|CM Storm Sniper Black Edition Gaming Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 08 November 2009|
Page 5 of 8
Detailed Interior Features
One of the advantages of a case this size is the ability to be completely unconcerned with the size of your cooling components. The Cooler Master Hyper Z600 is a truly massive heatsink, built with the idea that it could be used without a fan in some applications. From the top view, it's square, instead of rectangular, like almost all other vertical heatpipe style heatsinks, so you can't just turn it 90 degrees to make it fit better. Add a pair of push-pull fans and you are almost guaranteed multiple clearance problems with most motherboard + case combinations.
The CM Storm Sniper Black Edition doesn't offer 100% flexibility with the fan position on the Z600, because the larger-than-life 200mm case fan on the top intrudes just a bit too far down into the motherboard area. Don't be too concerned, as almost every other top-performing CPU cooler will fit, and allow a push-pull fan arrangement if desired. I tested this with the Prolimatech Megahalems, and it fit fine.
On the back side of the motherboard, there was perfect clearance for an AMD-sized cooler mounting back plate. Some cases have trouble clearing the longer back plate, but CM Storm has gotten it right 100% of the time, on both the Sniper and Scout gaming chassis.
Folks who have jumped on the SSD bandwagon will be happy that CM Storm includes one set of adapter plates to mount the tiny little things in a standard 3.5" drive bay. Both 2.5" and 1.8" form factors are provided for, including separate sets of mounting screws for each. It seems daft to me, that they need different screws, but apparently they do; so kudos to CM Storm for providing them, instead of relying on the SSD manufacturer. If you're like me, you probably saved them in a safe place, and won't be able to find them when you need them.
I won't spend too much time detailing the tool-less expansion slot cover retainers, but one aspect caught my eye, especially after I had some bad luck with the version supplied on the CM Storm Scout. The Sniper has a single pivot shaft that runs through all the retainers, thereby preventing the problem on the other design, which used two molded bosses on the retainer itself as pivot points. The design on the Sniper Black Edition is carried over from the original Sniper, and is one of the very few bits of hardware that didn't get the full black-out treatment. Take a look at the retaining screw for the StormGuard TM, for example.
One of the aspects of this case I appreciated the most was its flexibility for cable management. I already mentioned the addition of a dedicated pass-through for the 12V ATX cable and connector, but that's only one of the well placed cutouts that make it incredibly easy to eliminate the tangle of wires that usually get in the way of airflow. The generous number of tie-down points in well-chosen locations also helps. What really makes it all possible, though, is the wide-body construction of the chassis and those thick bulges on the side panel. This is the only case I've ever used where I could run every single cable on the back side of the chassis and still have room left over for a ham sandwich.
There was only one part of the CM Storm Sniper Black Edition interior that let me down in any meaningful way. That was not being able to lock down both card retainers on a dual-slot video card. That's an unusual situation, as I am a born critic, and I'm always looking for ways to improve everything I look at. I'm a confirmed air cooler, and the ventilation capabilities are beyond reproach. If you want to go beyond that, there are provisions for mounting a radiator in the top of the case. Maybe if I was a water cooler guy, I'd find something to complain about, but as it stands, I'm very happy with this chassis.