- Created on 30 May 2011
Gaming cases come in all sorts of designs, however the unifying feature of the best gaming cases is the attention to detail when it comes to ease of upgrade/rebuild (and therefore enough room inside for even the longest graphics cards), cooling and cable management. Cooler Master's gaming brand CM Storm has released a number of gaming cases recently and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the CM Storm Enforcer to review for the site.
The CM Storm Enforcer comes boxed with every screw, stand-off sockets (for motherboard installation), tracks for the installation of FDD and HDDs and cable management items (ties etc.) as well as a detailed set of installation instructions (something that many manufacturers forget).
The actual mid-tower case itself measures (W) 22.9cm x (H) 48.5cm x (L) 52.4cm and weighs 8.9kg. The main case is made out of steel with the front made from a combination of steel mesh (for better airflow) and plastic (drive door) and a matt black paint finish. The front interface is found at the top edge at the front of the case holding the power button power button, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a 3mm mic jack socket and a 3mm audio jack socket. Immediately behind this is a sloped recess which is handy for holding screws etc when working on the build, or small peripherals after!
The 5.25" drives bays are located behind a plastic drive bay door (up to 4 can be installed, one of which can be converted to house a 3.5" drive) and the lower part of the front of the case hides a 200mm fan that runs at 1000rpm (~19dBA - so around ambient noise levels). On the top of the case behind the recess is a large area of steel mesh, beneath which a 200mm fan can be installed to provide extra cooking for an air cooled system or even an internal watercooling radiator.
At the rear of the case there are three holes for watercooling tubes which have rubber grommets, below which is another area of mesh behind which is installed a 120mm exhaust fan. The aperture for the I/O shield is found to the left of the exhaust and below this are seven expansions slots and the Storm Guard (a security bracket that fits over the head of the expansion slots through which USB cables can be run and secured). As is becoming the norm, the aperture for the power supply is located at the bottom of the rear of the case.
The left panel fo the Enforcer has a clear plastic window so you can show off your tidy PC build and the right is a solid side panel. Underneath the mid-tower are four rubber feet that raise the case of the ground and allow air to flow through the PSU intake (that has a removable dust filter) and in to the installed PSU.
Component installation is nice and easy inside the case with easy access to install the stand-off sockets for motherboard installation and a decent cable management system which is hidden by the right hand panel. All drives are very quickly installed into the case with 5.25" drives installed simply by sliding the drives into place using a proprietary locking system, whereas 3.5" drives are easily clicked into place using push-fit rails. The case can accomodate up to six 3.5" drives in a dedicated drive cage (or four 3.5" and two 2.5" using the included adaptors) and has a dedicated, fixed caddy for two further 2.5" drives located between the 3.5" caddy and the PSU location. Cooling across the drives is provided by the intake mentioned earlier. In use, the lighting system for the CM Storm Enforcer is fairly reserved, with only the front intake fan sporting a red LED induced glow that really isn't too intrusive if you are worried about that sort of thing.
The overall build quality of the case is excellent, we found no sharp edges to avoid and a lot of thought had obviously been put into reducing the overall noise levels, with rubber pads put in place around the PSU to reduce vibrations and low noise intake and exhaust fans. For the price (~£70 at the time of writing) the case also compares very favourably to other high-end gaming cases that are often a good deal more expensive.