Cooler Master Storm Stryker Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion

Following APH Networks standards, the first component to install is the power supply. This, in all honesty, is the easiest part, as the chassis provides quite a bit of working room with no hassle when installing the power supply. The only thing that may get in the way is the 2.5” SSD bracket at the other end. While my power supply may fit fine in the slot, some PSUs are much longer, and therefore may require more space. The bracket may therefore become a hindrance to the customer. As mentioned before, there were many wires that came from the control panel. This became quite the pain when installing other components, because they would get in the way. The openings near the power supply are not in the best positions as they were quite hard to access as well. In fact, the FSP Raider 550W had too short of a motherboard power line to go through the back and out the front. While this is probably more of a fault on the PSU, it would be nice of Cooler Master to move some of the openings to make wiring management more flexible. Even an extension cable would have been nice.

The next step was placing in the motherboard. When installing motherboards on budget-friendly cases, "bumps" or raisers are already in place, so it would fit as is. However, on a higher end case, all of these are customizable, as the user must manually place all risers in place. Even though it meant more work to do, this is expected out of a higher-end case, since it will allow for more flexibility of different motherboard sizes.

Once I placed the risers in the correct positions, I drew the power cables through the chassis prior to mounting the motherboard itself. This would ensure for easy cable management in to the motherboard. It was impressive to see the room that was available around the processor’s cooler. Past chassis other reviewers have worked on showed difficulty in accommodating processor coolers, especially larger aftermarket heatsinks. Screwing in the motherboard was a pain-free task, as the chassis was definitely large enough to maneuver around.

The next task was placing the hard drives in. Having only a single HDD, I placed it in the top slot. After looking back, it’s is quite laughable to have fans for the hard drive, as the fans produced a negligible effect in terms of temperature. However, who doesn’t like spinning fans? Installation of the hard drives proved to be seamless as they were easily installed once placed in the correct holders. On the other hand, placing them in the holders were quite a tight fit, as some clamps required a bit more muscle to place them inside the drive holes. While this is a minor issue, it is quite odd since almost all hard drives are about the same size. The rest, however, was smooth sailing as cabling spacing was a non-issue.

The largest part of the system was finally coming in: The graphics card. The PCI slot covers come with thumbscrews that should be easily hand loosened. However, this was not the case, as they proved to be quite tough to remove initially. The graphics card fit with room to spare, a trend that was common throughout the entire installation process. The large chassis was really amazing, since there never was an issue in terms of not having enough space.

Finally, the most exciting part of the case review: Turning the computer on. After connecting everything and plugging the power cables, I pressed the large hexagonal power button, and the system whirred to life. The power button lit up, as well as the fan LEDs. Upon start-up, I began to fiddle around with the fan controls to measure volume of the chassis at different settings. The CM Storm Stryker, much like the Trooper, has six various settings to change cooling performance and loudness. The different volumes are indicated by three LEDs on the front control panel. Utilizing the standard APH sound scale, where 0 is the sound of a forest night, and 10 is when Rooney scores a hat trick for his home team, Manchester United, the chassis spins at a minimum of about 2.5, while maxing out at a 4.5. These numbers are relatively the same as the Storm Trooper, and I did not expect anything different.

Oddly enough though, the LEDs to indicate fan speed were rather dim. While the stereotypical gamer is said to spend their gaming in the dark basement, it seemed odd for them to be so dim. A nice feature would have been to turn off these LEDs, as they can be distracting, and it is quite obvious when the chassis fans are spinning at full speed compared to the lowest setting. However, this is quite minor. The airflow of the Storm Stryker itself is amazing, as there were a few degrees drop in temperature compared to other cheaper cases.


Overall, I really like the look of the case. The glossy white finish with black highlights is pleasing to the eye, though I would like an option for a matte finish. The addition of the case window itself did not detract from the overall aesthetics, but rather complemented the entire look. While this is not a case that screams "Look at me!", it really is an attractive looking thing in my personal opinion. I love the grilles on the top of the case. And sure, naysayers will exclaim that this case looks just like the Storm Trooper, but as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This case is still a tough beast with an easy to hold handle at the top. Its large internals, easily adjustable fan speeds, and removable dust filters already prove why this case is more than sufficient for an enthusiast. However, there are a few downfalls. The removal of eSATA was a question mark for me. Cooler Master would not require having to change the plates of the control panel, and users would be able to enjoy the eSATA interface. The internal parts case should be secured down, so that users do not need to be reminded of them carrying their toolbox around with their case. Lastly, the rubber grommets are weak and should be made out of a heavier material. While all of these issues are minor in nature, it is quite disappointing that the same minor issues that plagued the Storm Trooper still haunts the Stryker. However, these issues do not detract from the case too much, as this is still a solid buy for $160 at press time.

Cooler Master provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.

APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.3/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

The CM Storm Stryker takes everything from the CM Storm Trooper, and adds a window. How can anyone say no to awesome with a window?

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