Cooler Master is surely the king of case construction, with a reputation for solid builds, good materials and outrageously well thought out designs. Previously, the company delivered the Stacker 830 unto we chassis-hungry masses, and how grateful we were.
The Stacker 830 was one of the best cases we'd ever seen. It was feature-packed and solidly built, with a power button that looked like the skull of Optimus Prime. It has since sat in our minds as the ideal case, the benchmark against which all other cases are compared and promptly dismissed as inferior.
That is, until Cooler Master announced the Stacker 832, a new and improved version of the Stacker 830.
We decided we had to examine this ourselves and quickly got hold of one so we could assess if the 830's sequel is as good as The Empire Strikes Back or as pants as any scene involving Jar-Jar Binks.
Before we start though, we felt we had to show off some more of the 830, just to remind you all how good it really was.
Recently Cooler Master has entered into a partnership with Smooth Creations, a professional and well-respected supplier of custom paint jobs, to create a selection of beautifully painted Stacker 830s dubbed CSX for those who, like me, lack a steady painting hand.
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This case is the only one currently in Europe and was recently on display at the i30 LAN event in Newbury. If you were lucky enough to attend the event, you probably couldn't have helped but see the PC. Every time we came back to have another look, there were crowds of on-lookers with their jaws on the floor.
After cleaning off four days of fingerprints Cooler Master shipped it to bit-tech HQ for studio photography and close-up analysis of that incredible paintjob.
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Beautiful, isn't it?
We love the way the paint job has kept all our favourite design features of the original, like the cool black tray where the power button and USB ports are, but has also massively redesigned the look of the case as a whole. The colour scheme is perfect and the celtic knot emblems are beautifully complex without needing to run over the whole case. The blue carbonfibre effect really has to be seen in the metal to be fully appreciated.
The quality of the finish is spectacular too and we couldn't find a single fleck or raise anywhere on the chassis.
Still, our favourite part of the design has to be the 'Cooler Master / Smooth Creations' lettering on the bottom of the door. Not only does the font look stylish and cool, but as with all good logos it doesn't distract from the case as a whole. Another company may have been tempted to use a massive or starkly contrasting font, but Smooth Creations obviously appreciates that sometimes less is more. The branding here is big enough for envious friends to notice, but not powerful enough to distract gamers mid-frag.
Now, let's get back to the Stacker 832 quickly before you run out of drool.