The rise in popularity of "gamer" cases over the last few years has been startling, and a trip to any LAN party or sizeable gathering of PC gamers quickly demonstrates just how widespread they’ve become; line after line of similar black, LED fan sporting chassis is the sight that will meet you should you ever attend one of Multiplay’s I-series LAN events.
It’s clear why such cases are so popular though; high airflow cooling gives peace of mind to users who might not be overly confident when it comes to hardware choices. Pick up an Antec Nine Hundred Two and you’re safe in the knowledge that the stack of fans bolted to the face and sides will keep your hardware as cool as possible, even if it isn’t the quietest of enclosures.
However, it’s fair to raise some questions of complacency from the bigger manufacturers when it comes to "gamer cases", with Antec’s Nine Hundred Two more of a refresh of the classic (or ageing) Nine Hundred that corrected a few shortcomings, rather than a new product that offered anything particularly new.
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Targeting a chassis at a certain portion of users shouldn’t mean throwing other desirable factors like low noise levels, ease of use or style out of the window though, and that’s what Cooler Master is looking to capitalise on with its latest addition to the CM Storm range: the Scout. A compact full ATX chassis boasting features absent from much of its competition, can the Scout copy its Team Fortress 2 namesake and cockily bat away the competition?
Scouting it out
On the outside, the case is similarly styled to its bigger brother, the Sniper, with an all black painted steel core chassis and panelling complimented with hard plastic roof and front fascias. Just as we’ve seen from other Cooler Master cases in the past, the painted steel is of the highest quality and is both smooth to the touch and hard wearing, which makes the Scout an extremely well made and solid case.
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Inset into the right hand side panel is a sizeable Perspex window, which also plays host to two 120mm fan mounts and appropriate grills. We’ve seen time and again that side mounted fans can have the single largest impact on hardware temperatures thanks to the close proximity of a fan’s airflow, so the choice to include two fan mounts here is a good one, although disappointingly no fans for these spots are included with the case.
Other than the window though, the most distinguishable feature of the Scout is the reinforced tough plastic handle built into the case’s roof. While it might look a bit odd it’s extremely secure to use, and more than capable of supporting the weight of a fully loaded case and then some. For those who regularly relocate their PC to a LAN party for a weekend of caffeine fuelled fragging it’s a fantastic addition, or, as a student, haul their PC from house to house every few months, helping to make those long walks to and from the car with PC in hand is now a whole lot easier.