CM Storm Stryker Case ReviewBluePanda - September 13, 2012
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The inside of the case is nicely finished with the same exterior white. Black has been added for accent with the PCIe slot covers, grommets, and HDD/SSD bays. The all-white fans really pop on the HDD cage and the other two white fans blend in as if undercover. There is a hodgepodge of cable mess hanging there, but if you unbind it, it really isn't as bad as it looks. First you've got cabling for the fan controller, so you can control other fans besides the case fans. Rotating it around to see behind the motherboard tray, you'll find a lot of pre-wired cabling through the grommets. If you're like me, you'll change this very quickly so it adheres better to a "real" setup and it'll be clean in no time. The HDD bay inserts are shipped in a little box for you to add – otherwise it looks empty yet completely air-movement worthy from this side. A reminder for those of you who don't know the Trooper: these HDD cages can be rotated 90 degrees to blow air length-wise through the case, if you so desire.
Looking down here on the back side of the case, you can see there is plenty of cable space between the motherboard tray and the actual panel itself. There is quite a bit more room near the HDD cages to stash any mess you might want. The HDD cages look quite empty on their own, but it really shows you how much air can actually move through the case. There are two cages that hold four drives each. A separate cage on the "floor" of the case (see further down the page) can support up to four SSDs.
A little brown box was twist-tied in place in the external drive bay area. Inside the box, rather than the usual screws and case manual, are the HDD mounts. They are simple little plastic things that flex well enough to get a drive in, but not so much that there's no support. The nubs have rubber dampeners to reduce vibrational noise. They slide into the HDD cages quite nicely and don't really take much effort to move in or out. The end tabs bow outward a little to lock them in place – so pulling them out requires only a little squeeze action. They look really nice, even without a drive in them. Though there is theoretically more airflow without them in the case, if I don't "store" them here, I won't have them when I need them. So they will stay here for testing as well.
A little closer shot of the little SSD cage at the floor of the case shows room for four SSDs to mount with screws. There are plenty of screws to mount things in this case, we just haven't gotten to their secret location yet (those of you with a Trooper already know where they are). Looking a little closer to the fans mounted to the HDD cages, they are indeed very white. The fan frame is even a glossy white to match the case theme. The blades are also glossy white with a nice smooth finish. They just really look nice in the case and the full white look was a very nice move on Cooler Master's part. The rear 140mm fan is just as amazingly white, and with the white case around it, it shows even more how white it really is. It blends right in with the case as if it belonged all along. This is something black on black just can't perform – it's perfect camouflage.
Way tucked up under the top of the case – and rather hard to get a picture of actually – is the back side of the front docking station. If you plan on ever using the X-dock to hot-swap any SSD, you'll need to get your big hands back in there to plug in a power and SATA cable. It’s well hidden and not part of the cable mess – so if you go to use it and it’s not working, don’t panic, you probably forgot to plug it in.
One of my favorite features about the CM Trooper, as well as an integral role of this CM Stryker, is the nifty little hidden compartment at the bottom of the case. No more searching for screws and case parts when your newly ordered hardware shows up. There's a neat little bay with all your goodies. Getting to it isn't very hard either. Behind the shiny CM Storm plate is a little box that is held in with two screws. Unscrew them and slide the box right out – couldn't be easier. And speaking of ease, the whole front comes off in segments allowing you to add new external drives, or even HDDs (if you've got the cages rotated). This idea was well thought out and you definitely don't feel like you are breaking things putting the pieces on or taking them off.
If you pull that compartment out all the way, a little lid pops off the top with little effort. Inside you can find the massive amount of included screws for everything you may want to put in place, some zip ties to help with cable management, drive adapters, an 8-pin extender (it's a tall case), and a motherboard speaker to play with. All this fits neatly in the little box with room for any extra parts you want to keep for building your rig. All your extra PCIe slot covers can fit in here to put back later when you get tired of running multiple cards or when you're upgrading components.
Lying the case down, we can get a good look at the feet and additional fan filters on the bottom of the case. The feet are solidly attached with a single screw through the bottom, sunk deep inside the foot to keep you from tearing up the floors. The fan filters on the bottom slide out just as easy as the top filter and can be completely removed if for some reason you need to rinse them off or take them outside to shake out the dust. It's a nice design that I’m very happy with. Can't wait to get it all filled up to see how well the Stryker can strike down the heat. Wow, that's trying too hard – too punny and not funny.
Hardware in, it's deja vu again; just this time it's a little white. There's plenty of room in the case for even more, if I had more to put in. I think it still looks a bit empty. It was relatively easy to keep it a clean build and there wasn't too much difficulty "installing" any of my hardware. The SSD, was a little bit of a challenge as the cage for it to mount it with four screws requires you to remove the cage completely. The cables are also hard to plug in after re-installing the cage, so if you can remember, plug it in first. I just really like the way it looks and it was far from being a pain to work with. Even prior to plugging the case in, it looked pretty bad ass. Powering it up only made it look even better with a slight red glow at the power button/fan controller area – it stands to show off a little of its "evil" side.
The fans on the HDD cages light up in a nice pure white LED color, not some silly yellowed color. It looks really nice and, since the fan themselves are white, they really pop. The side window is a great improvement from the CM Storm Trooper. I've always liked windowed cases, at least while there is ample room for cable management. You can get a good peak at what is going on inside and look for red flags when things don't seem to be working quite right. Overall, the case is just really good looking. I might have to leave this one built for awhile to enjoy it a bit more.