CM Storm Trooper ReviewBluePanda - October 30, 2011
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The best part about opening any case is finding the little brown box inside with extra parts and knowing there is more inside than simply air. The box for the Storm Trooper was wired to the upper drive bays with a long twist tie. Since we already found the screws and accessories in the hidden compartment I was not sure what else could be contained in such a large box. It ended up being the drive rails for HDDs. You will see those when we take off the back panel. Now with all the bay covers pulled out you would have been able to see right through the case had I rotated the HDD modules 90 degrees. With the panel off we can see the mess of cables that make that front panel work as well as the two fans that light up red. At first glance it looks like it will be fairly easy to hide some cables. The wide cable slots have the usual rubber grommets and the backplate slot for the motherboard is huge! I don’t have to worry about being able to access my backplate anymore.
Looking at the inside of the case allows us to view the nicely finished interior. The tray has markings for the different motherboard types, and there is a mess of cables to be connected. A closer look at the fan modules shows ten thumb screws holding them in position, and it looks as if it might take some effort to rotate them. Even though I will be testing the case with the delivered setup, I made the attempt to rotate the modules. Although they are thumb screws, the fact that the holes have some paint in them from the powder coating process proves that you will require some strong thumbs or a stubby screw driver. It was not much of a hassle to get the bays rotated around since the parts are labeled with which directions they should face. With a little struggle you can have them rotated 90 degrees.
Looking through the back you can see the pre-installed 140mm fan. There are nine PCIe slot covers with easy installation/removal thumbscrews. Again we get another glimpse of the Storm Guard, which is a feature that allows you to wrap your mouse and keyboard cables around the inside of your case to prevent people from unplugging them and running off with them. Instead, the thief would have to open the side panel and remove the thumb screw to make off with your equipment. Hopefully at that point you would notice them taking your stuff. It is also a nice way to keep you from unplugging your gear when you are gaming too hard. I am not sure I will use the Storm Guard but I like that it is available if I need it.
Rotating views to the bottom of the case not only shows the mess of cables again but also the small, special bays for 2.5" drives. These bays are perfect for your SSDs since a bay converter is not required. With room for four drives here you have a total of 13 2.5" drive slots if you decide to convert the front 9 bays down. Talk about some serious drive space.
If you look at the motherboard tray again you can more easily see how much room is available to manage cables. I might have small hands, but I can easily squeeze my fingers into the opening. The ample room means you do not need to worry about cramming the back panel on. Unlike the front fans, the top and back fan cables are not already plugged into the fan controller but are hanging loose, so do not forget to connect them! Perhaps you will plug them in elsewhere, but just realize they need connected. Looking towards the front you can see two of the 10 screws that help rotate the drive bays around. These screws are the first you will want to remove if you plan on turning the bays. The next two screws are behind the bay covers, and the rest are pretty obvious.
Tucked way up underneath the front panel, in a rather difficult position to photograph, is the back side of the front docking station. If you ever plan to use it you will need to wiggle your hands up there and plug in the power and SATA cables. It is well hidden and not part of the cable mess, so make sure it is plugged in before you attempt to use it and think it is defective.
Returning to the back side of the case you can almost see the fan filter I mentioned previously. It is situated in the top of the case just before the handle. That little lip on the edge is somewhat of a handle for the filter; pull on it and the filter slides right out. It does detach from the case so you can run it through the sink to get rid of all the cat hair or dust it collected. The bottom of the case has another filter that can be removed in a similar fashion.
Turning the case all the way around to the back side of the motherboard tray we find tons of room to hide cables. With the right cable management this will be a sleek looking case once everything is inside! The drive rails are in the brown cardboard box from the top drive slot; if you are mounting HDDs here it is easier than you thought. The rails slide right in and lock into place. Give them a simple squeeze at the ends and they come right back out, a mechanism that is quite similar to that of drive rails from other Cooler Master cases. With so many slots that will likely go unused, you will either have plenty of room for hiding cables here or just have extra space waiting to accept more drives. Remember you can always rotate these around to have more optical drives, water bays, or whatever you wish in the front of the case.
The back side also shows us a few of the cable connections that were already made. However, if you decide you would rather control different fans you can. The back fan also comes with the adapter to plug into molex rather than forcing you to either plug it into your board or find an adaptor in your pile of extra cables.
Finally, untying the bundle of cables allows you to see a closeup of what needs, or can be, plugged in to the other components. We already talked about what is on the front panel, so you should not be too surprised to see what needs plugged in here. I also want to mention at this point that if you have not plugged in a USB 3.0 cable to your board before, be careful. This plug fits a bit snugly; if it is not going in smoothly do not force it because the fragile pins require you to carefully line up the connector to avoid bending them. The Storm Trooper is one of the few USB 3.0 cases I’ve had; needless to say my board has not been configured in this manner before today.
Once everything was hooked up and running it ended up being a very sexy case even with my overtly blue fans in place. I could not believe how much room was left between my motherboard and power supply. As with many other case fans, there are no protective grills on the red fans covering the HDD bays. Make sure you don’t catch a finger while they are spinning because it hurts. But surely you will be a little more careful than I was or at least smart enough to power down before cracking open your case. The last shot shows off the fan controller running the fans at full speed. Glowing with an almost evil look to it, the Storm Trooper is one hell of a case.