Cooler Master is a well known and much respected company when it comes to cases, having built a reputation for delivering consistently well built and high performing chassis. Even its bargain mini-ITX case, the Elite 120 Advanced, which we saw recently, didn't sacrifice build quality in order to cut costs.
With us today is the Scout 2, which is an updated version of the Cooler Master Scout, which we looked at way back in 2009. With a few exceptions, the Scout was a very well built chassis that had its ups and downs – it was a good case for CPU cooling, but GPU cooling left a little to be desired and it had a hard time justifying its price tag. In its new form, the Scout 2 is marketed under the CM Storm brand, which specifically targets gamers.
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A gaming case wouldn't be a gaming case without some LEDs. However, the Scout 2 only features a single set of red LEDs in the rear fan, which can thankfully be turned off with a button at the front. The side panel window will let gamers and non-gamers alike show off their rig inside, but the Scout 2 does come with some genuinely useful features that explicitly target gamers who attend LAN parties.
The first of these is the excellent rubber grip handle on the case roof, which is sturdy and more than capable of bearing the weight of a fully built system. Second is the Storm Guard, a detachable blanking plate through which gamers can route the cables of their peripherals and secure them to the case, leaving them free to wander around LAN parties without fear of their favourite mouse or keyboard being pinched.
Click to enlarge - the Storm Guard (left) is a vertically mounted blanking plate and the front panel (right) has a sliding cover
The front panel connectivity should be sufficient for most users, and thankfully the USB 3 ports include internal headers, although the lack of an e-Sata port might deter some buyers. A sliding panel can be closed over the front connections when they're not in use, protecting them from grime and dirt and adding to the case's aesthetics.
As we've come to expect from Cooler Master, the build quality of the chassis is excellent. The steel is of the highest quality, and neither of the side panels flex when pressure is applied. Even the plastic polymer on the roof and front panel feels solid and not as tacky as it could be. Also, the rubberised feet hold the case in place firmly and deaden vibrations coming from inside. The only flaw in the Scout 2's outer layer is the collection of buttons used for power, reset and LED on/off duties. While many will appreciate their size for how easy it makes them to press without looking, they're quite wobbly and flimsy and the LED button quickly stopped working properly, often requiring a few pushes to register.
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In terms of cooling, there's plenty of room for expansion, which is always a good thing, but this is mainly because Cooler Master have left all but the rear 120mm fan mount empty, which didn't bode well for the Scout's cooling performance. Only having a single fan in a case that costs almost £90 is poor value for money too; the similarly priced and well built Fractal Design Define R4 comes with two fans out of the box. Two holes covered by rubber grommets on the rear enable external water-cooling setups to be used too.
Sadly, the rear and side fan mounts are not equipped with dust filters, but the thinly spaced meshing that covers most of the front panel and the roof fan mounts provides some level of protection against dust invasions. The slide out PSU dust filter is also a welcome touch, but oddly there is room for this filter to be slotted into place underneath the bottom fan mount, which begs the question why Cooler Master didn't just include two of these filters with the Scout 2.
Dimensions (mm) 230 x 518 x 513 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, polymer
Available colours Black
Front panel Power, reset, LED switch, 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 7 x internal 3.5in, 2 x internal 2.5in
Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan supplied), 2 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm front fan mounts, 2 x 120mm side fan mounts, 2 x 120mm top fan mounts, 1 x 120mm bottom fan mount (fans not supplied)
CPU cooler clearance 147mm (with side fan); 162mm (without side fan)