CM Storm Scout 2 Case Review

BluePanda - 2012-08-31 19:22:42 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: October 11, 2012
Price: $99.99

Introduction:

Cooler Master is back with us today to show off yet another case. A lot of the time, I get cases from manufacturers that are cheap and feel that way. So whenever something shows up from Cooler Master, I get a grin on my face; whether it’s a “cheap” or “expensive” item, the quality is always great. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the CM Storm Scout 2; a case that is quite affordable on the price spectrum and if I know my CM, should stand pretty well in quality as well. It is another entry in Cooler Master’s “Storm” series; a successor to the infamous Storm Scout. This time around, the focus is more on the rounded futuristic theme and improved reinforced carrying handle (I have to love the carrying handles). The front panel I/O has also been upgraded to USB 3.0, which is ready to charge your phone or iPod, as well as enhance your file transfer rates on compatible devices. Unlike most sequels (especially in your favourite movies), the CM Scout 2 looks to impress rather than disappoint.

Closer Look:

Everything you order comes in some sort of package, that's no surprise. The CM Storm Scout 2 comes in a typical CM package – colored and full of images. The box always is of a black and white design, with red-accented CM logos and streaks. I’m usually against the costs associated with decorative boxes, but as long as the product inside is still “high” quality, then it doesn’t really matter too much. We shall see how this pans out after opening it up.

The front of the box sports a photo of the case with a gunner in the background. The sides of the box give both some quick specifications on the case, as well as explanations in several languages. This case can also be purchased with various power supply sizes; both active and passive. The back of the box shows a few shots of the inside of the case and goes on to highlight some of its features in detail. We’ll talk about these a little later and also show some close ups of each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening up the box is always my favorite part. Although I’ve already seen lots of pictures of this case since its release, it was still like Christmas morning – I just love getting boxes in the mail! And no question; the CM Storm Scout 2 was especially exciting to open. For the price range, I already had some expectations for a lightweight and slightly lower quality case, but was a bit surprised to find what was inside. It is packed in the usual foam caps, with a plastic bag to protect it from other damages during shipping. Although the box was beat up, the case arrived in one unharmed piece. Continue to the next page to see what the CM Storm Scout 2 really has to offer. It ought blow your mind for the price.

 

Closer Look:

Out of the box – as most of you want to see it, the Scout 2 looks pretty impressive. The case may not be right up on par with the CM Storm Stryker, but it’s got a grip for being what a case ought to be for a $100 investment. I can’t seem to get over the quality here compared to that of other “cheap-o” cases I’ve had my hands on. It just felt like a “real” case pulling it out of the box.

Taking a look at the sides of the Scout 2, I find what seems to be a very different line than most cases. There is a handle on top for carting from one LAN party to the next, or maybe just down the hallway in your house. The weight balance seems pretty nice too, with the case empty at this point. There is also a nice little side window that allows you to peak in and catch any error lights your mobo may throw. Underneath, you'll find room for a couple fans on the side, though it does look a little unattractive. With some fans mounted, it may help the appearance from the outside. The right side of the case has a similar design minus the window and fan holes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front of the case is nice on the eyes as well. Although I despise any forced logo on the front of any case, I’m not broken in half having the CM logo on the front of this one. It still looks alright and rather than screaming Cooler Master at me, it’s a subtle logo that whispers “what’s that?” instead. The honeycomb structure behind the mesh shows through nicely, giving the front a nice overall look. The body features a rubbery texture that gives it a good overall feel as well. The front profile just has a great appeal in my view – especially with the hidden I/O panel (I’ll let you see it later).

The rear of the case looks equally as nice. It’s pretty basic, but the fact that everything is color matched, including the screws, makes it look really clean. The unused PCIe slots have nice closed covers that are replaceable rather than being punch outs. The typical CM Storm Guard cable locker is in place to keep people from stealing your gear at LAN parties when you just can’t wait to hit the bathroom after hours of serious Borderlands 2 partying. It’s just a clean-cut back end of a case – I’d almost rather display this side…

 

 

The top of the case has a set of three buttons: one for power, one for reset, and one to control the fan lights. A semi-subtle CM STORM logo is cut into the case, but doesn’t over rule the case itself. There’s also a little door below, which reveals two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and two audio jacks. It’s nice to be able to hide these from view. Personally, I think it just makes for a cleaner look and better aesthetics. A little groove for a light appears on the front edge of the case – I’m guessing for power…we’ll see when we power it up later on.

 

 

Another close up look at the bottom edge of the case gives you an idea of the mesh size. It just looks really nice and doesn’t overdo it. My urge to rip the logo off the front of the case is suppressed by the form fitted piece. The handle on top of the case, on the other hand, does make me smile. I love that it doesn’t really look like a handle – rather, it just looks like part of the case. It’s rubberized for grip, but doesn’t look like a carry location that would support the case, though it does. Since this case isn’t as tall as the other handled cases (such as the CM Stryker), my short height didn't matter. I can easily carry this case here to there and back. I’m looking forward to getting hardware in and hopefully seeing the same outcome.

 

 

I’m genuinely impressed with the outside of this case. I really like the overall look as well as the sturdy feel for the price. I remember saving up to buy my HAF 932 and thinking that was a lot of money at the time. This case sells for less, so I’m reasonably impressed. It looks great – I'm just hoping it performs as well and isn’t a kludge to get hardware in and out. Like many of you, I don’t stick with one set of hardware for long – I like the ability to keep changing components.

Closer Look:

Getting inside this case is like getting inside its brain – let’s go ahead and see what it is thinking. Like most modern cases, there is a large cut out for access to the rear of the mobo for easy CPU cooler mounting or re-mounting. As well, there are grommeted pass-throughs for cables, so as long as there is enough room on the backside, cable management will be clean. Although the case looks a bit “naked” without the side panels on, the innards aren’t disappointing by any means. It’s got a pretty standard layout, with the powder coated black paintjob and printing for standoff positions.

There’s a lot of room here on the back side, surprisingly – I’ll show you a top-down shot ahead. The cables are pre-routed very nicely and gives the case a clean feel. I like the thought put into this case, as it’s ready for me to wire up rather than being just thrown together. There are plenty of spots cut out for me to zip-tie cables back here and keep things from showing on the other side. I’m not as ADD about cables as I used to be (reviewing several cases will make you care less), but I still love me a clean built case. I think this one will be just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a little closer look for you to approximate the amount of clearance on the back side for cable management. The lack of HDD cradles gives a ton of cramming room if need be. There’s just a lot of space behind the mobo tray compared to many cases. On top of that, the panel bows out a bit to allow for some additional overlap – I don’t think it will be an issue trying to get even a fully-cabled PSU routed back here.

Back to inside the case – looking up top at the external mounting for drives, I already find myself overjoyed. Rather than having to go find some screws to force-fit into tiny holes, you get a quick lock/unlock switch to mount drives. There are screws to be inserted on the reverse side if you need additional support, but in most cases, you won't absolutely need to find them unless you decide to pick up a front-mounted reservoir for water cooling down the road.

 

 

Inside the HDD cage, there is a single drive caddy – I’m guessing it’s different than the others. Taking a better look, I find mounting options for an SSD. The rest of your HDDs will mount with classic drive rails that sit in with pins on the side of your drives (there are pictures of these ahead). If you are looking closely in this first shot, you also might notice some screws on the side of the HDD cage – like most cases, this one has the ability to reduce to a half stack. Panning out, you can see there is room for seven HDDs with both the top and bottom cages in place. The cages are very open and allow for both cable routing space, as well as plenty of air flow between the drives.

Looking carefully at this picture, though it’s hard to tell, there are no fans mounted in the front of the case. Unfortunately, you only get the rear fan with the Scout 2, though there are plenty of places to add more. For the price of the case, I can’t really complain about getting only one fan. There seems to be a lot of holes cut out for decent airflow without the need for fans anyway. I guess we’ll really see how it does in testing.

 

 

Going back to those screws on the side of the HDD cages – removing the two on the left (and a little one on the back side) will allow the side of the upper cage to come out. Rather than storing an entire cage somewhere, you only need to find room for this little piece. I find it pretty nifty. It’s held in with case screws, so if you have a couple extra ones from a previous build, you can easily make this quick change. I don’t think this is something you would be periodically taking in or out, though. Either way, it pops right out and stows away nicely, giving you plenty of room for long video cards or just the extra space if you don’t have 7 HDDs to put in.

 

 

Laying the case down on its side, we can get a little peak at the top on the inside. Here, there’s room for a couple 120 mm fans or perhaps a small radiator of your choice. The top has a neat little fan filter to keep all the cat hair and dust bunnies out of your case and allows you to clean it without much effort. As with most cases today, the filters are removable. There are six tabs under here for you to squeeze together and allow the filter to pop out the top of the case. Pulling from the top won’t get you far otherwise. Once removed, you can see that there’s little to block air flow. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to add fans up here – even the handle doesn’t get in the way of installation. When you are done adding things or looking around, you can simply slide the filter back and give it a good push into place. The clips click rather loudly – you almost feel like you are breaking them.

 

 

Taking a look at the bottom of the case, you will find the standard CM feet installed. Nice foam dampers keep your case from scratching wooden floors and helps with the slight uneven surfaces you may have, as the foam compresses nicely to keep the case from rocking. There’s even some room for yet another fan (though without a filter). The PSU spot gets its own fan filter on the bottom, so even with all that floor air, you’re sure to have a rather clean-aired system. The filter does come all the way out, so you can rinse it in the sink if need be, though I’m a bit concerned if you need to…

 

 

Getting to the fun bits that come with the case, there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about, but more than enough to build with. I’ve already shown you the SSD tray and classic HDD rails that still make adding drives incredibly easy, but there are actually 5 more sets of drive rails included with the case. You also get my favorite little motherboard speaker, as well as a bunch of zip ties. Zip ties always make it easy to build a clean case and with the monstrous amounts of room on the back side, it’s even easier. There doesn't seem to be a lot of screws in the picture, but you do get everything you need – you even get the standoff tool to ensure you get them in nice and tight.

 

 

Throwing it all together wasn’t too bad. This was probably one of the easier builds I’ve done in a while. Either I’ve built just too many or, more likely, this case is just well designed. The grommet cable pass-throughs are sized adequately to fit plenty of cables through to the backside, hiding even the un-needed ones. There is a lot of room on the back side, though a lot of my mess still managed to get crammed into the HDD cage – it’s just where the cables naturally want to go. Get a few more drives in there and you can easily hide these. At this point, all that’s left to do is plug in the power for the video card and get this thing up and running…

Closed up, you can see the small window. I always talk about windowed vs. non-windowed side panels on cases and though you can’t show off all your components in this one, you can at least get a quick glance in to see how things are going. It also has a nice tint, to really match the rest of the case aesthetics. Powered up, there is a slight glow of red from the rear fan and the little HDD indicator on the front. It is really subtle, but if you don’t want the fan light on the back – you can just turn it off. Overall, it’s just a damn fine case.

 

Specifications:

Model:
SGX-2100-KWN1
Color:
Full Midnight Black
Materials:
Appearance: polymer, coated steel mesh and body
Dimensions:
230 x 513 x 517.5 mm / 9.1 x 20.2 x 20.5 in. (W x H x D)
Net Wight:
8.3 kg / 18.3 lbs
Motherboard Type:
Micro-ATX, ATX
5.25” Drive Bays
3 Exposed
3.5” Drive Bays
7 Hidden
2.5” Drive Bays
2 Converted from one 3.5” drive bay
I/O Panel:
USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, Mic x 1, Audio x 1
Expansion Slots:
7
PSU Support:
PS2

 

Features:

 

Cooling:

 

Clearances:

 

 

 

All information provided by: http://www.cmstorm.com/en/products/chassis/scout_2/

Testing:

Testing the CM Storm Scout 2 required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases. Recently, OCC upgraded to the ForceGT 240GB SSD from Corsair and has removed the HDD temps from case reviews. Thus, HDTune is no longer a part of the case benchmarking process.

Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs along with 3Dmark Vantage looping for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The temperatures were about average within the large listing of tested cases, which I always find as a positive. Too high on the chart and I'll complain; otherwise, things aren't on fire, so that's good. The rear fan really seems to help push air through the CPU cooler and really keeps the temperatures low under load. The CPU load graph was one of the most impressive in the ranks. I'm really pleased with this. Several more fans in this case and you'll be good to go. Considering the savings on the cost of the case, you ought to have enough left in the budget for a couple. 

Conclusion:

Overall, I was pretty happy with the CM Storm Scout 2. The temperatures were a bit warm from the lack of more than a single fan, but I don’t want to nitpick the case for this. The price is a steal for its build quality. While most cases at $100 or less just feel “cheap”, the Storm Scout 2 simply feels like it costs more than its MSRP. The rubberized handle makes it easy to carry the case from room to room or LAN party to LAN party, with more than enough strength to do so. It may feel a bit more rubbery, but there is enough steel there to get the job done. The insides have a nice powder-coated finish and cable routing options, while the back of the motherboard tray leaves plenty of room to “cram” even the most obnoxious number of cables from view, though it will take some skill to get it just right.

A few more fans in this case would dramatically increase the performance of the case, without doubt. However, the savings seen here will easily allow for the purchase of such fans without a loss to the quality of the case. Although it isn’t quite on par with some of the “higher-end” CM cases, it’s on par with CM standards, which are never disappointing. You have the quality of a top-end case without the sticker shock – the CM Storm Scout 2 is an awesome mid-ranged mid-tower case. If you are looking for an affordable case that screams quality, look no further.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: