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Silencio 550 Conclusion
The Cooler Master 550 Silencio uses a Mid-Tower case and insulated front and side panels to sound dampen noise. The insulation is dense and seals the case well. You can only mount a total of three 120mm fans in the case, but for all but the hottest rigs, this is most likely going to be just fine Especially when you consider Sandy Bridge technology and how cool it runs, the problem of heat isn't really a problem as it was a few years ago (Think 920 Bloomfield OCed). The case comes with two 800 rpm 120mm Cooler Master fans, installed.
As of February 2012 the Silencio case sold for 109.99 (Newegg), making this computer case is a little more expensive than other Mid-Towers in the same league, but that could go down a bit when actually sold in retail outlets. However, the case is completely insulated for sound, and that's not something you see all the time.I'd say the price is about right if you want a sound insulated case. Just about everything else you would want in a no fireworks case comes with this one.
For a Mid-Tower case, it's surprisingly roomy and you get almost a full inch of back panel cable room, but only 154mm of CPU cooler space, which may or may not be a problem for you. The Silencio 550 will accept a video card up to 11.1" (281mm) with the removable drive cage installed, 15.8" (400mm) card with the drive cage removed, and 16.8" (427mm) card with the top front fan and drive cage removed. Included is a front loading built in hot swap bay, an SD card reader, and two USB ports, one USB 3.0 and one 2.0. However, the USB 3.0 does not have it's own native USB controller, so you need to run the cable out of the back of the case and plug it into the motherboard's USB 3.0 header. The front grill is double thickness to allow intake air from the gill vents in the front bezel and snaps in nicely. It also comes with a filter that is easy to clean. There is another filter on the bottom of the case serving the power supply, and it too is an easy to remove filter that slides off.
The case's look is sleek, spartan, but elegant, and painted very well. I have no problems with the case's outward appearance, but if you want "Bright Lights Big City," it's not the case for you. The painted surface is a matte finish that doesn't show finger prints, but the mirror like front panel is a finger print magnet. On the other hand, the front is nice looking because it is mirror like, and that's pretty cool. The gill vents on the front are nice looking, and are not there just for looks. They are a necessary cooling element because the internal sound insulation seals the panels well. As always, the construction, like all Cooler Master cases, is as solid as it gets, with all rolled edges so there are no cut points anywhere on the case. On the other hand, the case is so sleek as to not standout at all, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
In several areas, I've given this case a hard time, but there is nothing wrong with it. If you're in the market for an elegant, mature case without the bright lights big city look, and one that is sound insulated and functional, then this case might be for you. Sound insulation is this case's marketing point, although it does shine in other areas, such as cable management and build quality.
+ Sleek, elegant look
+ Sound insulated
+ Roomy internal spaces
+ Lots of video card room
+ Hot Swap hard drive bay
+ SD card reader
+ USB 3.0 front panel I/O port
+ Filters on both air intakes
+ Built solid
+ Almost a full inch of back panel cable space
+ Internal removable hard drive cage
+ Comes with two 120mm 800 rpm fans
- SD card reader instead of more I/O USB ports
- USB 3.0 from front panel has to be run outside the case
- Larger video cards requiere removing the internal drive cage
- Only two 5.25" bays
-Door is not removable and only opens right to left
- Performance: 8.00
- Appearance: 7.25
- Construction: 9.75
- Functionality: 9.00
- Value: 8.50
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.
Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.
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