Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
Taking the APH Networks approach to installation, the first piece of the puzzle is the power supply. This will be trivial task for the CM Storm Trooper, as the chassis provides tons of working room, and no hassle when installing the power supply. As you can see in the picture above, there is a lot of wires that comes from the control panel at the top of the chassis. At one point, it almost felt like the only reason they gave the user all of these cables is so that people will have enough to strangle themselves when trying to figure out how to route them. As mentioned on the previous page, there is a number of rubber openings for running them through, but the opening near the power supply isn't the most ideal position. I would have preferred the hole to be shifted a bit more to the front, since I was not able to use the back half it.
With the power supply in place, it was time to move onto the next task; putting in the motherboard. Normally, when you are installing the motherboard in lower end cases, bumps are already in place, so there is nothing you can do about it. However, this Trooper is prepared for anything, and leaves it up to the user to configure correct removable risers for their motherboard. This is a higher end product, and I would have not expected anything less.
After installing the risers, I routed the power cables, so I can easily plug them into the motherboard before mounting it to the chassis. I have to say, the amount of room I had available around my processor's cooler was impressive. Every chassis I've worked on prior to this one has made this task difficult, because they never accommodate for large aftermarket coolers. Screwing down the motherboard onto the risers was, again, a trivial task, because of the sheer spaciousness of the Cooler Master Storm trooper. Next up was the optical disk drive. I'm not sure why, but I have always put this disk drive at the very top. This case was the first one that made me question why, because it is simply too tall. It was challenging to route the cable from my power supply to the optical drive without extending it, because the distance was just that large. This is why I would have liked the spare part tray to be put at the top instead of the bottom, as it would have made the cabling job a bit easier and more flexible.
The next task for the CM Storm Trooper was putting in the hard drives. Having a number of possible slots to put them in, I decided to put one on each rack, so they both get their own fan. I always laugh at the idea of using a fan to cool a hard drive, as it usually has a negligible effect on the temperature. On the other hand, I don't have anything else for cooling the drives, so I might as well take what I can. It was effortless to install the drives once I had them in their respective holders. Unfortunately, putting the drives into the holders was a bit more difficult, because the trays were a tight fit. I had to wrestle with one to get the clamps to go inside the drive holes, which is odd, since the screw holes are identical between almost any hard drive in existence. However, after that minor setback, the rest was pretty effortless, as I had lots of room for cables.
Finally it was time for the graphics card. The PCI slot covers come with thumbscrews; however, I found that initially removing them was difficult without the assistance of a screwdriver. Maybe I'm just a weakling with butter fingers, but in reality, I think they just tightened them more than necessary. My graphics card with its behemoth Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME Plus II cooler fits inside the chassis with room to spare. Not that I anticipated any issues, but if I can fit that cooler inside the CM Storm Trooper, almost any other cooler will fit.
With everything in place, it is time to activate the Cooler Master Storm Trooper. Connecting the power cables, and plugging in the peripherals, I then pressed the power button. Everything came to life, and the first thing I did was play with the fan controls to see how loud or quiet the chassis is at various settings. The CM Storm Trooper offers six different fan settings; this allows you to dynamically control the cooling performance and loudness of your computer. Using the standard APH Sound Scale, where 0 is subjectively silence and 10 is a storm trooper making an assault in World War I, this chassis sits at about a 3.0 on the lowest setting, which isn't loud, but it certainly is audible across the room. At the highest setting, the Cooler Master Storm Trooper is only about a 4.0. While that is a perfect GPA, it isn't much louder than the lowest setting. I can easily hear the fans, but nothing close to something that would totally distract you.
I noticed that the LEDs at the top are fairly dim. This is expected, as human eyes typically don't find red light to be very bright. One feature that would have been a great addition is the ability to turn off the LEDs. While they can be informative, I don't need to be constantly informed my computer is on the highest fan setting. The little power LED is enough to tell me the computer is turned on, not to mention the sound of fans as well. As far as cooling performance is concerned, this chassis does provide excellent airflow, and I noticed a couple degrees drop in temperature compared to my other rather crappy chassis. Clearly, Cooler Master knows what they are doing when designing dust filters and case fans.
If you want to carry your computer with one hand and feel safe about it, the Cooler Master Storm Trooper will definitely give you that option. Retailing at $189.99 at press time, this is your gamer enthusiast chassis. Large and sturdy are the best ways to describe this beastly case. It even provides flexibility to control the fan speeds, and easy to remove dust filters for effortless cleaning. I do feel the price is actually quite reasonable for this product, but for the money I am paying, I would also expect better refinement across the chassis. Firstly, the loose panel in front of the spare parts tray is a major annoyance. While it keeps things discrete, it should be secured, so that it doesn't make noise from vibrations. Since this chassis is sporting a handle for carrying, all components should be properly secured. Each of the main vents come with a dust filter, except for a small group of holes on the side panels. Clearly, these should also have dust filters, as it is going to be the main entry point for dust into my computer. The inside is spacious and easy to work with, but the rubber flaps on the cable holes are weak and will rip easily. When all is said and done, these are simple tweaks could easily be incorporated in a revision of this chassis, but for now they are areas to improve upon. If you do buy this chassis, it will not disappoint you, and will provide you with many luxuries not available on cheaper alternatives. So, are you willing to spend the money to bring the storm to your LAN parties?
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 7.4/10
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.
Want something heavy duty to take to LAN parties, tired of working with tiny cases, or maybe you wish your computer had a handle? Well, meet the CM Storm Trooper, which will provide all that -- and more.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion