|CM Storm Scout 2 Gaming PC Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 02 October 2012|
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Closer Look: Interior
Once the left-hand side cover comes off, your first glimpse of the interior looks like this. The interior is all black, including the hardware and fasteners. The only thing that isn't, is the 120mm rear fan, which is a clear model, with red LED lighting in its frame. The first thing that jumps out at me is the improved cable management features that are included in the Scout 2 design. The original was not necessarily bad, but it wasn't the best. The Scout 2 includes a number of very large, grommetted cutouts in all the right places, and for once the grommets are easy to pass cables and connectors through. No more fighting to get the cable through and accidentally sliding the grommet out of its mounting hole. Also, there are tie-down loops positioned strategically across the motherboard tray; they're used for tying down cables on the back side, but you can see their positions better in this view. The standoffs for mounting the motherboard are not pre-installed, and there is a handy legend stamped into the mobo tray that tells where they need to be fitted. Cooler Master is nice enough to route all the front panel cabling through the appropriate cutouts for you in advance, and you can see that there is still room to spare in the cutouts.
Taking a look from the back side of the motherboard tray doesn't reveal a whole lot more information about the internal layout. There's about 22mm of clearance between the mobo tray and the frame, but the neat part is, there's an additional 30mm of space in the center of the side panel, so you don't have to worry about whether that fat 24-pin power supply cable is going to fit. Plus, the locations of the three cable pass-through holes means that you don't have to sun that cable across the stiffening rib at the edge of the tray. You can see some of the cable tie-down points in this view, and there's plenty of room for multiple wire ties at each location, and/or you can use some of the beefier ties if you want. The back side of the drive cage is wide open, so you have great access to the business end of the drives for installing and routing your SATA power and signal cables.
Let's look at the drive cages in a little more detail. The lower section of the 3.5" HDD cage is riveted to the chassis and is not removable. There's room for three standard HDDs in the bottom section, and you can stack two 2.5" drives into one slot with the included adapter tray. The upper section is much larger and is removable by taking out the screws that hold it to the drive cages above and below it. Once it's out of the way, there is a very large area for clearance with super long video cards, in single or multiple card arrangements. For those who are more interested in using the case for storage duty, there is a 120mm fan mount on the upper HDD cage. Hey, you need servers at a LAN party, too! The 5.25" bays at the top have tool-less mounting hardware, and you can see how the locking levers work a little better in this view.
Turning around and looking towards the rear of the case, you can see that Cooler Master chose to go with straightforward thumb screws on the expansion slot covers this time around. I wasn't a big fan of the tool-less hardware that was used on the original Scout, so I'm happy to see the tried and true hardware back in its place. The simpler retention system also makes some space available for mounting the Storm GuardTM device above the expansion slots. The seven slot covers are not perforated, which I don't mind; I'd rather work with an active exhaust scheme than worry about hot air leaking back in the case through passive ventilation holes. The clear fan really stands out against the deep black background; you can see the wiring for the LED fan lighting passing through the cutout that is designed to handle the 12V ATX CPU connection, it needs to be tidied up a bit.
The front panel comes straight off, with a bit of force the first time. Looking at it from the inside, the covers for the three ODD drive bays are easy to spot, as are the small tabs on each side to hold them in place. It's impossible to tell from this distance, but there is a thin layer of open cell foam between the small mesh steel panel on the outside, and the large mesh plastic panel on the inside. It's not easily removable, so plan on vacuuming the front panel with the foam in place. Below the ODD bays, there is a large rectangular recess for mounting two 120mm fans, which would almost certainly be set up as intakes. The 3.5" HHD cage blocks a portion of the airflow, but many users will be removing the top HDD bay in order to make room for their graphics card(s), so that won't be an issue anymore. Just in case you're wondering - no, a 120x240 radiator will not fit into this space. A 120mm square liquid cooling system might fit in the top position, but only if the drive cage was removed. Plus you would be impinging on the space allocated for the video cards, so it hardly seems practical. Somebody will probably do it though, just to try it.
There are a few more details to cover on the inside, so let's take a quick peek at some of the detailed internal features before we start our build process.