for some users. You don't have a whole lot of room to work with in the front, so it's better to completely remove the shroud and pre-wire the PSU cables before fully installing it into the case. This positioning makes hard drive installation and cable management a little bit tedious, but the payoff is totally worth it.
Although there are only two pre-installed fans in the case, an included PWM fan controller allows you to easily mount more to the top of the case. You can also mount an all-in-one liquid cooler or a custom cooling loop with plenty of space on the top or bottom panel. The fan controller is controlled via a switch on the front i/o, which is conveniently illuminated by a proximity sensor.
Overall, the SL600M is a great case considering its a completely new chassis design. We're really excited to see where Cooler Master takes it next, as the company has done a fantastic job incorporating feedback from its customers. The Cooler Master H500M is a great example, with its several improvements made from the original H500P. It's still our top performing airflow mid tower. Similarly priced around $200, the SL600M is definitely on the pricey side, but the innovative interior and beautiful exterior make it well worth the investment.