Early this year Cooler Master introduced a new product line focusing on gamers. Their Storm line was introduces with their Sniper chassis at CES and has been on the market for some time. For the past 6 months I have been running the Cooler Master Storm Sniper case on my personal computer. Cooler Master realized that we haven't reviewed this chassis and shipped one out to me. Today I am going to check out the sniper and talk about a few things that stand out to me after living with it for some time. Not to give anything away but I liked it, click to read more!
Product Name: Cooler Master Storm Sniper
Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
|Material||Steel, ABS Plastic, Mesh bezel|
|Dimension||(L)22.3 x (W)10 x (H)21.7 inches or (L)566.6 x (W)254.6 X (H)551 mm|
|Weight||23.42 lbs or 10.6 kg|
|5.25" Drive Bay||5 Exposed (without the use of exposed 3.5 inch Drive Bay)|
|3.5" Drive Bay||5 Hidden 1 Exposed (converted from one 5.25 inch Drive Bay)|
|Cooling System||Front: 200x30mm Blue LED Fan x 1 (500 - 1000rpm, 17 - 23 dBA) Top: 200x30mm Blue LED Fan x 1 (500 - 1000rpm, 17 - 23 dBA) (can be swapped for two 120mm fans or 120x240mm Radiator) Rear: 120x25mm Standard Fan x 1 (1200rpm, 17 dBA) (can be swapped for 90mm fan or 80mm fan) Bottom: Supports 140mm Fan x 1 or 120mm Fan x 1 w/ Dust Filter (optional) Side: Supports 200x30mm Fan x 1 (optional) 120x25mm Fan x 2 (optional)|
|Expansion Slots||Standard x 7, Special x 1|
|I/O Panel||USB2.0 x 4; IEEE1394 x 1; eSATA x 1; Mic x 1; HD Audio+AC’97 x 1|
|Power Supply||Standard ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional)|
Cooler Master packed the Sniper in a standard pc case box. The front has a picture of the Sniper in the crosshairs along with the Sniper logo in large letters. The back of the box has a short list of features along with pictures to go along with some of them. Inside the case is wrapped in a plastic back to protect it from scratches and then secured with Styrofoam.
The Sniper at first glance looks a little overweight, the bulging side panels on both sides make an otherwise normal width case a few inches wider. Up top there are two handles that double as vents for a 200mm fan. Both handles are reinforced by steel to make sure the handles will hold up when transporting your rig. The front I/O panel sports a large power button along with a very small hidden reset button to power everything up. There are 4 USB 2.0 ports along, an eSATA port, and both microphone and headphone ports. Along with the other plugs and buttons Cooler Master has included a large fan speed controller knob. On top of that knob there is a button that turns the fan led's on and off.
The front of the case includes 5 5.25 bays, one doubling as a 3.5 inch bay. The 120mm fan on the front has a removable grill along with a built in dust filter. The left side panel has a large mesh covering most of the side panel. On the bottom the Sniper has four feet to keep your rig stable. Overall the styling of the Sniper is different, some have even commented that it looks like a space heater. At first I was unsure, but after spending time with the case, the "space heater" styling has grown on me.
If you remember the HAF 922 that I reviewed a few months back this interior will look very familiar, they share the same chassis. The inside of the case is made of an unfinished SPCC material, the bottom of the case does have a nice black finish. A full black finish would really make this case look sharp, although stock it doesn't have a window.
The 5 1/4 drive's are held in with Cooler Masters standard push button retention brackets. The Sniper has room for 5 hard drives using the same plastic mounts that the HAF 922 had. The Sniper includes an access hole to make installing aftermarket heatsinks easier. Too keep your PCI cards secure there are tool-less brackets along with screw holes if you decide to go with a more traditional method. Above the PCI slots you will find an odd looking pci slot, this is a feature they call StormGuard. StormGuard is a security system that protects your mouse and keyboard from being stolen at a Lan Event. To keep things cool Cooler Master included a 120mm fan on the back panel along with two 200mm fans on both the front and top of the case.
Our Test RigIntel 920 i7 CPU 12 gigs of Cruicial Ballistix Ram (two triple channel kits, one red and one blue) EVGA Classified Two Seagate 1TB ES.2 Hatachi 1TB Seagate 1.5tb Seagate Savvio 15K.2 Seagate Savvio 10K.2 RapterX Two Saphire 4870's in Crossfire LSISAS3442E-R SAS controller card Noctua NH-U12P 1366 special edition Two Samsung Sata DVD burners Cooler Master Ultimate 1100Watt power supply
Setting up my gaming rig into the Sniper went fairly smooth. Of course being a mid tower (a large mid tower) I found it a bit of a challenge to pack all of the hard drives in. Between the 5 spots Cooler Master provided and three from the Icydock MB673SPF-B Internal enclosure I had room for all of my hard drives and more. I did run into one issue with the Sniper when i switched from my old Gigabyte Motherboard to the Classified. The CPU access hole lined up perfect with the old motherboard, but is misaligned with the Classified. This isn't completely at fault of the Sniper, but I hope if other manufactures are going to have setups similar to the classified that Cooler Master adapts too it. The wire management of the Sniper was amazing, the bulged side panel gave almost unlimited room to hide all of the cables coming from the 1100 Watt power supply. Having all of that room was very helpful when hooking up the included fan controller, wiring up both the lighting and fans into one controller make a wiring mess if not contained.
Obviously I have spent considerably more time with the Sniper than I have with many of the other cases that I have tested in the past. Part of the reason for this is due to its great air flow. With two large fans doing most of the amount of air moved is enough to keep even the hottest rigs cool. Of course we have seen many cases have lots of air flow, where the Sniper really stands out is with its built in fan controller. With a twist of the knob the case goes silent. I found this to be very useful to be able to keep everything quiet, only turning the fans up when doing heavy gaming or on hot days. There is no doubt that Cooler Master had transporting your rig to and from LAN parties to mind when they designed it. The two handles on top of the case are much easier than lugging it around holding the base of the case. The handles aren't as simple and easy as what we saw on the Scout though.
So Cooler Master introduced their Storm product line with the Sniper over 6 months ago, and in that time I have had a lot of time to live with the Sniper. In that time I have rebuilt my rig once and have swapped out countless parts, not to mention It has traveled to multiple LAN parties. I found the case to be very easy to work in due to its tool-less components and the amazing amount of wire hiding space with the bulged side panels. The Sniper held up well to being moved around and even being dropped at MML a few weeks ago. The large fans have kept my 920 cool even when overclocked and when using the included fan speed controller the case was quiet (with the fans on high they do make a bit of noise). Of course it takes a while to get used to the space heater styling, with the addition of a side window the case does look fairly sharp though (available in the Cooler Master store). If you are like me and plan on hitting up a few lan partys each year and you need more room than the Scout has the Sniper is a good choice.