Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Mid-Tower Gaming Case

Author
Logan King
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
May 10, 2011
Manufacturer
Cooler Master
Product Page
Storm Enforcer
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263794
Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Mid-Tower Gaming Case
The Cooler Master Storm Enforcer is a good case at a value price with some clever innovations. While not all of the ideas work as well they should, none of the problems are cause to overlook the case. The Enforcer also has a lot of features that are usually exclusively seen in more expensive cases.

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Page 1
Introduction

It wasn't too long ago that USB 3.0 was included in cases almost as an afterthought rather than a real feature. The blame for this lies as much on motherboard manufacturers as it does with case makers, if not more so; but it is still nice to see the proliferation happen to the extent that there are workable solutions for USB 3.0.

That is a double-edged sword, though. Nowadays, USB 3.0 isn't a selling point by itself so much as a prerequisite. To stand out, case makers must continue to innovate, but without pricing themselves out of contention for the budget market.

HardwareLogic has the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer mid-tower case for review, Cooler Master's latest entry in their Storm line of gaming-oriented products. It certainly has an impressive feature set more comparable to $100+ cases than those of budget cases, but do the features bring quality to the equation?

About Cooler Master

Quote

Cooler Master was founded with the mission of providing the industry's best thermal solutions. Since its establishment a decade ago, the company has remained faithful to this mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be resolved.

In pursuing this mission, Cooler Master is absolutely committed to delivering solutions that precisely meet customer requirements for features, performance, and quality. Moreover, we strive to be a reliable long-term partner for our customers that they can truly depend on. Cooler Master aims to be the first and foremost name that comes to mind for companies around the world seeking thermal solutions, and seeks to build such a reputation through outstanding technology, sophisticated design, and superior service.

Cooler Master's current business encompasses a comprehensive lineup of thermal solutions for a full range of applications. Our products range from heat sinks and fans to component housing, chassis, and ducting for computers, industrial machinery, telecommunications equipment, and many other devices.

A critical component of Cooler Master's ability to successfully pursue its mission is an unstinting commitment to quality, as demonstrated by the ISO 9001 certification granted to its main manufacturing plant in Taiwan. We have also enforced ISO guidelines and is in the process of applying for ISO 9002 certification at its second and third plants, located in China. Cooler Master has also implemented a number of analytical and testing protocols to ensure top quality, including at subcontractors, to further ensure thorough quality control. Moreover, Cooler Master's dedication to quality extends beyond manufacturing to every aspect of its operation, including service.

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/contact.php?page_id=2
Page 2
Packaging

The case came in an imposing package quite similar in design to Cooler Master Storm products we have reviewed in the past. The familiar red and black motif can be seen on the corners of the box, with the center taken up by a picture of the case with the fan LEDs lit. To the right is a drawing of a man in armor designed similar to the design of the case itself. Pretty standard stuff, but the commitment to brand recognition is admirable nonetheless.

Packaging Front


The rear of the box continues the Cooler Master Storm design themes, with the center being dominated by the expected picture of the interior of the case. There are some zoom shots showing off specific features of the case. This includes the main party-piece, the removable, and rotatable hard drive cage.

Packaging Rear


The interior of the box is pretty straightforward.

Packaging Internals


Removing the case from the box reveals the industry-standard packaging of a plastic bag held in place by two Styrofoam inserts.

Initial Removal


Not pictured is the left and right sides of the box which were both obscured by shipping labels. They just contained more detailed specifications and another picture of the case.
Page 3
Specifications

  • Model - SGC-1000-KWN1
  • Case Type - Mid Tower
  • Side Panel - Transparent window
  • Net Weight - 8.9 kg / 19.5 lb
  • Dimension (H*W*D) - 484.0 x 229.0 x 535.5 mm (19 x 9 x 20.6 inch)
  • Cooling System
  • Front (intake): 200 x 200 x 20 mm red LED fan, 1000rpm, 19dBA
  • Rear (exhaust): 120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbofan, 1200rpm, 17dBA
  • Top (exhaust): 200 x 200 x 20 mm (optional)
  • Drive Bays
  • 5.25" Drive Bay - 4
  • 3.5" external Drive Bay - 1 convertible
  • 3.5" internal Drive Bay - 6
  • 2.5" internal Drive Bay - 2 dedicated, 2 convertible
  • Material - SECC
  • Front Bezel Material - Plastic
  • Color - Black
  • Expansion Slots - 7+1
  • Motherboards Supported - Micro ATX, ATX
  • USB 2.0 Connectors - 2
  • USB 3.0 Connectors - 2
  • Amazon Link


A couple of things that can be taken from the specs is the size of the case. While the height and depth are well within the realm of your typical mid-tower case, the case is nearly an inch wider than what you would expect from a case in this market segment. You won't confuse it with a full-tower case, but you may be surprised at how much room you have for wire management.

It also boasts an impressive number of drive bays for a mid-tower case, with 6 internal bays for 3.5" drives, and a dedicated cage for 2 internal 2.5" drives.

Marketing Summary

Quote

Continuing on with its tradition of revolutionary design and cutting edge technology, CM Storm upstages the competition with its new Enforcer chassis. The new chassis contains a wealth of features coveted by most gaming enthusiasts, including USB 3.0, SSD drive support and a removable/rotatable HDD cage to support easy installation of the highest end video cards.

CM Storm has come up with a design that not only meets the expectations of its customer base, enthusiasts and esports prodigies, but does so within a price range that all will appreciate.

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/landing/enforcer/home.php


Page 4
Package Contents

All of the parts for the case are stored inside a box placed tied to the hard drive bay.

Case Interior Packaging


When you empty the box, you are presented with your standard manual, set of screws and PC speaker, but you also have a few things unique to this case. Front and center is the 3.5" adapter for use in the optical bays. To the left of that is the security bracket for running USB cables through to protect peripherals. On the far left is the hard drive clips that hold the 3.5" drives in the drive bays.

Packaging Contents


The small brown package that looks like a roll of quarters contains the brackets for mounting 2.5" drives in the 3.5" bays.

2.5" Mounts
Page 5
Enforcer Exterior

Going to the outside, you can see the imposing dimensions cast by the case. The Enforcer manages to look a lot larger from the exterior than it actually is. It is impressive that the case it able to stand out so much without radically diverting from the typical case template.

Enforcer 3/4 View


From the front of the case you can see the front bezel and optical drive door. You can catch glimpses of the front intake fan if you look closely enough, though, it makes far more of an impression when it is on. One cool thing about the way the front is designed is that the reset button for the case is hidden behind the optical drive door, preventing accidental pressings and adding to the visual effect.

The door itself feels like a quality piece, with a heavy construction and a notable thump when closed. There is a problem with the design of it, though. The way the hinge is engineered and the physical dimensions of the door combine to make it so that you can't open it at all without at least half an inch of space, and to open it enough to use an optical drive requires a good three inches of clearance on the right side.

Enforcer Front Door Open


The view from the top is also impressive. You get a good view of the top exhaust mount, as well as the nifty recessed groove that allows the steep angle for the front panel ports.

Enforcer Top View


Moving to the left side of the case shows the large window that lets you peer into the components within. There are grooves recessed into the case in above where the hard drive bays are that gives a nice extra visual touch.

Case Right Panel


The right side is much less impressive. It is basically a flat piece of metal. We aren't expecting the same attention to detail on the right side of the case as on the left, but we would like to see something to spruce up the right side. Also, while the left side is held in place by thumbscrews, the right side is held in place by normal Phillips head screws.

Case Left Panel


Moving to the back lets you see another more into the attention to detail on the Enforcer. The expansion bays are all drilled out to allow airflow out of them when nothing is taking their space. To the right of the expansion bays you can see the plug in place of where the security device goes. Also, as is common on most gaming cases, the power supply is the bottom mounted variety to allow better airflow.

Most impressive is the water cooling plugs, however. Even in this price range it is common to see metallic plugs that you have to punch out yourself, or at best plastic grommets already in place where the water cooling holes are. The Enforcer goes above and beyond and includes the rubber grommets commonly seen in full-tower cases for the three water cooling holes along the top of the case. Certainly a great touch.

Case Rear
Page 6
Enforcer Interior

With the exterior setting a high standard of quality, how does the interior of the Enforcer stack up? For starters, the interior is painted in the same dull black metallic as the exterior, giving the case a good visual consistency.

Case Internals


The interior continues to impress when you look at the power supply area. Not only is there bottom vent covered with a fine screen for dust collection, but the mounts themselves are rubberized mounts similar in design to what is seen on older CD players. Rubberized PSU mounts is another feature that you typically only see on cases notably more expensive than this one, so the commitment to quality is exceptional.

PSU Area


Looking up to the top shows the top exhaust area and the rear exhaust fan. You can also see the large hole for the CPU cooler cut into the motherboard tray.

One of our main problems with the design of this case is related to the top exhaust. The front intake and power supply both have screens to prevent dust buildup in the computer, but the largest vent (and the one that is the most susceptible to dust buildup, no less) is the one that doesn't have one. And because the top mount can double as a liquid cooling mount, it is even larger than one would normally be. While we understand that that top exhaust fan is an optional extra for this case, there really should be a screen of some kind included to keep dust out. Especially for an upper vent, and especially for one so close to the CPU on the motherboard.

Exhaust Area


Moving back to the front of the case, you can see the removable hard drive cage, and between it and the PSU area is the mounts for the twin 2.5" drives. To have the ability to mount dual 2.5" drives is a nice feature for a case of this price, to say nothing of the ability to get two more 2.5" mounts out of the 3.5" bays.

The removable hard drive cage is one of the main features of this case, and will be touched on more later, but it should be noted that only the top 4 drive bays are in the cage. The other 2 bays of the six are permanent fixtures connected to the bottom of the case.

Hard Drive Bay Area


The final thing of note on the interior is the optical drive lockers. Every company has their own design for these, but we must say that the one Cooler Master has presented for the Enforcer is perhaps the most elegant we have seen. It is as simple to operate as flipping a light switch, and it feels like a quality piece.

Optical Drive Lockers
Page 7
Component Installation

It is the 3.5" drives where this case shows its true ingenuity, though. For starters, rather than dedicated drive caddies that the 3.5" drives sit in and slide into place on, you are given slide rails. These are basically like a hard drive caddy without the bottom part, and they actually work pretty well. The easiest way to install them is to remove the hard drive cage, which required you to remove both side panels and unscrew four screws holding the cage in place. These screws seem rather unnecessary, as the cage snaps into place by itself with the two tabs on the top and bottom, but it is nice to have to option.

Hard Drive Installation Supplies


To connect the sliding rails to a 3.5" drive, you simply snap them in place so the tabs are facing away from the SATA/IDE connectors. Keep in mind that you reverse them if you want to change the direction of the hard drive cage, with the tabs coming out on the same end as the SATA/IDE connectors. Otherwise the drives won't have the clearance for the cage to fit.

Hard Drive Clips Installed


You then simply slide the drive into the cage like a normal hard drive caddy, being mindful to have the cage the right side up when you do so. The top and bottom of the cage look interchangeable at first glance, but they really aren't. They top of the cage is clearly labeled as being such, but we would be lying if we didn't say that we screwed up the installation the first time anyways.

Hard Drive Installed in Bay


From their you simply slide the cage back in place until you hear a click. You can then screw the cage back in if you desire.

Hard Drive Bay Installed Transversely


To mount the cage in the other direction, you remove the hard drives and flip the sliding rails around, and simply slide the cage in forwards. It snaps in place the same was as it does transversely. Keep in mind that if you want to install screws in the cage from the front you will have to remove the front bezel and the front fan. The screw holes are located behind the fan.

Hard Drive Bay Installed Longitudinally
Page 8
Component Installation Cont.

Installing other components into the Enforcer is a pretty straightforward process. To install 2.5" drives in the dedicated bay, you unscrew the bay from the bottom and screw in the drives from the side. To install them into the 3.5" bay, you screw them into the included brackets, snap the sliding rails onto the brackets and slide them into place in the HDD cage. For optical drives, you remove the front bezel, remove the vented drive covers and slide the drives into place. Only when you remove the front bezel can you see the large, 200mm fan in all its glory.

Case Front Bezel Removed


There are also plenty of slots for wire management between the motherboard and the drive bays. There is also a wealth of room between the motherboard tray and the door for the case, as well as loops cut into the tray that you can zip tie wires to with the included zip ties. All told, the wire management solutions of this case are quite impressive for the cost and size.

Components Installed


Conclusion

The Cooler Master Storm Enforcer is a really nice case with really specific problems. It brings features and innovations to the market segment that simply aren't seen. But in doing so, it suffers in ways that may be insurmountable to some users. Ones that really should have been caught before it was brought to the market. It is hard to recommend a case without a screen on the top vent to people who live in dusty areas, for example. It is hard to recommend it for those who have space as a primary concern, because it requires considerably more space to be usable than the exterior dimensions suggest due to the door design. Hopefully these issues will be looked at om a future revision or a successor product, because they are really the only flaws.

That being said, the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer is still a fantastic case. It has great build quality, nifty design ideas and a feature set more common to cases in the $130 range rather than the $90 MSRP (Amazon Link) that the Enforcer carries. We at HardwareLogic can easily recommend the Enforcer as a bright spot in the market. Just make sure the problems with the case don't apply to you.

ASE Publishing would like to thank Cooler Master for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4537mpx.jpg Packaging Front images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4538ms3.jpg Packaging Rear images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4539lj5.jpg Packaging Internals images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4540l40.jpg Initial Removal images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/05/4549l4f.jpg Preview Picture images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4542ms3.jpg Case Right Panel images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4543mmd.jpg Case Left Panel images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4544max.jpg Case Rear images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4545mmd.jpg Case Interior Packaging images/siteimages/upload/2011/04/23/4546mp8.jpg Case Internals images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4550lmp.jpg Optical Drive Lockers images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4551lnp.jpg Packaging Contents images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4552lwp.jpg 2.5" Mounts images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4553laf.jpg PSU Area images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4554lup.jpg Exhaust Area images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4555lip.jpg Hard Drive Bay Area images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4556lop.jpg Case Front Bezel Removed images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4557l7f.jpg Hard Drive Installation Supplies images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4558lmf.jpg Hard Drive Clips Installed images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4559lt5.jpg Hard Drive Installed in Bay images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4560lak.jpg Hard Drive Bay Installed Transversely images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4561l10.jpg Hard Drive Bay Installed Longitudinally images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/06/4562l0a.jpg Components Installed images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/09/4566l55.jpg Enforcer Front Door Open images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/09/4564lgp.jpg Enforcer 3/4 View images/siteimages/upload/2011/05/09/4565ltk.jpg Enforcer Top View

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