|CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Gaming Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 08 November 2009|
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Detailed Exterior Features
One of the more obvious features of the CM Storm Sniper is the fan controller mounted on the large control panel at the front edge of the top surface. Sporting a rather large, industrial style knob, it's not a subtle thing... In the center of the knob is a pushbutton switch that controls the lighting of all the fans. There are connectors available for five separate fans and four sets of LED lighting. The rear fan doesn't have any lights installed, but the front, side and top fans do; and they're blue BTW. The "extra" LED connection is primarily there to support the use of two 120mm LED fans on the side panel, but they could be used anywhere you need a spare 12V with low current requirements. The extra 4-pin Molex connector can be used for applications requiring more current. There is a wiring diagram in the manual that covers all this.
Rounding out the rest of the control panel are: a small, recessed RESET button, the much larger ON/OFF switch, one eSATA connector, microphone and headphone jacks, four USB jacks, and one Firewire jack. They are all labeled with large and clear legends, except for the RESET button, which has a capital "R" embossed in its tiny face.
The rear panel is wider than most and offers a separate space for locating the StormGuard TM security bracket. All the expansion card slot covers are well ventilated and are nicely finished in black, of course. The slot covers are inset a bit deeper than normal; looking at it another way, the mounting areas for the PSU and rear fan are actually pushed out further. Once we get inside, we'll see how this benefits the end user. One thing that may look strange in this picture is the plastic locking tabs for the expansion card retainers. When installing a double wide video card (or three
Swinging around to the bottom of the case, you not only see the feet, but also a hint of the extensive ventilation options available on the bottom surface. The feet, are very large and sturdy, as befits a case of this size and weight. They are mounted with a swivel connection, and have detents at 45 and 90 degrees. You might think that these would be set once and then stay that way forever, but if you travel with this case, it helps to rotate them inward for packing and transport.
While this review is based on the mesh window version, CM Storm has also released two other new versions that are a bit more specialized. The mesh window with the 200mm fan offers amazing airflow, right into the region where it's most needed on a typical gaming case; the expansion slot area of the motherboard, where the video cards are located. We all know how hot those little buggers run, and putting tons of fresh, cool air right into the fan intakes of one or more air cooled video cards is sure to help keep the frame rates up.
For some, that's not enough. For them, water cooling is the only thing that makes sense, if you're going to go for max performance. We've already seen that the CM Storm Sniper BE has provisions for two separate cooling loops, and one of them is geared towards cooling video cards. Once you've done that, you don't need all that airflow in this area of the case, and the mesh is a bit too dense to show off all your handiwork, so.....you need a side window, instead of mesh.
There also those who will want to take it even further. The fans of AMD are quite dedicated, as most underdog supporters tend to be. For them, there is a special window version that celebrates one of their fearsome mascots. Check out the appropriately themed fan LED color.
Clearly, from the exterior, this is a top-of-the-line case, with many features that will benefit anyone putting together a serious gaming system. If looks could kill...well, it is called the Sniper. Let's pull off the covers and see what the guts of this machine can show us. I'm expecting a few extra tricks inside.