From a manufacturer that made cooling systems exclusively, especially fans, Cooler Master has developed into a company that provides all sorts of devices, ranging from PSUs, over peripherals, to enclosures. The latest instalment in the company’s portfolio is the special Storm enclosure series, which is supposed to represent a brand instantly associated with gaming. Today, we are presented with the latest in the aforementioned series, which instantly gives the impression of the best member of the family so far. Is it just marketing and effective packaging, or is there really a product to fully recommend?
The first clue you’ll get about this enclosure is when you realise that you’ll need the help of a family member or co-worker to get the damn thing out of the box, as it weighs 13.7 kg on its own, mostly in metal. This soldier is really huge, and most of all robust, so that you know from the get-go that you have an extraordinary product in your hands. The entire military look is just phenomenal, in our opinion. If you want to carry it around, the rubber-coated handle on top will be of aid.
The top panel contains a plethora of buttons and connectors, including a total of four USB ports, headphone and microphone connectors, eSATA, a huge hexagonal power button, and of course, the reset button. The thing that’s slowly becoming a trend in the upper middle class of enclosures is fan controllers, and Trooper is no exception. Besides all the said buttons, there are three additional ones for controlling RPM rates of any connected fan (+/-), as well as turning off LED lighting on the fans themselves. As there are four preinstalled fans in the enclosure upon shipment, the controller is able to handle exactly as many.
The front is entirely covered in net, which is a must for any enclosure trying to increase airflow efficiency. There’s a total of nine 5.25” slots, plus a tenth one behind the Storm logo on the bottom which contains a preinstalled tiny box for keeping your stuff in (such as extra screws or a mini screwdriver, useful when opening the case for a minor intervention). On the very top, almost unnoticeable, the X-Dock provides ready space for 2.5” HDDs/SSDs.
The sides are very similar in appearance, the only difference being that the left side has more holes, i.e. the net is more extensive than on the right, in order to accommodate for two optional 120 mm fans, which creates some serious draft when combined with the preinstalled ones.
If you have somehow remained unimpressed by the exterior of this enclosure, you will be by the interior. Its spaciousness, rubber bumpers around cable holes, uniform black colour and plenty of HDD space are just some of the reasons to worship this model. Two 4-in-3 cages are located in front, each containing a 120 mm fan. By the way, hard disks are mounted from the back, onto typical rails long standard for Cooler Master’s enclosures.
Above these, there’s room for the optical device, and believe it or not, you have to fix it with typical screws, making at least the most basic tools a prerequisite for installation. To the left, just next to the hard disk spaces, there’s a separate opening for SSDs. The bottom contains the PSU, just above the removable filter. When you start looking upwards from there, it’s impossible not to notice the biggest hole by far, which will make changing the CPU cooler without removing the motherboard a piece of cake.
The very back of the enclosure contains PCI slots, typically, and nine of them at that, as well as a peripherals “lock”, i.e. the way to lock their cables. There’s also the 140 mm exhaust fan that makes all the hot air accumulated in the enclosure go out as quickly as possible. Water cooling is also an option, with pipe holes readily available.
All things considered
All things considered, this is a well-rounded product with virtually no flaws whatsoever. Appearance remains as subjective a category as ever, so as long as you like what you’re seeing in our pictures, you’ll love this enclosure to death.
Truth be told, it isn’t exactly revolutionary, so there’s no wow-effect due to all new solutions and ideas, but when you’ve assembled the system, hidden all the cables properly and turned on all fans, you’ll hardly remain dissatisfied and without a grin on your face. Tiny issues that we have to stress for objectivity’s sake are somewhat loud fans at maximum RPM settings, as well as the aforementioned problem with mounting an optical drive.
As long as you keep your fans lower than maximum RPM and don’t switch optical devices all that often (as most of us don’t), rejoice for having bought an industry-awarded enclosure. Us being the industry, of course.
|Cooler Master Storm Enforcer|
|Size||250 x 605.5 x 578.5 mm|
|Supported motherboard form factors||ATX, micro ATX, XL-ATX|
|5.25" / 3.5" sockets||9 / 4+4|
|Fans||1 x 200 mm, 4 x 120 mm, 1 x 140mm|
|I/O panel||2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x eSATA, 1 x Mic, 1 x Headphones|