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Cooler Master N400 & N600 Cases Review

Author: Dmitry
Date: October 12, 2013
Product Name: N400 and N600
Part Number: NSE-400-KKN1 and NSE-600-KKN1
Warranty: 1 Year
 
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Cooler Master’s N-series is quite unique in its approach since it strives to combine forward-looking features and understated looks with things the entry level case market sees little of: good build quality and plenty of interior space. Both the $80 N600 and $60 N400 go down this path but with a few differences in respects to design and layout. In this review, we take a quick look at both cases which take up the torch from Cooler Master’s lower-end N200 mATX chassis.

N400



The N400 is targets the basic builder category which should be evident from its ultra low cost. However, just because budget-minded gamers will flock to it doesn’t mean Cooler Master skimped on what’s being offered. For example, the N400 boasts a straightforward but perfectly useable and understated exterior design and a surprisingly well designed interior. Those just aren’t items seen on cases that cost just sixty bucks.


With a perforated front panel which is bordered by a glossy strip that houses numerous connection options and a standard side panel, the N400 takes a simple approach. However, Cooler Master hasn’t skimped on anything since that side panel holds a mount for a 120mm or 140mm fan even though anyone looking for a side window will look towards the N600.

That front panel hides a full-sized dust filter alongside mounts for two 120mm intake fans (one of which is pre-installed). It is also completely removable.


Moving on towards the interior, there are several interesting additions: well designed tool-less drive and plenty of cable routing options have been included. There’s even space for a pair of side-mounted 120mm fans behind the hard drive caddy and another dual fan mount on the case’s topmost zone. Unfortunately, neither of these is set up properly for water cooling installation.

In terms of spacing, Cooler Master has left room for 13” long graphics cards, up to seven hard drives and two 5.25” drives. They also included a secondary dual SSD caddy which is mounted behind the 3.5” drive cages.

As you’ll see in the video above, there are several positives and negatives to Cooler Master’s approach here. While the N400 is a well designed case, some parts of it just feel unfinished.


N600



The N600 is actually an upsized N400 with a few additional features and a slightly higher price of $80. Once again, Cooler Master has decided for an understated approach to this one with a straight-up black exterior color scheme and some well designed internals. Just remember that even at $80 the N600 ends up competing with some well-known chassis like Corsair’s excellent 300R, BitFenix’s Shinobi and NZXT’s Phantom 410.


From the outside, the N600 looks exactly like its sibling, though it adds a single 5.25” drive slot while eliminating the 3.5” drive bay of the N400. It even carries over the same USB 3.0 ports, front dual 120mm fans and dust filters. With that being said, the front fan mounts have been thoroughly revised and are much harder to access.

The only noticeable difference here is the addition of a large window on the N600’s side panel. This affords a clear view into the case’s innards but the elimination of the N400’s side fan mount may not go over too well with anyone who wants additional cooling capabilities.


From an interior perspective, we can see exactly where some of the changes have been made. The N600 receives rubber cable routing grommets, a rear fan speed controller, rotated / removable drive cages, a larger bottom-mounted air filter and a ton of additional cable management options. All of these items are missing on the less expensive N400.

While the N400 may not be all that successful in accomplishing the goals set out by Cooler Master, the N600 gets many of the small things right. Check out our review above to see an in-depth overview.
 
 

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