Cooler Master Storm SF-19 V2 Review (Page 2 of 3)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Usage

Have you ever thought about having a laptop cooler that may look cooler than your laptop itself? Or just put in this way: Do you want to get a fancy laptop cooler, which is almost as big as your gaming laptop, to catch eyes at a LAN party? The SF-19 V2 could be the answer. From the top view, it is completely black, which is a symbol of bad, and I mean it in good way. The majority of its top is covered with a cold-forged polygon mesh surface. It is cold-forged, since the material is not that hard that requires hot-forging. The mesh surface allows cold air to be blown through for cooling purposes. The mesh surface is not purely flat, in fact, it has several creases. This design is not just purely for aesthetic considerations. More importantly, it reinforces the structure so the mesh surface can support the weight of a 19" laptop. Underneath the mesh surface, two 135mm fans are situated inside the chassis. Well, comparing to its predecessor, the diameter of the fan was slightly reduced. Although we cannot say that this is a degradation, since the performance of the fan does not solely depend on the size. The new fan features sickle shaped blades; for this part I will get into details shortly. There are four pieces of rubber bumpers attached around the edges and corners of the SF-19 V2. The layout and the functions of the rubbers remain the same as its predecessor. They are to provide friction to your laptop, act as a handle, supply a cable slot, and to serve as bumpers.

The above picture shows the details of the front left corner of the Cooler Master Storm SF-19 V2. Here we have the anti-slip rubber cable slot, LED on-off switch, LED multi-light shader, and the fan RPM controller. The picture clearly reveals the design of the cable slot. It is grooved upward and downward behind the slot. The shape of the cable slot can also be used to clip the wires that go through it, such that the user will not get a mess of wires around the cooler. Two of the silver switches are located on the left side of the cooler right beside the rubber cable slot. One of them is dedicated to turn on and off the LED lights, and the other one is to change LED illumination modes. We will see how the LED lights work later. Near the LED switches, there is a fan RPM controller that can adjust the rotors' spinning speed. All the switches and buttons are nicely arranged at this corner, so they are convenient to use by one hand.

All the plug ins of the CM Storm SF-19 V2 are put at the right side of the cooler. There are four USB 3.0 slots ready for your laptop extensions. Those USB ports are connected to your computer through a Micro-B USB connector. The power input indicates that the input voltage is 5V. Note the previous version of the cooler has a 30W adapter, while this product uses a 20W adapter. Either should be more than enough for something of this purpose.

I would like to say that the LED lights are my favorite part of this big guy, since they really add shinning colors to this all-black cooler. Those LEDs are refered as the multi-light shader by Cooler Master. There are seven colors we can choose by pressing the multi-light shader button. Seven is not a huge number, but it is large enough for a device that does not need to be configured by software. Remember we have a controller to adjust the fan RPM, right? If the shader is on, the fan spinning speed can actually be indicated by the brightness of those LEDs. Through adjusting the RPM controller, the illumination mode of the LEDs will change accordingly. If the fan spins at high speed, the LEDs will be at their brightest mode, while if the fan spins at a low speed, there will be a very interesting effect called "breathe mode". For the SF-19 V2, using LEDs as a fan speed indicator is a practical design. This is because the motor noise is really low for the SF-19 V2, thus it is hard to sense the fan speed just hearing the noise level a lot of the time.

If you flip the SF-19 V2 over, you will see a detachable plastic mesh cover. Two cooling fans are attached to the flip side of the cover using clips. You should be able to remove the fan pretty easily without much effort. Anyhow, you probably will not need to change the fans, since they have 160,000 hours of life expectancy. Thanks to the loop dynamic bearing, all the mechanical parts of the DC motor are fully lubricated, so consequently the lifespan is long, and the noise is low. The fans are 135 mm in diameter. Like I have mentioned before, it is actually 5mm smaller than its predecessor. I do not think the 5mm difference will make any significant difference to the cooling effect; however, the Cooler Master somehow reduced the maximum RPM as well. If you look at the specification, the SF-19 V2 has a 1,300 RPM maximum, while the SF-19 can go up to 2,600 RPM. I understand that Cooler Master really wants to make the cooler quieter, but what I do not understand is, why did they limit our choice of the fan speed? If you want it to be quieter, you can simply lower the RPM using the potentiometer, right?

All four USB 3.0 ports were quite trouble free to use. When you connect the SF-19 V2 to your laptop for the first time, remember to give it some time to install the drivers, otherwise the USB ports will not work. It is worth noting that the USB ports are self-powered thanks to the external DC adapter. On the other hand, the control of the fans and the multi-light shader is independent of the laptop, so they can work even without plugging it into your computer.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Usage
3. Testing and Conclusion