Cooler Master Storm Trooper Full Tower

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Posted by  on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 8:00am

Cooler Master Storm TrooperToday, Cooler Master is introducing a case under the Storm branding, the likes of which offers several features no other cases in its class does. Support for multi-rad setups, up to fourteen storage drives and 4-way GPU configurations are just a few of the goodies that we will be looking at during this review session. Should that somehow not be enough then there is still the styling to mention, tastefully done in a way that isn’t over-the-top and is subtle enough to be used as a workstation, but ideal for that all-out gaming rig.

Introduction to the Cooler Master Storm Trooper Gaming Tower

Cooler Master have been making cases for the longest time and should anyone say they have no clue what the enthusiast wants, then clearly they must not know about the High Air Flow (or HAF) series. This is one of the best selling line up of cases, consisting of the 912, 922, and 932, with additional X and Special Edition variations tossed into the mix. And if this isn’t enough to convince you that Cooler Master is one of the leaders in the gaming tower market, then take a look at their Storm line which contains the likes of the Enforcer, Sniper and the Scout.

All of the cases mentioned above have the means of supporting some pretty impressive gaming gear such as large high-end video cards, extreme multi-PCIe slot motherboards, and tons of storage devices like solid state drives.  Each of the models may offer a feature or two another does not but you are guaranteed quality and a repetition that only a few case manufacturers can claim.

Today, Cooler Master is introducing a case under the Storm branding, the likes of which offers several features no other cases in its class does. Support for multi-rad setups, up to fourteen storage drives and 4-way GPU configurations are just a few of the goodies that we will be looking at during this review session. Should that somehow not be enough then there is still the styling to mention, tastefully done in a way that isn’t over-the-top and is subtle enough to be used as a workstation, but ideal for that all-out gaming rig.

Cooler Master’s take on the Trooper

The CM Storm Trooper is the first full tower to include an ultra-strong carrying handle; allowing a gamer to travel with the finest system configurations available with relative ease. CM Storm Trooper includes features that are most coveted by gaming enthusiasts in that it has full dust filter coverage, a fan controller, an external SSD drive hot-swap dock and two uniquely designed modular hard drive cages. These features give CM Storm Trooper the ability to adapt to workstation or water-cooled gaming configurations easily. It is positioned to appeal to the high-end enthusiast computer builder market as the ultimate full tower solution for mobility.


Specifications

Available color:    All Black
Dimension:    250 x 605.6 x 578.5 mm (9.8 x 23.8 x 22.8 in)
Net Weight:    14.4 KG / 31.7 lbs
Motherboard Type:    Micro-ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
Case material:    Steel body, Front Mesh / Plastic bezel
5.25"Drive Bay:    9
3.5"Drive Bay:    8 (converted from 5.25" bay by two 4-in 3 HDD modules)
Expansion Slot:    9+1
Maximum CPU cooler height:    186 mm / 7.3 in
Compatibility GPU card length:    322 mm / 12.7 in
I/O panel:    USB 3.0 x 2 (internal), USB 2.0 x 2, e-SATA x 1, Audio In and Out (Supports HD audio)
Cooling System Front:    120 mm LED fan x2, 1200 RPM, 17 dBA
Top:    200 mm fan x 1, 1000 RPM, 23 dBA (converted to 2 x 120 / 140 mm fan)
Rear:    140 mm fan x1, 1200 RPM, 19 dBA (converted to 120 mm fan)
Side:    120 mm fan x 2 (optional)
Bottom:    120 mm fan x 2 (optional

Features

  •  Damage resistant rubberized outer surfaces with a built-in digital fan controller
  •  Supports high-end hardware such as XL-ATX motherboards, multiple GPUs in SLI or Crossfire
  •  Room for future upgrades with support for up to 14 HDD or SSD
  •  Dust filters on every intake that are removable to allow easy cleaning
  •  Support for several 240mm radiators (some larger radiators supported; see content for details)
  •  6 fan speed settings and fan LED control via fan controller
  •  Front I/O panel with 2 internal USB 3.0 connectors
  •  Easy transport with handles and a hidden tool box for carrying accessories
  •  Easy cable management and routing
  •  Two 90 degree removable and rotatable HDD cages each with an attached 120mm red LED fan

 


Closer look at the exterior

One of the most striking features of the Trooper is it’s not so extreme look. As counter-intuitive as that may sound, what I mean here is that a lot of cases in this class feature an aggressive styling that begs to be paid attention to. Well, the Trooper has a style that begs to be looked at, but it is far from the aggressive "look at me!" appearance. It features a look and stance that will appeal to the professional as well as the gamer, so if you are looking for a big box either to fit that high power graphic workstation or just to increase your internet status because you have all the best in components, this is it.

The Trooper is a large case that weighs in at just over 31lbs empty. The weight comes from the mostly steel body, but the mesh/plastic outer skeleton adds a bit as well. Standing 23 inches tall and 23 inches deep, it should have no problems supporting motherboards are large as XL-ATX. However, if you are looking for any color other than black you are out of luck right now as black is the only color it is available in.

One feature that makes the Trooper a little different from others is the rubber layer that covers most of the front and top half of the case (giving it that matte finish). The rubber coating helps to absorb the damage that could be had when transporting the box. It’s also helps to eliminate those small bumps and scratches that can acquire during assembly.

The front of the Trooper is outlined with a series of mesh drive bay covers; nine in total. The covers are easily removed by simply pressing the tabs on each side towards one another. Also worthy of mention is that they are all backed by a dust filter to help keep out unwanted nasties. 

Moving on down you can see the last 5.25" cover can be used to support a 3.5” device. At the bottom of the front facial is a tastefully placed metal CM Storm badge, but its purpose is more than to show off a trademark. The plate can be removed, revealing small drawer that can be used for various things like holding screws or whatever.

Back at the top, handily nestled in between the front bays and the top I/O panel, we find a 2.5" drive hot-swap bay. Many companies are implementing these into their designs, allowing the user to possibly eliminate one more item from their desktop.

The Trooper has one of the most complete I/O areas of any case I have seen to date and they did it with style. There are two USB 2.0 ports, flanked by two USB 3.0 ports, and a single eSATA connection. The typical Mic and Headphone jacks are present, along with power and hard drive activity LEDs. About the only thing not included is a FireWire port. The Trooper also has a built-in fan controller. The fans are connected to the controller via 3-pin connectors. The -/+ buttons controllers their speed while the button in between them controls the brightness of the fans.  The CM Storm logo above the controller is the power switch with the reset switch sitting off to the right side.

Removing all the drive covers from the front of the Trooper and you are greeted with two metal plates, these are what make up the internal 3.5” drive bays. These can be removed to support longer graphics cards or water-cooling rads with dual fans. We will show the case with these removing later.


Exterior continued...

Next, we have views of each of the side panels. The first image is of the right side panel and has support for dual 120mm fans, which are not included. The right panel’s mesh and grill openings serve the sole task of 'passive' air ventilation, or in other words, offers no fan mounts.

Standing tall, the back has a few features to show off itself. It begins with the water-cooling inlets at the top of the case, followed by a 140mm 1200 RPM 19 dBA cooling fan. The Trooper uses the vented slot covers, a personal favorite of ours, to block off any of the nine expansion slots when not in use. Just like the Enforcer case we reviewed for CM, the Trooper also has their "Storm Guard" feature, which will help to keep your peripherals from being jacked at a LAN party.

We know that heat rises and that a well designed case will utilize that law of physics, and the Trooper does just that by allowing that heat to escape the case through a mostly ventilated top. The Trooper is one of the few (or only) full-sized towers with carrying handles. Yes, the Trooper has a heavy duty rubber coated handle and rear grip that are riveted to the main structure of the case. One of the handles is clearly visible in the image below with the second part of the rear of the case.

All of the exhaust fans have some form of a dust filter to try and help eliminate dust from entering the case. Here is a shot of the filter located at the top of the case, which is removed by sliding it out from the rear. This shot also provides a great angle on the rear hand hold that we mentioned above.

The bottom of the case uses rubber and metal bumpers to keep the tower off of whatever surface it sits on. The most interest aspect of the bottom of the Trooper is the two dust-filtered vented areas, which are similarly easy to remove and clean.


Closer look at the interior

You would not expect anything more than a spacious interior full a full-size tower. And the trooper does not disappoint. Painted all black like many of today’s better cases the Trooper is capable of supporting motherboards as big as XL_ATX and video cards as long as 12.7 inches long.

There are two 120mm cooling fans attached to the HDD cage that allows for active cooling of the drives once in place.

The Trooper has a stand-alone cage for 2.5” drive which can support a total of four. It can be removed completely if you intend on adding additional cooling here like two larger fans or a water-cooling rad.

Once installed the PSU will sit on two rubber strips that will adsorb vibrating created by the operating PSU.

Cable management outlets are plentiful to keep things neat and tidy. The bottom most outlet is fairly large to allow multiple cables from the PSU to extend out the back of the tray. And no matter the location of the motherboard bracket, the Trooper has a huge opening to change out coolers.

A closer look at the rear 140mm cooling fan.

The top mounted fan measures 200mm and has operating specifications of 1000 RPM and 23dBA. If you are not in need of such a fan it can be replaced with dual 120/140mm units. I am sure plenty will replace it will a 220/240 water-cooling rad. If wanted a rad can be attached directly to the 200mm fan.

A quick shot of the HDD cage and the drawer at the bottom of the cage.

The rear of the shows there is a decent amount of room to fasten cables to the back of the motherboard tray.


The Trooper naked

We broke the Trooper down to its bare essentials to give you a better idea of its build and features. A simple small feature that may get over looked by some but I really like is once the top panel is removed which takes the pressing of some small clips on the under-side of the panel, the front facial simply need to be slid up and out. No pulling or breaking of plastic clips.

The two metal handles that will help the thirty plus pounds of the case and the additional weight of all the components once installed. The handles are riveted into the frame of the body for total support and strength. According to CM the handles can support upwards of 95 pounds.

Here we have the control PCB for the Trooper. There is no cabling or wiring attached to the outer panels of the case making for fewer mistakes when taking it apart.

With the HDD cage metal panels removed you have room to support longer video cards. What we like is with a little modding a couple of rads can be placed in this area. If you do decide to remove this plate make sure you remember the location of each plate as it get a little confusing when replacing them.

A close up view to the actual HDD cage.


Installation

Most builds begin with installing the motherboard stand-offs in the MB tray, so CM made the process easier but providing a screw adapter to tighten the stand-offs down.

The clearance of around a large cooler is plentiful as seen in the image below.

PSU installed.

A couple of 120GB SATA III SSD's in place.

Hard drive placed into its plastic holder before installation in the case.

Plenty of room at the end of the Radeon HD5870 GPU.

Powered up.


Conclusion

To begin one of the best reasons we like the Cooler Master Storm Trooper so much is the fact it will appeal to not only the gamers but the non-gamers as well. CM designed the Trooper to be useful towards both. The gamer can fill the case with all the goodies to complete an ultimate fragging rig. Or the professional can fill it with as many drives as needed to handle mass amounts of storage or build that high-end graphic workstation.

The Trooper consist of a lot of features that you will be hard pressed to find in just one case. One of those features would be the dual carrying handles found in the top of the case. Cooler Master knows that the Trooper is a heavy and even heavier when it is fully built, so the use of two handles makes it easier to carry. And you don’t have to worry about support for all the weight. And it isn’t too often you find handles in a full-size tower.

The USB (2.0 and 3.0), eSATA and audio jacks in the front of a case should be a standard in a case, so we won’t consider this a huge plus but the additional of the fan controller is a great addition. The few buttons that make up the controller will control all four fans that are attached to it. It even takes care of the LED brightness as well.

Cooler Master went the extra mile by placing dust filter in the top and bottom of the Trooper and front mounted cooling have aid of a filter mesh in each of the drive covers. All of this helps to reduce the amount of dust that can enter the interior of the case. They are easily removable when it comes time to clean them.

The fact that we did not have to use funky adapters to install smaller 2.5” drive was also good news. As they have their own cage. And if not needed it can be removed simple by removing four little screws. And once removed additional cooling can be implemented.

And speaking of cooling, the Trooper has plenty of room for many different configurations of a water-cooling setup, even a dual loop can be installed with little to no modding. And if you do have some modding skills we figured that as many as four rads take me placed on the inside of the case.

Only negative aspects of the Trooper were just of personal preference. The first was the single large outlet used for routing PSU cabling to the rear of the MB tray. With all the cables routed through one hole didn’t make for the cleanliest install.

The Trooper can support motherboards as large as XL-ATX but users of motherboards like the EVGA SR-2 may find it a little short of space.

The Cooler Master Trooper will have a MSRP of $189.99. Putting it in direct pricing competition with the Corsair Obsidian 700D and the Lian Li PC-A70F.

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