|CM Storm Scout Gaming Case SGC-2000-KKN1-GP|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 09 April 2009|
Page 9 of 9
CM Storm Scout Conclusion
The keywords that CM Storm chose for the Scout Gaming case are: Swift Intelligence - Secure Mobilization. The first mobilization mission this particular Scout had to undertake was to get from China to Washington DC alone, without the protection of 27 other Scouts that usually travel together on a pallet, or the relative safety and camouflage of a discrete, brown outer box. The Scout reported for duty in a package that was a little beat up and worn. You can see some of the corners have collapsed, and a substantial crease on the rear surface.
The graphics are very striking, as you can see; it'll be hard to miss this package in the retail shops. Not every feature is called out or pictured, but the photos are large and clear, so you can see most of what you need to know by looking for yourself. All the text is multilingual, which (in my parochial American ways) I usually dismiss, but CM Storm is mounting a very strong international presence for the brand, with events in Latin America, Australia, Serbia, Peru, and Mexico, in addition to the usual European and North American venues.
The internal packaging was adequate for the normal distribution channel, but not what I would have specified for individual shipping. The Styrofoam end caps were a bit smaller than I've seen on some other cases, meaning that there was precious little space between the outer box and the product. There was no additional material used as protection for the sides, excepting the standard plastic bag. Nevertheless, there was nary a scratch on the Scout as I removed it from the packing. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, they say.
Once released from the packaging, the Scout lives up to its name, in terms of appearance. The military design theme is not some cheesy copy of past hardware; it's a modern, functional construct. It doesn't try to look good, there's no other school of design represented here except Form Follows Function. Some people use that credo as an excuse for a quick and sloppy effort, but a thorough examination of functional requirements always suggests an organic shape that looks right. I'd say, whoever designed the Scout got it right.
Once a design takes shape, it's time to flesh out the details. This is a different kind of design activity, and it's one where the pressures of cost always exert the most leverage. Not surprisingly, it's the construction of an item that most often leaves people disappointed. For the most part, the Scout survived this step; only a couple issues keep the construction details from being a total success. The quality control on the expansion card hold down tabs was out to lunch, as we saw in the interior details section. This is an easy problem for both the manufacturer and the user to fix. The second issue may not be a deal breaker for most gamers, but I was put off by the noise of the cooling fans. I know Cooler Master can produce quiet, good performing fans; the one supplied with my old Hyper 212 is an example, so I have to guess that airflow and cost won out over quietness. Fair enough. The cable management was not as well developed as the rest of the case details, but it was serviceable. End of issues, as far as I'm concerned.
I have to give the CM Storm Scout an A+ for functionality. The well designed handle on top, the convenient control panel, the cooling performance, the CPU cooler mounting access, the easily removed fascia, the StormGuardTM for securing expensive gaming peripherals, the included 2.5 drive caddy; as I said in the introduction, "It has everything needed for a gaming chassis and nothing more, ...". This is a clear benefit from Cooler Master's decision to fully engage and partner with a very specific customer base. The only thing I really wanted, that it didn't have, was full filtration on the intake fans, something you have to step up to the CM Storm Sniper to get. Some may wish to see better support for liquid cooling, but it's a reasonable bet to leave that out of a case in this price range.
Value is a bit difficult to assess, as the SGC-2000-KKN1-GP SKU is just going on sale this week, and editors don't have firm pricing information as of yet for the Scout. Industry rumors point to a price near $100, or a little less, we'll have to wait and see. With all the functionality and construction quality that I've outlined, this seems like a reasonable price. It's not going to be a massive bargain without serious rebates, but you won't go wrong buying a good quality product from an established manufacturer.
If you've read this far, you don't need me to tell you that I think this case is a winner. The CM Storm brand may be heavy on Marketing, but it's being used in the service of the customer. Their second offering, Scout: The True Gaming Case, is a solid companion to their first, the Sniper.
+ Excellent cooling performance, with optional side fan
- Tool-less expansion slot retainers slipped through QC
Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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