Cooler Master Storm Stryker Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside

If you haven’t read the Cooler Master Storm Trooper review before, you should now. Why? Because for this whole page, there is very little difference between that chassis and this one. What is the first difference that comes to mind? Color: The case is white and black. I really like the color and styling choices for the Stryker. Preston, a fellow writer here at APH Networks, commented that the case looked somewhat Star Wars-like. As well the large window really looks showy, and I do like the ability to see the parts inside. Much like the Storm Trooper, the Stryker comes with nine 5.25” drive bay covers. The clips are integrated with the design of the front. I cannot agree more with Devin; this really makes it convenient to move things around without sacrificing any aesthetic value. In fact, I think it adds to the looks, but that's just my opinion. Each cover comes with a dust filter that is once again easy to pop out, yet would stay securely once in place.

On the very bottom is the tenth removable plate displaying the text "CM Storm" with its fancy flame-like logo. Removing this plate reveals a sliding tray that holds other parts for the chassis. If you read the Trooper review, you would have seen that Devin detested the vibration noise created by this tray when tilted slightly forward. While this idea is innovative in nature, the implementation is unchanged from past generations, so this case still suffers from the same vibration noise. I would say having the spare parts in the case is a good idea based purely on the fact you will know where to find it the next time you look for it. Again, hopefully they will improve this feature next time around. Another cardboard box is stuck inside the chassis which holds eight 3.5" and 2.5" to 5.25" drive bay adapters.

Its dimensions easily show this is a full tower case. Measuring 250mm wide, 605.6mm high, and 578.5mm deep, this case is almost absurdly large. The standard ATX user will find these numbers to be outrageous, but since this is not an ATX chassis, the dimensions aren't that far off. The height, for example, can be quite misleading, since the case humps up to where the carrying handle is. The actual internal height would be closer to 490mm. However, if you show up to a LAN party with this case, you will be the one that looks like a tank. Not only does it weigh in at a hefty 30.2lb (Or 13.7kg for you metric people), but it does look massive compared to other cases. The top and front are made out of plastic, with a glossy finish. The rest of the case is made with steel. The plastic feels a tad cheap, unlike the rubbery feel on the Trooper. Luckily, a soft rubber covers the handle, making the case easy to... handle.

The Cooler Master Storm Stryker has a control panel front, with a large button to drive to warp speed. On a serious note, the large button actually powers up the machine, while the side buttons change the fan speed. LED lights are near the buttons to indicate fan speed levels. In addition to the large black buttons, on the far right is a "Reset" button. While many people may not use this very often, it is quite useful for those times when you rage on your computer, or if someone else rages at your computer after you run over them while gaming. As for input/output ports, there are two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and two 3.5mm audio jacks. Curiously enough, where an eSATA port was on the Storm Trooper, there is only a location where the port cutout is supposed to be -- kind of like cars with fake buttons for lower trims. While it cuts down on production costs, it is rather cheap looking, and should either be implemented with the eSATA, or removed altogether. In addition to all this, there are two LED indicators: One to indicate power, and the other to indicate hard drive activity. However, they should actually remove this, as the power button itself lights up to show whether the computer is on or not, making this somewhat redundant. Rather, they could combine the power button's LED with the HDD activity, while removing the two indicators.

Underneath this control panel is a docking slot labeled "X-DOCK", which allows for quick external docking for any 2.5" drives. I quite like this innovation -- though not necessarily new -- as it offer users the ability to easily move their drives around, including any SSDs you may have. As mentioned prior, there is a large handle that is located at the top, which makes moving the case around very easy. This hulk of a case can break your back, especially when fully loaded. But the handle is placed perfectly so that the weight of the case is balanced and easy to carry. After seeing many friends move their full-case computer to LAN parties, I will say that this handle is extremely useful, and should be placed on all enthusiast cases. In addition, the top vent also has a sliding dust filter. It's really easy to use, since it makes it easy to clean.

Rotating to the rear end shows some useful features. At the top are three holes covered with rubber grommets. Below is the rear exhaust fan, which allows for 140mm or 120mm fans, depending on which one you are fans of -- no pun intended. The Cooler Master Storm Stryker comes with a 140 mm fan attached, so you probably won't need to swap them out. Next to the exhaust fan is the motherboard I/O panel; below are nine PCI expansion slots. This, in addition to the large case itself, will allow for quad SLI/CrossFire configurations without having to even worry about size constraints. At the very bottom is the power supply bay, and even future down below the power supply bay is another sliding dust filter, which makes dust cleaning even easier. Everything here is expected, but very typical of any other computer case.

The real obvious reason of why anyone would purchase the Cooler Master Storm Stryker over the Storm Trooper is because of this picture right here: THAT view. Measuring at approximately 279mm x 343mm (at its widest sides), this plastic window brings out the hardware usually kept inside. Sure, it does mean that your wiring job better be at its best, but man, it is pretty. For those enthusiasts with internal LEDs, the window does everything to complement it. The plastic itself is decent, as it is snug in place, without any shake or wiggle. I think that the window thing is a personal preference. Some people prefer a pure black case with a no-surprise look, while others like the flamboyancy that is offered in LAN-party-certified cases. In all honesty, it truly comes down to a personal choice in terms of styling. But let's just say the looks definitely do not detract from the case as a whole. In addition to the window, there is a side vent that allows for airflow. While the vent is not as large as the one on the side of the Storm Trooper, it is obviously a good idea to have side vents to allow for additional cooling. However, the side vents, while they are stacked, are not filtered. The last time I opened my older computer case, dust was flowing everywhere. Mind you, it was a stock Dell case, so keep that in mind. But one point is certain: Dust can gather very easily in my room. I am rather surprised that Cooler Master has not gone to the lengths to placing some mesh behind the vent holes, as dust will keep the heat in the case and also clog up other ventilation areas.

Flipping the case onto its side reveals the bottom of the chassis. Four feet are located on each corner of the case. These feet are padded with a rubber base, with a silver lining on each foot. The great thing about this is that the feet are approximately 20mm off the ground, which allows for ventilation underneath the case. This means that if the user is to implement bottom mounted fans, they can rest assured knowing that there is enough space under the case for air flow. As clearly shown, there are also two removable air filters much like at the top of the case that allow for easy cleaning while keeping dust out of the bottom. All in all, I really like the external looks. With all said and done, it is now time to crack open the case, and peer into the deep abyss.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion