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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 orks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Saturday, 17 December 2011 07:58

Cooler Master CM Storm Trooper reviewed

Written by Sanjin Rados

thumbrecommended08 75

Review: For Gamers

 

Cooler Master’s CM Storm division definitely aims at gamers with style and its products are well made, durable and stylish as well. The latest product coming from CM Storm is called the Trooper, and it only takes a glance to realize that your hardware will be nicely secured inside.

The Trooper is a full tower computer case. It’s made mostly of steel and although it weighs 13.7kg (net weight), the handle on top of the case allows for easy transport.

Extended sides and the handle mean that the case is aimed at gamers who like to attend LAN parties. Of course, the Trooper is not only about good looks, as it packs many latest and greatest features.

 trooper-top-3

 

 

Model Number

SGC-5000-KKN1

Color

All Black

Material

Steel body, Front Mesh / Plastic bezel

Dimensions

( W ) 250 x ( H ) 605.6 x ( D ) 578.5 mm
( W ) 9.8 x ( H ) 23.8 x ( D ) 22.8 inch

Net Weight

13.7 KG / 30.2 lbs

Motherboard Type

XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX

5.25" Drive Bay

9

3.5” Drive Bay

8 ( converted from 5.25” bay by two 4-in 3 HDD modules )

2.5” Drive Bay

13 ( converted from 5.25” bay by two 4-in 3 HDD modules )

Cooling System

Front:

120 mm LED fan x2 ( 1200 RPM, 17dBA )

Top:

200 mm fan x 1 ( 1000 RPM, 23 dBA )

Rear:

140 mm fan x1 ( 1200 RPM, 19 dBA )

( converted to 120 mm fan )

Bottom:

120 mm fan x 2 ( optional )

Side:

120 mm fan x 2 ( optional )

Expansion Slots

9+1

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 )

Power Supply Type

Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V

Maximum Compatibility

CPU cooler height: 186 mm / 7.3 in
GPU card length: 322 mm / 12.7 in


 

We saw that the package took a very hard hit, breaking the Styrofoam protection on several places. Luckily, there was no visible damage and only after we dismantled the case did we see that the plastic part we found on the floor comes from the top panel.


box1

box2

box3

box4

 

Cooler Master ships plenty of accessories with its cases. Since this is a full tower case, you’ll get one 8-pin CPU extension cord, few metal rails for mounting floppys or additional 3.5’’ driver, eight 3.5’’ brackets (which usually come mounted but can now be found in the box), eight zip ties, motherboard speaker and all the screws you’ll ever need. The manual is quite clear on all the aspects of using the Trooper.


 

 

The front and top panels are quite detailed and unique. The first thing that grabbed our attention is the control panel and the handle. Note that although the handle seems a bit uncomfortable, it is not. In fact, it’s quite comfortable and carrying the Trooper definitely did not feel like carrying 13.7kg.

 

front-top-1

 

The carrying handle comes rubber coated but is actually made of metal and connected to the main chassis – in other word, it’s as tough as they get. The top panel holds a silent 200mm fan. Although the top panel shroud can be taken off, there is no need for that as the dust filter beneath can be taken out for cleaning.

top-panel

top-panel-2

 

 

 

When we first opened the case we noticed that the protective Styrofoam is damaged and that two smaller plastic parts fell out. At a glance, the Trooper seemed just fine, but further inspection revealed that the parts come from the top panel.

 

 break

 

The top panel plastics is tough enough and only one plastic column was damaged. The top panel is held in place with six latches and four columns so missing one will not be a problem. On the other hand, the Trooper has proven it’s quite a combative case.

The control panel is nicely designed and accessible. On top of the front panel, just below the control panel, is a 2.5’’ hot-swap unit called the X-Dock. The panel also has a digital rpm controller, which allows for rpm control of the four fans and six regimes of operation.

 control-panel

The front panel has no dust filters since each of the nine mesh grill drive bay covers acts as a filter. A thin and tightly woven mesh grill can be found inside the covers and you can simply blow the dust off. One cover has a 3.5’’ drive cutout that may come in handy for a floppy drive or card reader, whereas the package also holds a 5.25’’ converter.

trooper-front-panel-3

 

The front panel drive bay covers can be removed by grabbing them from the sides, pushing inwards and pulling. The plastic is tough but bends just enough to ensure easy handling.

The top three covers hide the 5.25’’ bays; the next six hide two 4-in-3 cages whereas the bottom one covers a secret drawer.

 

 trooper-front-panel-2

 

The Trooper’s front panel is quality made so there’s no need to take the entire panel off just to mount a DVD drive – all you need to do is remove the cover and you’re good to go. In case you have more than three 5.25’’ drives, removing one 4-in-3 cage will make room for another three 5.25’’ devices (or, of course, six 5.25’’ drives if you remove both 4-in-3 cages). While we don’t think anyone will need that many 5.25’’ devices, it’s comforting to know it’s still possible.

Once both 4-in-3 cages are taken out, there is enough room to mount a 480mm (Quad) watercooling radiator. The Trooper is about 482mm tall (measured from the inside).

The secret drawer on the bottom holds some spare parts for the Trooper. There is plenty of room inside and our Sentinel ZeroG gaming mouse (40mm tall) fit like a glove.

trooper-front-panel-4


 

 

 The left and right side panels look alike and have large mesh grill parts. However, the mesh part is larger on the left side panel, which will also take two 12cm fans. CM Storm uses special long screws for mounting fans and the company ships eight with the Trooper.

 side-panels

 

The fans that cool the 3.5’’ drives draw air through inlets on the left side panel while hot air exists freely through the grill on the right side panel.

Two layers of mesh grill on the side panels acts as a filter. The left side panel weighs about 1.6kg while the right is about 60g heavier due to less mesh and more metal. Both panels are very tough and, more importantly, can be removed and mounted easily.

right-side-panels


The rear panel has nine expansion card holes, which means it will allow for three or four dual slot cards in CrossFire or SLI. The tenth, vertical expansion slot has a special mouse and keyboard anti-theft system. The vertical slot can also be used for CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps lighting) or similar. The rear panel holds a single 14cm fan.

back-panels

The PSU is mounted on the bottom with an external dust filter below it. We had some minor issues with removing the filter as 2cm, which is the distance from the floor to the case, was not enough to reach underneath the case and release the filter. So, you’ll have to lift the case a bit. The same goes for the other, larger filter on the bottom of the case.

psu-filter-bottom

 

The feet are made of plastic with anti-vibration rubber coating underneath. Although the feet seem fine, we were surprised to see them made of plastic rather than metal.

bottom-panel


The Trooper is a full tower case that will take XL-ATX, ATX and mini-ATX motherboards. It packs plenty of space and brings a few innovative features as well. There are no toolless mechanisms on expansion slots or 5.25’’, but we prefer screws anyway and since all the screws are thumb screws, mounting equipment is a piece of cake.

inside-1

While most well designed cases boast a removable HDD cage, the Trooper went a step further. Namely, the case has two 4-in-3 HDD cages where each can hold four 3.5’’ or 2.5’’ drives. The cages can be removed or rotated. The picture above shows the HDD cage in two different positions.

Both HDD cages come with 12cm fans. Both cages face the left side panel by default. However, you can improve cooling by turning the HDD cage to face the front panel, in order to take in fresh air.

The HDD cage fans come with red LED lamps that can be turned off via the control panel.

 

inside-2

One HDD cage can be replaced with three 5.25’’ devices, meaning that the Trooper will take nine 5.25’’ drives.

We said that the HDD cage will take a total of eight 3.5’’ drives but the converter allows for an extra 3.5’’ spot in one of the 5.25’’ bays.

 

inside-3

The metal plates that keep the HDD cages in place come with rubber anti-vibration grommets. The drive brackets also suppress vibration via rubber grommets.

CM Storm constructed new drive brackets that are very flexible in the middle, making mounting a breeze. Once the drive is placed inside, the brackets are quite tough. The rubber grommets are fixed inside so they won’t be falling out during mounting.

Cooler Master made sure that each metal part is clearly marked for users to know how to turn the parts before mounting.

inside-4

Mounting CPU coolers on an already mounted motherboard in the Trooper is a piece of cake thanks to the large cutout we wanted to see for a while now. Namely, the motherboard tray is made of thick metal so the large cutout will not affect rigidity of the tray. 

The cable management holes are wide enough and large, whereas additional notches on the back of the motherboard tray are definitely a welcome feature. Although many cases had problems with rubber parts on cable holes falling out, Cooler Master used its old trick of securing them with metal latches.

inside-7


inside-5

The cables from the front panel have two USB 3.0 connectors among them, although they’re only for connecting to Intel’s internal USB 3.0 header. There are no additional converters for connecting the ports to USB 3.0 connectors on motherboard I/O panels.

There is about 2cm of room beneath the right side panel, so you won’t lack room for cable management in the back.inside-8

 

The bottom panel has a small 2.5’’ drive cage that can hold four drives. This cage can be removed and replaced with two 12cm fans.

inside-9

The Trooper easily managed EVGA’s X58 4-way SLI (XL-ATX) motherboard, HD 6970 graphics and Thermalright’s HR-02 CPU cooler. The maximum allowed graphics card length (without taking the HDD cage out) cards is 322mm. As for CPU coolers, the Trooper will allow for coolers up to 186mm tall. The fans are quite loud when running at maximum rpm but can be made quieter. Naturally, we did not expect complete silence from a gaming case with plenty of inlets/outlets as it’s the cooling performance that matters. 

 

trooper-test-1
tropper-test-3

 

 


The Trooper is a computer case that will definitely grab your attention as it’s one of the best designed gaming cases we’ve seen so far. Those who opt on the Trooper will not only get a chance to brag about a great case but will also be able to carry it to LAN parties, thanks to the built in handle.

 

There is plenty of room inside the Trooper to mount XL-ATX motherboards, longest graphics cards (SLI and CrossFire), CPU coolers up to 186mm, etc. The cooling performance offered by the four standard fans is good but the company left room for additional fans or water cooling. The integrated digital fan controller with six predefined operation regimes will take care of rpm management. Thanks to the fans with red LED lamps, the Trooper looks even meaner while gaming.

If you’re looking for a case that will take plenty of drives, then Trooper should definitely top your list as it can take up to 14 SSDs, 9 HDDs or 9 5.25’’ drives. The case has all the standard interfaces for storage and the front panel holds two USB 3.0 connectors and e-Sata, as well as one X-Dock docking station for 2.5’’ HDD/SSD drives.

We must admit that the Trooper woke up the gamer in us, so while you’re reading this review, we’re knee deep into gaming because, let’s face it – who’d say no to this.

 


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Last modified on Saturday, 17 December 2011 09:32
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