|CM Storm Scout 2 Gaming PC Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Monday, 01 October 2012|
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CM Storm Scout 2 Build Notes
The first thing I usually do is install any 5.25" drives that I plan to use. Partly because I still remember the old days when they were loaded from the inside, and you had to do it before you installed the motherboard. Since I had the front panel off anyway, it was easy to remove one of the plastic drive bay covers and slide the drive in from the front. The tool-less mounting hardware snapped right into place and this part was done quickly and easily.
Now it's time to start adding drives. I've always liked the side-loading drive bays like the ones that the Scout 2 features. There's never any interference with any other components, and especially when you want to add or swap drives, it's easy to get them in and out. Having complete access to the back end of the drives makes connecting the cables quite simple as well. I decided to try out the ability of the 2.5" drive adapter to handle two drives in one bay. I've tried various versions on this theme before, and they all haven't been as successful as you might hope. You'll notice from the photo below that the drives are mounted back-to-back, and the power and signal connecters are reversed on one of the SSDs. That's not a big deal, since whenever you stack these small drives, you have to use straight connectors anyway; 90 degree ones won't work at all, usually. There is a 1mm gap between the connector bodies after everything is plugged in, so there is no stress being put on the fragile SATA connector on the drive itself, which is something I always try to avoid. So, while I do miss the nicely finished metal adapter that came with the original Scout (it was one of my favorite solutions, from all the case manufacturers...), this one works well and allows stacked drives.
So, I went ahead and installed everything else - the HDD, the motherboard, the video card, the power supply, the cables, and a bottom-mounted 120mm fan to feed the graphics card. Everything went in smoothly, as you would expect for a mature design like this. I had complete freedom in which direction to mount the CPU cooler; there was plenty of clearance in every direction. After thinking about it, I would probably orient the CPU cooler fan east-west, instead of the way I have it installed now. If you expect to have a huge CPU load, you'll probably want to install top exhaust fans and keep the CPU HSF the way I have it in the photo. For my needs, the single 120mm rear fan is going to be enough to pull all the CPU heat out of the chassis. I didn't have any super long video cards to try out, so I left the upper HDD cage in place. Even though the card I tried first had power connections on the back end, I was able to route the PCI-E power cable through the slots in the side of the cage. You might not get so lucky, so a video card with the power connectors on the top is a safer bet. Cooler Master says that the maximum graphics card length with the HDD cage in place is 287mm (11.3"), and that will be sufficient for all but the largest cards.
I was a little suspicious that the bottom-mounted fan would be choked off by the cables exiting the power supply, but the cable management cut outs came to the rescue. The cables come out of the rear corner of the PSU and go directly to the back side of the motherboard tray, without impinging on the airflow from the bottom fan at all. Some PSUs, especially modular ones, won't have all the cables coming out of the PSU enclosure at the back like this, so YMMV.
The mass of wires that go to the 24 pin ATX power connection is one of the toughest cable harnesses to manage. Everyone seems to have a different theory on how and where to run this cable, in order to minimize its impact on airflow. My preference is to run it behind the motherboard tray, but many cases don't have enough space back there to do it gracefully. The Scout does, and the grommetted pass through was perfectly positioned to route the cable directly to the motherboard connector with very little of the cable exposed to the airflow.
I know the back side looks like a bowl of spaghetti right now, but after a few wire ties, it'll be presentable. The beauty of a case like this though is, it doesn't matter what the back side looks like, the impact on the airflow on the other side of the motherboard tray is nada. That includes the HDD and SSD cables too, since the drives are loaded sideways. The external drives up top are the only exception, but there's only one ODD loaded into most systems, and SATA cables aren't that tough to route cleanly. One thing I was very happy with is that the 12V ATX CPU power cable was able to be routed straight up to the pass through in the corner and plug right into the motherboard. On lots of builds, I have to use a 6" extender cable that can be put in very tight quarters, before any additional components are installed. The CX430 PSU that I used here doesn't have an extra long cable set, so this is all down to good cable routing, provided by the right cable management cut-outs in all the right places.
Building out the interior of the CM Storm Scout 2 was a piece of cake. Partly because it's big enough to allow some working room around all of the components, but also it's a very refined design that has had all the kinks worked out. That's the advantage of getting a second chance to re-do a design, you know all the mistakes that were made the first time.