It was probably inevitable that Cooler Master's gaming offshoot, CM Storm, would at some point release a product named the Trooper; it’s just too big a geek carrot to be ignored. Interestingly, the CM Storm Trooper resembles the iconically inaccurate foot soldiers of the Star Wars Empire in name alone. There’s no white plastic on show here, with the Trooper instead belonging more to the monolithic black box school of case design.
There are plenty of interesting features on the outside of the case to break up the large blank spaces, with nicely moulded extruded grilles in both of the side panels and an entirely meshed front panel, which puts us in mind of the Cooler Master Stacker cases of old. The top of the case is where you find most of the action, however, as it plays home to a veritable rash of front panel connections.
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Sitting above these connections is a central cluster of buttons which, when lit up, looks like a slightly creepy nest of eyes, giving the case an almost spider-like appearance. Thankfully the switches do serve a purpose other than just creeping out arachnophobes, as they function as a fan speed controller, fan light switch and power button. Meanwhile, sitting behind the front panel connections and buttons is a pleasingly chunky carry handle, which CM Storm rates as being able to take up to 43kg of weight; more than enough for even a water-cooled, quad-graphics-card rig, should you chose to go down such a route.
Peeling off the Trooper’s armour (ooh er!) reveals a matte black interior that’s positively brimming with natty little features. First of these, and one you’d expect on a modern £140 case to be honest, is the collection of cable routeing holes cut into the motherboard. The rubber grommets with which these are finished are satisfyingly chunky and grip the holes well, meaning they won’t fall off if you do so much as look at them, as they do on some other cases.
You’ll also find an extra unusual-looking expansion slot at the rear of the case, which CM Storm rather grandly calls its StormGuard security bracket. This neat little feature enables you to securely fasten your mouse and keyboard cable to your PC. This is obviously of little use at home, but it’ll provide simple peace of mind at a LAN event. Carrying on the LAN gaming theme is a concealed stowage box at the front of the case, which can only be accessed by popping off one of the front panels. It’s only small, but it’ll do for keeping a few valuables or some spare screws safe.
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The final feature of note is the pair of rotatable hard disk caddies at the front of the case, each of which can take four disks. Out of the box these cages are orientated perpendicular to the front of the case, and the fan on the end ensures that air is drawn in from the left, and then out the right hand side of the case. This is a good configuration for hard disk cooling, but isn’t great for actually drawing cool air into the case.
Thankfully, you can reorientate the two cages so that the fans attached to them are in a more traditional intake position. Unfortunately, the process for doing so is somewhat over-the-top; the section of the manual detailing the operation consists of 11 steps and uses 14 separate screws. It’s not particularly difficult, however, and there is some deft engineering on show, but there is a nagging feeling that there really must be a better way.
Dimensions (mm) 250 x 579 x 605mm (W x D x H)
Material Steel and plastic
Available colours Black
Front panel 3.5in HDD docking bay, Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, eSATA, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in drive bays, 8 x internal 3.5in drive bays, 3 x internal 2.5in drives.
Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX, XL-ATX
Cooling 2 x 120mm side/front mounts (fans supplied), 1 x 200mm roof mount or 2 x 120/140mm roof mounts (one 200mm fan supplied), 2 x 120mm base mount, 2 x 120mm side mount, 1 x 140mm rear mount (fan supplied)
CPU cooler clearance 186mm
Maximum graphics card length 322mm
Extras Dust filters, light controller, fan speed controller, carry handle