titleJust over three years ago Cooler Master introduced their Storm product line with the Storm Sniper, soon after they introduced the Storm Scout. In those three years there has been one other case that I have seen more of around at different LAN partys. The combination of its built in handles, support for full ATX motherboards, and blacked out styling have made the Scout a huge success. After three years Cooler Master has decided to introduce a new version of the Scout. Considering the original’s success, this is an important launch. I really hope that they still manage to keep what made the original great while giving it a fresh look.

Product Name: Cooler Master Storm Scout 2

Review Sample Provided by: Cooler Master

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Available Color

Full Midnight Black

Materials

Appearance: Polymer, Mesh; Case body: Steel

Dimensions (W x H x D)

230 x 513.5 x 517.5mm / 9.1 x 20.2 x20.5 inch

Net Weight

8.3 kg / 18.3 lb

M/B Type

Micro-ATX, ATX

5.25” Drive Bays

3 (exposed)

3.5” Drive Bays

7 (hidden)

2.5” Drive Bays

2 (converted from one 3.5” drive bay)

I/O Panel

USB 3.0 x 2 (int.) USB 2.0 x 2, Mic x1,
Audio x 1 (supports AC97/HD Audio)

Expansion Slots

7

Cooling System

Top: 120mm fan x2 (optional)
Front: 120mm fan x 2 or 140mm fan x 1 (optional)

Rear: 120mm red LED fan x 1 (with LED on/off function)

Bottom: 120mm fan x 1 (optional)

Side: 120mm x 2 (optional)

HDD cage: 120mm fan x 1 (optional)

Power Supply

PS2 (optional)

Maximum Compatibility

VGA card length: 287mm / 11.3 inch (with HDD cage)

399mm / 15.7 inch (without HDD cage)

CPU cooler height: 147mm / 5.8 inch (with side fan)

162mm / 6.4 inch (without side fan)


Packaging

As expected the Scout 2 comes in a box much like the original. The front of the box has a large picture of the case with an army scout in the background. Unlike normal Cooler Master packaging with the purple and white theme, Storm products have the red, white, and black theme. Around back there are three pictures of the Scout 2 from different angles giving you full view of the case including inside to give you an idea of what to expect. Each picture has a few lines going to specific features with short explanations telling you about them. There is also a full specification listing on the side of the packaging to help you find out how much clearance there is for VGA as well as CPU heatsinks, or if you are trying to figure out if the case will fit under your desk.

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Inside the Scout 2 is protected from scratches by being wrapped in a plastic bag and then from shipping damage with the normal foam padding on each end. As you can see from our photo’s UPS managed to dent each side of the Scout 2’s box during shipping, but the case itself came to us in perfect condition.

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Inside of the case, Cooler Master did something a little different this time around for all of the case’s accessories. Rather than tie down the box inside of the case. They actually made the accessory box the same width of a hard drive and put the hard drive sliders on the side to keep it secure during shipping. Inside the box you have the rest of the hard drive sliders for the cases 7 hard drive bays. Along with that you have all of the motherboard standoffs and (just like the original) you have all black screws to match the look of the case. They have also included more than enough wire ties for getting your wire management perfect.

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Outside

Right from first look you can see hints of the original Scout right away with the top handle design and the side panel. The Scout 2 design is fresh and new while still looking like the Scout we all loved. Even with the new design, I have no doubt that everyone will know exactly what this is when they see one at the next big LAN.  

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One of the main changes from the original Scout is the front I/O panel and the power buttons. As you can see all of the Scout 2’s two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports as well as the headphone and microphone ports are all hidden under a sliding door panel. Above the sliding door are three buttons. You have a lighting switch, reset button, and a power button in the center.

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One of the best and most prominent features of the scout, much like the original, is its built in handle. This time around they went with a slightly different design, moving the handle back in relation to the side handles. The Scout 2’s middle handle is covered in rubber as well making it nice and comfortable to carry and harder to accidently drop.

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The side panel of the Scout 2 has a half window above two fan mounts. The window itself is smoked to give it the dark styling to go with the fully blacked out case. The location of the two fan mounts is perfect if you are looking for a way to push cool air right on top of your video cards as well.

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Around on the back of the case we have a 120mm fan just above the real I/O panel and then two water cooling holes. As you can see for some reason ours was missing one of the grommets, I dug through the entire box without any luck on finding it. Down lower you can see the bottom mounted power supply and the Scout 2’s 7 PCI slots as well as the 8th slot above the others that will let you lock your USB cords down at LAN’s or can also be a great location for fan controllers.

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The front of the Scout to is completely changed but still somehow keeps the same clean look of the original. You have the cases three 5.25 inch bays, but they blend right into the cases full mesh front keeping with the all black and all clean look. Near the bottom you do have the one Storm logo that breaks up the mesh to remind you what you are looking at though.

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Last we have the bottom of the case where you can see the two 120mm vents. The vent on the left is for the power supply intake. That specific intake comes with a removable mesh filter. The second fan mount has the mounting for another mesh filter if you need it, although the case doesn’t come with an extra filter. While we are looking at the bottom you can see the screw mounted rubber and spun aluminum feet. Being mounted by a screw is important because some cases come with small rubber feet that sometimes will come off when moving your case around. This also means that the Scout 2 will support aftermarket feet without any modifications as well if you decide to change the look in the future.

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Inside

At first glance you don’t really spot the differences between the Scout 2 and the original when you stand back and look inside. This is mostly due to the all blacked out design. If you look closely you will notice that we now only have three 5.25 inch drive bays compared to the originals five. This shows that people are moving away from disc drives and more to more hard drive storage space.

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Inside you can see the rear 120mm red LED fan on the back over the rear I/O panel. Up top there are two 120mm fan mounting locations that you can put to use to help push hot air out if you have cooling issues in the future. You can also see the CPU back plate access panel to make putting a back panel on your motherboard later on if you decide to change things up.

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I mentioned it before but the 5.25 inch drive bays went down to three from a total of five previously. I personally think this is a great thing as a lot of people don’t even run DVD drives anymore and those that do are only running one. Three is more than enough to give you room for a DVD or BluRay drive along with any fan controller or other devices that you might want to use. Just like the last time Cooler Master also included their easy to use locking system that only requires you to flip the switch from unlocked to lock to secure everything.

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Down on the bottom of the case you have more than enough room for even the largest power supplies. In fact the 1100 watt that we test with is the longest one we have in the office. Below the power supply you can see the filtered intake that I mentioned earlier. You can also see all of the cases cabling for the fans, USB 2 and 3, and front panel audio. As you can see they went completely black. This is notable because we have had a few other blacked out cases in that still end up with that bright blue USB cable. Cooler Master made a point to make sure every single cable would be hidden perfectly.

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Because of the internal changes, the Scout 2 has a whopping 7 internal hard drive mounting locations. Five of those seven are in the top section directly to the right of the PCI slots. This section is completely removable if you feel you need more room for your video cards or if you want better airflow. You also have the two permanent locations directly below to use as well. I should point out that at 11.3 inches the scout will just barely fit the GTX 690 but you would need to remove the cage for the HD 6990. Those are the two longest cards on the market right now though meaning everything else will fit without any issues at all. It should also be mentioned that not only do you get the hard drive sliders for 3.5 inch drives you also get a 2.5 inch adapter tray to fit your SSD in as well.

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Not everything important inside of a computer case goes on in the front section. It just gets all of the credit. In order to have a good looking PC it is very important that you be able to have proper wire management. As you can see they did a good job including grommeted holes to tuck the cables through, but it’s also important to have room out back to hide them. In the case of the Scout 2 Cooler Master did a great job at this. As you can see you have 7/8’s of an inch space between the motherboard tray and the bottom edge of the case. This doesn’t even count that the side panel slightly bends out, because of that I was very impressed with the room you have to work with in the back of the Scout 2.

You also have access to all of the hard drives from the back. This means you won’t have any of the SATA cables or power cables cluttering things up in the front section as well. Between all of the room, the included zip ties, and the zip tie strapping locations there isn’t any reason why you should have messy cabling this time around.

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Performance/Installation

Installing our very long 1100 Watt power supply into the Scout 2 went without any hiccups. As you can see, even with the added length of the PSU the main grommeted access hole on the bottom of the case still allows room for us to run our mess of cables into it.

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The Noctua NH-C14 we used for testing is a large heatsink in every direction making it a great pick for making sure we won’t have clearance issues with the Scout 2. As you can see we had no issues around the heatsink when it is installed, still leaving room for the top optional fans even. Of course if you are looking to go with a large heatsink there are still going to be a few clearance issues with the largest of the heatsinks. To give you an idea in Cooler Master terms. You will be able to fit their Hyper 212 Evo but their larger heatsinks like the TPC 812 and V6 GT won’t fit because they come in at 163mm (TPC) and 165mm (V6 GT) with the Scout 2 only having 162mm’s of clearance.

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Installing our hard drive in the Scout 2 couldn’t have been simpler. The hard drive sliders simple pop into the mounting points on the side of the hard drive and then the drive slides into place with a firm snap when it locks in place.

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I spoke about it in our last section, but here is the clearance we had with our GTX 580 inside of the Scout 2.

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Oddly enough after getting everything installed, there really isn’t a large difference performance wise between the newly designed Scout 2 and the original. With the Scout 2’s one 120mm fan pushing air out we saw cooling performance lower than with the original cases three included fans. Its weird that Cooler Master would drop the number of fans like this. Although the single fan was enough to cool our test rig, it didn’t show performance like you would expect for a gaming focused case.

Where there is a difference in performance is the additional locations where you can now install fans. With the new locations you now have a perfect location to be able to mount the 240mm H100 up top for example.  Because of only having a single fan, the Scout 2’s noise performance was considerably lower this time around. Adding extra fans for better cooling will put the noise back up to the expected level though.

Beyond the noise and cooling performance, the Scout 2 has the ability to be carried around when needed because of its built in handle up top. This to me was the original Scouts biggest selling point. Cooler Master kept this great feature and improved on it with a rubber grip on the handle. This made picking our rig up inside the Scout 2 easy, when paired up with something like the Dragon Bag that we previously took a look at, it makes for a perfect combination for getting your whole rig into and out of a LAN in one trip.

 


Overall/Final Verdict

When it’s all said and done and we look back at all of our testing. There was one major issue that still bothers me. The original Scout had two 140mm fans and one 120mm fan. This time around the Scout 2 only comes with a single 120mm LED fan. Sure it does cool enough to get the job done as well as slightly light up the interior with the red color. I feel like they went backwards when we are seeing two or more fans in cases that are much cheaper than the Scout 2. We did gain USB 3.0 and a new fresh styling that should help push the Scout forward for the next few years, but you are going to end up dropping in a few more fans in the future adding to the cost of the Scout 2. At just under $100 it is actually cheaper than when the original came out, but it is a little high in today’s market, especially when you consider the fans you may need. I hope Cooler Master reconsiders their decision to go with so few fans. They put together a case that has everything we loved about the original (other than its cooling), and packed it in a familiar but fresh look. As a big fan of the original I was very disappointed that they managed to get so close to hitting the mark yet still missed.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #28103 25 Sep 2012 13:22
Cooler Master introduced their redesigned Scout 2 this morning :)
Twodavez's Avatar
Twodavez replied the topic: #28104 25 Sep 2012 16:13
I love the original and if i feel the itch to upgrade in the future, this looks like a really good option for me. the HANDLE is amazing allowing me to carry my entire PC in one trip to and from LAN parties! Plus the case is small and compact and since they moved the two window fans to the bottom of the sid panel, you'll be able to use them both. Currently they are in a vertical line causing the top slot to be in direct competition for space with any standard video card.
Good review! Hope i win one at the next LAN :-P

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