Published on 1/3/2019 8:00:00 AM by J K
Cooler Master Cases
In a year when pretty much every case has some element of RGB, sometimes it is nice to go back to the root of what makes a great case. That is what Cooler Master has done with its new case: the MasterCase SL600M. It has a stylish design, quality materials, and some innovative features. Some of the notable features of the SL600M are bottom to top airflow, a versatile mounting bracket for SSD/HDD’s or water cooler components throughout the case, and a rotatable PCIe bracket panel. In addition to these features, the SL600M also sports a dark tinted tempered glass back panel, adjustable top vent, and anodized aluminum panels with a smooth sandblasted finish. Despite this extensive list of features, the SL600M still manages to maintain an MSRP below $200 at a price of $199.99.
Back in 1992, when the internet was in its early stages and CPU’s were measured in MHz rather than GHz, a company called ORYX was born. ORYX later became Cooler Master, which we know the company as today. Started by a rogue product manager who had no funding and no support except a single administrative secretary, he set out to create, innovate and improve products for the PC industry. Starting with its first product, a Socket 7 CPU heat sink in 1993, their product line has since grown to Cases, Peripherals, Fans, and much more. Over the past 25+ years they brought many advancements and firsts to the PC industry (such as the first all copper heat sink) and today, they continue to innovate by bringing new and exciting products to market.
|Product Name||MasterCase SL600M|
|Available Color||Silver, Black|
|Front Panel Aluminum|
|Top Panel Aluminum|
|Left Side Panel Tempered Glass|
|Right Side Panel Steel|
|Dimensions||544(L) x 242(W) x 573(H)mm|
|Motherboard Support||Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX (E-ATX* support up to 12" x 10.7", will limit cable management features)|
|Expansion Slots||9 + 2 (Support vertical graphics card installation)|
|Drive Bays||5.25" 0|
|Combo 3.5" / 2.5" 4|
|I/O Panel||Power-LED Color White|
|HDD-LED Color White|
|USB-Ports USB 3.1 Type C x 1, USB 3.0 Type A x 2, USB 2.0 Type A x 2|
|Audio In / Out 1x 3.5mm Headset Jack (audio+mic) & 1x 3.5mm Mic Jack|
|Reset Switch N/A|
|Fan Control||4 step slide, 4pin PWM x 4|
|Pre-installed Fan(s)||Top N/A|
|Bottom 200mm PWM Fan x 2 (Speed: 400~800RPM / Connector: 4Pin)|
|Fan Support||Top 120mm x 3 or 140mm/200mm x 2|
|Bottom 120mm x 3 or 140mm/200mm x 2|
|Radiator Support||Top 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm (maximum thickness clearance 43mm|
|Bottom 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm (maximum thickness clearance 72mm when the GFX is installed in the vertical position)|
|Clearance||CPU Cooler 191mm|
|Power Supply Support||Front Top Mount, ATX|
The MasterCase SL600M is packaged in a non-color box with the front featuring a wireframe drawing of the profile of the case with some additional black and outlined rhombuses scattered around. Towards the bottom of the box, there’s a tagline for the SL600M: “Blurring The Lines Between Work/Play”.
Turning the box to its side, there is another wireframe of the SL600M’s front.
Looking at the back of the box, you have a brief description of the SL600M with its notable features written in 8 different languages. Beside the SL600M’s description is also a smaller profile drawing, this time, showing the back panel of the case.
Moving to the last side of the box, you're given the list of the SL600M technical specifications along with information regarding product registration and various Cooler Master locations.
Opening the box, the SL600M is safely packaged with two Styrofoam pieces on either end. Looking to the left side, included is a black accessory box along with the user manual.
Pulling out the SL600M, we can see it is also wrapped in some plastic and has a red fragile sticker on its tempered glass panel.
After removing all the packaging from the case, you get your first look at the SL600M. All that’s left to do is to remove the fragile sticker and you’re ready to build.
Opening the black Cooler Master branded box reveals the following accessories:
With the SL600M free of its packaging, we get our first detailed look at the case and we are truly in awe of the design choices. The first element that really caught our eye was the anodized aluminum panels with a smooth sandblasted finish. They are smooth to the touch and are free of any markings with the exception of the Cooler Master logo outline on the front panel. We were also delighted to see that Cooler Master put well-sized feet that are just over 2” higher so that the bottom intake will not be restricted in any way. Looking over to the front tempered glass panel, it has a fairly dark tint with a ¾” black bezel all around it. The bezel itself is slightly enlarged toward the front of the case to hide any SSD cables if you choose to mount them near the front.
The back side of the case is a solid black steel panel with a smooth finish.
Looking at the back of the SL600M, you will instantly notice the lack of a PSU cutout and missing rear exhaust. Since the SL600M’s intake is at the bottom of the case, the PSU has been relocated towards the front of the case. Cooler Master has included a plug at the back, which then extends to the PSU’s new location. One item that we did wish they included in the plug at the back was a way to cut power to the system. You can still do this on the PSU but it is a little inconvenient opening up the case and hunting for the switch with your fingers. Though you may think it’s a little unusual to omit the exhaust fan with the SL600M, it has been designed to exhaust solely from the top. If a rear fan was included, it would probably interrupt the intended airflow and also add unnecessary noise.
Another neat feature that has been added to the SL600M is a rotatable PCIe plate. This allows you to increase the number of vertical PCI mounts for builds needing more than the two default ones.
Flipping over the case to the bottom, the two aluminum feet include 4 rubberized pads. These pads will keep the aluminum off the surface and prevent scratches as well as help keep the SL600M stationery. To help prevent dust from getting in your case, there is also a filter covering the 2 pre-installed 200mm fans. The filter can easily be removed to clean by pulling it from the back of the case.
The top of the case contains the same anodized aluminum as the rest of the case. Looking towards the front is the SL600M’s I/O port and a Cooler Master shaped power button. The top vent is adjusted based on the performance to noise ratio you prefer. If you wish for a more silent system you can leave the vent in the default configuration, which will restrict the airflow but also be quieter. You can increase the airflow by either propping up the vent or completely removing it. Even with the vent totally removed, the SL600M still looks great and should provide you with better airflow.
Taking a closer look at the SL600M’s I/O, it includes left to right and top to bottom:
Taking all the front tempered glass panel reveals an all-black interior with the exception of a silver Cooler Master logo on the right panel. This panel is completely removable and also includes two SSD mounting points.
Looking behind the right panel is the PSU shroud, which has a single grommet at the bottom for running cables towards the front of the case. Attached to the shroud is one of the many brackets in the SL600M, which can be used to install SSD’s, HDD’s or water cooler accessories.
At the back of the case where you would normally see the rear exhaust fan, you will find another universal installation bracket.
To take off the right panel, you just need to remove the two screws on the top and bottom. Once it has been removed, you have access to the SL600M PSU shroud.
The shroud itself can be taken off by using the two thumbnail screws on the right. After it has been removed, it reveals the last piece of the PSU assembly, the PSU mounting bracket.
This mounting bracket can also be taken off by unscrewing the two thumbnail screws on the right. Now that is it removed, you can attach your PSU and re-attach it to the SL600M. Looking at the back, you will notice that there are notches from the bottom to top of the case that allows you to install the PSU in different locations.
Now that the PSU has been removed, toward the front of the case there are 2 more universal brackets.
To access the front brackets, you must remove the front panel of the case.
At the bottom of the interior, you have the two pre-installed 200mm under a steel encloser that has ventilation on the top.
This enclosure can be easier taken out by removing the 4 screws holding it in place: two located at the back and two at the front. Once removed you have access to the two installed 200mm fans, if you were to go with a smaller fan, it also supports 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans.
If you wish to install some exhaust fans, you can do so by removing the top panel. This can be done by removing the thumbscrew located at the back of the case and popping it off. The top, like the bottom, supports up to 3 x 120mm, 2 x 140mm, or 2 x 200mm fans.
For ease of installation of a radiator the whole top panel can be removed by taking out the 6 screws holding it in place.
Taking off the back panel, Cooler Master has included plenty of tiedown points for your cable management, 3 of which include Velcro strips. As far as running the cables to your components the SL600M has 2 small cutouts at the top of the motherboard tray, 3 large grommets on the left side and a long wire channel along the bottom. Also installed is a fan controller which supports up to 4 PWM fans and can be controlled using the front I/O or your motherboard. If you wish to install some SSD’s on the back, you can do so with the 2 brackets below the motherboard cutout.
The hardware included in this build is:
Cooler Master has really outdone themselves with the SL600M as it was an absolute dream to build in. Being a little bit larger than your average case and the new placement of the PSU, the SL600M was by far the roomiest mid-tower I have ever built in. I’m a huge fan of the new layout and the SL600M has tons of room for doing SLI and adding a custom water loop. You also don’t have to worry about storage, even though the SL600M doesn’t have a dedicated drive bay with the help of the universal mounting brackets you can install up to 8 SSDs/HDDs throughout the case. I personally mounted my SSD on the front so I could show it off.
Taking a closer look at my build you truly get a sense of how much room you have to work with and thanks to the ample cutouts, I was able to easily able maintain a clean build I’m always aiming to achieve. I chose to install the CPU cooler as you normally would in a case that exhausts at the back. After doing some research, it was proven that your CPU will run cooler pulling in the colder air from the front of the case as opposed to the heated exhaust from your GPU(s). An added bonus installing it this way is that I didn’t have any ram clearance issues and the Cooler Master logo is orientated correctly. One of my favorite cable management features of the SL600M is the wire channel at the bottom of the motherboard. It was extremely easy to feed wires through and it does a great job of hiding them from view.
Once I had the system booted, I was able to test the motion activated USB LEDs. I must say I really love this feature as with my current build I’m constantly searching for its front USB ports.
Even though the back panel isn’t tempered glass, the SL600M has plenty of tie-down points to cleanly manage my cables. I really liked that there was a lot of space between the motherboard tray and back side panel. Even with my bulky PSU cables, reattaching the back panel took no effort at all.
Cooler Master’s SL600M is truly the perfect mid-tower case for someone that is looking for something unique and doesn’t want all that RGB flair. I personally think the SL600M strikes the perfect balance between style and function and as its tagline suggests, it is great for work or play. The exterior of the case looks amazing with its sandblasted aluminum body and tinted tempered glass panel that would look great in your man cave or office.
Building in the SL600M was effortless to achieve a clean build and really felt more like a full tower case than a mid-tower. Throughout my build, there was plenty of room to maneuver and even though I did a simple air-cooled build, there is plenty of space for a full custom loop. The SL600M has plenty of cable management options such as tie-downs, grommets and cable cutouts which all helped keep my build tidy. Even with my bulky EVGA stock cables, I was able to re-attach the back-steel panel with ease and didn’t need to squeeze it back on like I have had to do with other cases.
I really liked that Cooler Master decided to change it up and go for a bottom to top airflow layout. Not only do I like how it looks by opening up the bottom of the case, but it also helps keep the system extremely quiet. The new PSU location makes it easy to add additional cables even after it’s installed and if you choose to show it off all you have to do is remove the PSU shroud. My only complaint about the SL600M is the absence of a PSU power switch at the back. This really is a minor issue and is something they would consider in the next revision of this case.
Overall, I was beyond impressed with the SL600M and it has been my favorite case to build in for 2018. It had all the features I’d expect in a great case and even some features like the sensor activated USB LEDs I didn’t know I needed. Whether you're looking for a case for the game room or workplace, I would definitely give the SL600M a look.