Cooler Master Storm Sniper Review

gotdamojo06 - 2009-01-22 08:49:16 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: February 24, 2009
Price: $159.99

 Introduction:

Have you been looking for a new case to house your computer component investments? Maybe you have a nice looking case that is a little cramped with all of your add in cards such as your large video card, or maybe you just don't have any space to be able to hide all of your wires and you want to increase the effectiveness of your case's airflow. Whatever your reasoning, you should take a nice hard look at Cooler Master's new line of cases the "Storm" lineup, to be more exact, their Sniper case. This case not only looks like it is going to be large enough to be able to hold a few of the larger video cards and an entire water cooling loop, but it also looks like it has been designed with maximum air flow in the back of their minds. Cooler Master has added a fan controller to their case along with a few 200mm fans to cool down all of the parts of your system and give you total control on what ever you decide to put in the Sniper case. I am very curious to see exactly what it looks like and how well it is going to be able to perform when compared with some of the other cases that are out on the market.

 

Closer Look: 

Taking a look at the retail packaging that Cooler Master has given their Sniper case, the case looks very appealing. Not only does the front of the package have a very simplistic and professional feel to it, it gets the point across by displaying a large image of the front and main side of the case in its own little cutout on the upper right hand side of the case. Down at the bottom of the case is where you are going to see the name of the case, the "Sniper" with a tag line written under it, "Arming the gaming revolution." The tag line gives you the direct impression that the Sniper case from Cooler Master is directed right towards the PC gaming community for a few different reasons. Firstly, being the literal translation of handing them the weapons that they are going to need to win; the second being the name of the case which is named after a specific style of gaming used in an FPS game. The top left hand corner is where you are going to see the Cooler Master Storm logo located. The back of the case is where you are going to see a picture of a Sniper with his rifle, along with a list of the key features followed by a few images pointing those features out by illustrations. The two sides of the package are quite simple, as they just give the information that you need to know about the case such as its weight, the dimensions and the cooling system used. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I opened up the packaging for the Cooler Master Sniper case, I was able to take the first look at the case itself. I was very impressed by the way that Cooler Master packaged the case for the shipping process. Not only did it have the protection against scratches and dents from the cardboard, it was also wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent any more scratches that may have possibly occurred. The top and the bottom of the case had a molded foam protector that was fitted exactly to the design of the case, to prevent any major dents from happening.

 

Now that we know exactly how the Cooler Master Sniper case was packaged up, it's time to take a nice close look at the design of the case and what all of the features look like first hand. 

Closer Look:  

The front of the case looks somewhat like most of the other Cooler Master cases out there. All of the drive bays are deisgned with airflow in mind and they are made with a mesh type material that is going to be able to "breathe" allowing air to flow at its own pace through it. There is the front IO pannel also located at the top of the case that is going to allow you to use some of the ports that are located on your motherboard when you need them, without having to reach to the back of the case. At the bottom, you are going to see that there is a large fan mounted to suck fresh, colder air in from outside of your case. The back side of the case is where you are going to find the completely solid side panel. This panel was also designed with airflow in the back of their mind, as it has a pushed out center, allowing for better cable management and allowing more cables to be "hidden" behind the motherboard tray. The back of the case is where you are going to see exactly how the case has been set up. The PSU is positioned at the bottom of the case, the motherboard is positioned towards the top, while there is a single 120mm fan that is positioned where the PSU is usally located. The main side panel of the case is made up of a mesh type material to allow the case to "breathe" some more, allowing for better air flow.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a closer look at the side panels of the Sniper case, you can see that the "breathable" main side panel is not only made up of the mesh material, it is also designed with plastic supports in the background. These supports are going to allow you to mount a fan if you so choose to, as this will add more air flow to the interior of the case, dropping the temperatures even more. The other side panel is quite simple in looks, however the design allows more wires to be hidden behind the motherboard tray, again allowing for more airflow that is not going to be disrupted. There is a Cooler Master Storm logo located on the back panel.

 

 

Now that we have the side panels removed, the next logical step would be to see how the interior of this beautiful case is designed and laid out. The main side of the case, is where you are going to find all of the tool-less features of the case located. The front of the case is where all of the drives are going to be located including your 5.25" drive bays towards the top and your 2.5" drive bays towards the bottom. We will get into more detail later in the review as to exactly how they work. You can also see the two 200mm fans that are mounted on the inside of the case - one is located at the top and the other at the front lower bottom of the case. Looking from the back of the case is going to show you how the wire management is going to be set up. There is a large hole at the bottom for running your power supply wires through and a hole at the top if you needed to feed any of those down.

 

 

The brown box located on the base of the case is where you are going to find all of your accessories that you may need to install your hardware for the case, such as a user manual, a bag of screws, the expansion slot brackets, and some zip ties to keep all of those wires in place.

 

 

 

The expansion slot brackets are all made with many slits in them, that are again going to allow the air from the inside of the case to flow over the cards that are installed inside of the case and flow right out the back of the case after it has picked up some of the heat from the cards, allowing your computer to run more smoothly. There are four "boots" that can be installed on the feet of your case to keep from scratching the surface that you feel like putiting your case on, along with two more rubber gromets to allow water cooling tubing to be fed out of the inside of your case. There are a handful of zip ties included with the Sniper case, along with two metal brackets that are going to allow you to install a 3.5" drive, such as a floppy drive in the 5.25" drive bay.

 

 

Now that we know the basic layout of the case, it's time to take a closer look at exactly how all of the parts work together to increase the airflow and allow your case to function properly.

 

Closer Look:   

As I mentioned before, we would take a closer look at how to use the tool-less features of the case. The first up are the drive bay tool-less features. The first ones that I would like to look at are the 5.25" drives. These use a simple push button that when the button is pushed down, the drive is locked into place if the holes are line up properly with the push button. The push button is going to release a piece of plastic that goes into the screw hole and holds the drive in place. The next part that I wanted to look at is how you are going to install your HDD in your case. This is just as simple, first you are going to pull up the lever, then pull out the the HDD casing, bend the casing so you can fit your HDD inside of it, then slide it back into the desired slot and close the lever.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back side of the case, where the motherboard is mounted is where there are a few other wire management features located, the first being the PCI slots. They use a plastic piece that has knobs on the portion that feeds through the case material to allow the plastic tab to lock into place when a card is installed. These tabs are going to apply enough force to act as a "screw" and keep the card from moving out of place when placed upright. Above the expansion slots is a "maze" design for wires to be fed through to keep them in place so that they will not disrupt the natural flow of the air passing through the case.

 

 

There are only three fans that come pre-installed on the Cooler Master Storm Sniper case. These three are the one 200mm fan in the front, the 200mm fan located on the top of the case, and the 120mm fan that is located on the back of the case above the expansion slots. There is a spot for a fourth fan, a 120mm fan on the bottom of the case in front of where the PSU is mounted. This will either add to the suction of warm case air or blow some of the warmer air pooling at the bottom towards the 200mm fan located directly above it.

 

 

The two 200mm fans have blue LEDs on them that are going to be bright enough to light up the entire case, adding a cool look to it, while the 120mm fan is just a simple black fan that is going to do its one function, sucking air in one end and blowing it out the other. They are all 12v fans that are made by Cooler Master. The 200mm fans operate at .40a while the 120mm fan operates at .16a.

 

 

 

The front IO panel that is located on the outside of the case has quite a few different and innovative features. The first feature is the integrated fan controller, that is not just a fan controller. The large knob will increase the fan speed when turned to the right and decrease it when turned to the left, while the center of the knob is a button. When pressed, it will turn the LEDs to the fans connected to its power cord off! Simply amazing, no more annoying blue LEDs lighting your room up! There is also the typical power button, the 4x USB 2.0 ports, the headphone and microphone ports, the e-SATA port, along with the Firewire port. Above the USB ports to left of the case, there are two LEDs, one being the HDD activity light, while the other is the "power on" light.

 

 

 

With everything installed in the case, you can tell exactly how well the case is at hiding the wires. I only spent about 15-20min installing all of the parts. I was quite impressed by the layout of the case and the positioning of the cut-outs in the motherboard tray, as they were large enough to get the power supplies wires through and spaced close enough to drop some down from the top. I am using the Cooler Master V10 CPU cooler during this installation, and it's easy to see that these two were designed around each other. 

Now that we know exactly what this case looks like, it is time to see how impressive the specifications of it are. 

Specifications:

Model
Sniper
Case Type
Full Tower
Dimensions
566.6x254.6x551mm
 
Cooling System
Front: 1x 200 mm Fan
Side: None
Rear: 1x 120mm Fan
Top: 1x 200mm Fan
 
Drive Bays

5 External 5.25"
5 Internal 3.5"
1 External 3.5"

Material
Steel, ABS Plastic, Mesh bezel
Expansion Slots
7 Slots
Power Supply
Not Included
I/O Panel USB 2.0 x 4; IEEE1394 x 1; eSATA x 1; Mic x 1; HD Audio + AC'97 x 1
Motherboard Support
Micro-ATX/ATX

 

Features:

 

 

Al information courtesy of CoolerMaster @ http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id=1652&product_id=2882

Testing:

To properly test this computer case, I will be testing for both idle temperatures as well as full load temperatures. To test the idle temperatures, I will be letting the computer sit for 30 minutes at idle. To test load, I will run a one hour Prime95 stress test with a blend of both CPU and RAM, set at normal priority. I will be using SpeedFan version 4.37 to gather my system chipset, the GPU temperatures, and hard drive temperature readings. CPU temperatures will be read with Real Temp 3.0. To give the GPU a simulated load test, I will be running 3DMark06 two times, back-to-back, then quickly looking at the temperature reading. All of the temperatures will be read in degrees Celsius.

 

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Case:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cooler Master Storm Sniper was able to beat out the Cooler Master Cosmos S case at every test except for when the GPU was at a full load reading. I am not very surprised, due to how large the fans that are installed in the Storm case there are, along with the massive amounts of room for air flow that there is.

 

Conclusion:

Designed for the Cooler Master gaming team, the Storm Sniper case is not only a large case that is going to be able to hold quite a bit of hardware while looking good on the outside. It is also going to give you the airflow that you need and hide all of the wires that you may have floating around your case. I was quite impressed with the size of the case, as you can fit quite a few different things inside of the Sniper case, including a few of the newer large graphics cards, which with Crossifre and SLI becoming more mainstream and the ability to add more and more graphics cards to one system, this can prove to be a worthwhile investment in real estate. The installation of the motherboard went flawlessly along with the installation of the power supply and all of the wires that come with it. The only down-side to the great wire management, is the fact that the side panel of the case does not have a window to allow you to see all the time and effort you spent on it. However, it does help increase the airflow. The attention to detail that Cooler Master spent with this case is visible in the temperatures that it yields. The fan controller that is installed on the front IO panel can come in handy if you do not already have one and you are trying to get your case as silent as you possibly can. I would suggest picking this case up if you are looking for a new one and are looking for a case that offers good looks, plenty of space and the ability to adequately cool just about any system.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: