Cooler Master Storm Trooper Review

Product: Cooler Master Storm Trooper
Company: Cooler Master
Author: Nicholas Conroy
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: June 18th, 2012

Interior Design

Popping of the side panel gives us our first real view of the CM Storm Trooper’s interior. As is fashionable these days, the entire interior is painted black. We also find three tray cut-outs with rubber grommets to make cable management more attractive. There are also two smaller cutout at the top of the tray that lack grommets. In prominent display are the dual LED fans for HDD cooling. Strangely, we do not find any of the usual plastic drive brackets installed in the 3.5” bays. On the bottom of the case we can make out a metal 2.5” bracket for up to 4 drives as well as a pair of very large rubber strips to keep PSU vibration to a minimum.

It seems the cardboard parts box holds some treasures; inside we find the missing 3.5” HDD brackets. Each of these brackets also has the option of holding a single 2.5” drive, unfortunately this appears to be an “either-or” kind of setup where one of these brackets can only hold either a single 3.5” drive or single 2.5” drive but not both at the same time.

Like most other Cooler Master designs, the brackets are made from a flexible plastic. To install a drive in the bracket, it must be bent to fit around the drive. The bracket uses metal pins encased in rubber to reduce vibration and eliminate the need for screws. Although this is a good solution for 3.5” drives, 2.5” drives still require screws for mounting.

Removing the right side panel reveals the actual slots the brackets slide into. The two 3.5” drive cages are designed to slide into three 5.25” sized bays, so technically it is possible to remove one of these HDD cages and install a 5.25” drive rotated 90° from the normal orientation. We really cannot think of a reason why someone would want to do this, but the option does exist. The option also exists to remove both hard drive cages and reorient the 5.25” slots back to their normal position three at a time to allow for up to 9 optical drives to be installed in the chassis. However, a more plausible reason to rotate one or both of the 5.25” slot and 3.5” cages is so that the attached 120mm fans can be used as intakes to cool the whole system. Alternatively, the cages can be left in the default position we find them in so that all HDD cooling is kept separate from the rest of the system. Large cutouts in the middle of drive cages help simplify cable routing no matter what cage orientation is used.

Before moving on it is worth noting that this case is not intended to be completely tool free. We do not find any kind of gimmicky quick-latch system that is normally found on higher end cases but instead are given a set of thumbscrews. Anything that would normally use a “tool-free” design now uses thumbscrews, making it still very easy to do basic maintenance without any tools. The front drive covers are especially easy to remove and replace. However, to rotate any of the 5.25” bays a screwdriver will be necessary.

Before moving on to cooling, we should take a closer look at the dedicated 2.5” bracket, which can hold up to four SSDs or 2.5" HDDs. In order to install any drives into this cage it must be unscrewed from underneath the bottom dust filter. We do not get any handy plastic brackets here; drives must be directly screwed in.

Standard cooling on the Trooper consists of one large 200mm fan up top, dual 120mm LED fans for HDD cooling, and a single 140mm fan in the rear. Rubber standoffs between the 5.25” bay and the 3.5” cages help reduce vibration from both the HDD fans and the HDD themselves, which is a very nice feature to see. Additional cooling options consist of two 120mm fans that can be attached to the side panel as well as two additional 120mm fans that can be attached to the bottom of the case. Unfortunately, both the 2.5” drive cage and tool box must be permanently removed in order to install both of these bottom fans. It is probably also possible, given enough courage and determination, to install a 240mm radiator in this bottom area though it is highly likely that modifications to the case would be necessary. A better place to install a radiator is in the top of the case where this configuration is actually detailed as an option in the Trooper’s manual. Given the close proximity to the top of the motherboard it is still easy to run out of space, so caution is advisable here as well.

Now that we have deconstructed the case, it is time to install some hardware and see what our final impression is!