We went hands on with the Cooler Master Storm Stryker, one of the case and cooling component manufacturer’s mid-upper end gaming cases last week and loved it so much that we decided to use it for our latest test rig. What was so great about it? Read on to find out.
In this so-called post PC world, we really are spoiled for choice when it comes to high-end computer cases. There are plenty of attractive, high-quality options to choose from – but nothing quite like the CM Storm Stryker. The Stryker is very similar in layout and design to the wildly popular Trooper. The most noticeable differences are color (the Stryker is white) and the inclusion of a window – which in my book is an absolute must. It is a full tower case with a handle on top that is strong enough use to carry the heavy case when it is fully loaded.
Just the Facts
Case name: CM Storm Stryker
Dimensions (W x H x D): 250.0 x 605.6 x 578.5 mm / 9.8 x 23.8 x 22.8 inch
Motherboard support: Micro ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
Drive bays: 9
Expansion ports: 9+1
IO Panel: USB 3.0 x 2 (internal), USB 2.0 x 2, Audio In and Out (supports HD Audio)
Cooling: Front: 120mm LED fan x 2, 1200 RPM, 17 dBA; Top: 200mm fan x 1, 1000 RPM, 23 dBA (converted to 120/140mm fan x 2); Rear: 140mm fan x 1, 1200 RPM, 19 dBA (converted to 120mm fan x 1); Bottom: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)
Power supply: ATX PS2
CPU cooler maximum height: 186.0 mm / 7.3 inch
VGA card maximum length: 322.0 mm / 12.7 inch
Aesthetics and Design
The first thing that hits you about the Stryker is its vague and probably not accidental resemblance to a Stormtrooper helmet – I’m not saying they copied the helmet, just that they took a little artistic inspiration. At any rate it is a good thing – it looks cold and brutally efficient. Cooler Master really went the extra mile with the paint job the paint is thick and the finish is flawless – and it is a big part of what makes the case stand out when you see it in person. It looks great and the black drive bay covers provide a striking contrast – but that is not all that they do… they also allow you to use black components, which would otherwise stand out like a sore thumb.
Inside the case you will find that everything is cleanly laid out and that there is plenty of space. This will fit the biggest video cards on the market without modification. A lot of similarly priced cases don’t allow you that luxury, which really limits storage options. I will probably never have the need for 8 x 3.5″ HDDs but I like to have the option.
The interior of the case is very intelligently laid out. There is a big hole in the motherboard tray, which makes it a breeze to mount an aftermarket cooler while the motherboard is mounted in the case. There are plenty of strategically placed grommets, both for watercooling and cable management. It gives the builder the luxury of being able to hide cables in the non-windowed side of the case and bring them through a grommet or hole that is close to the respective port – thereby keeping the build very neat and tidy. The room on the other side of the case is a little limited – I found it was a little tough to mount the power cable in this way – but that has more to do with me skimping on the power supply than Cooler Master not providing enough cable space.
There are plenty of fans – some of them more useful than others. This is, perhaps, my only qualm with the case. The fan at the top of the case is 20 centimeters. It will need to be removed if you install a radiator up the top. Once removed, you will find that it becomes useless. It doesn’t fit down the bottom or at the back. The back supports a 14-centimeter fan. If you remove the SSD cage from the bottom of the case, you can put a fan (or radiator) down in its place, but the mounting holes don’t play nicely with the 14 centimeter fan, even though there is enough room.
What should they have done? My suggestion would be for Cooler Master to have stuck two 12 centimeter fans at the top instead of the 20 and drilled out mounting holes for a 12 centimeter fan at the bottom. That would have made things really simple for closed system watercoolers – and reduced the amount of electronic waste.
There are a few cool features that made the CM Storm Stryker stand out for me.
- The stash drawer at the bottom: Personally I use it to store a USB3 external card reader. It also makes a great place to hide valuables. A few people have suggested that it would be a good place to store certain substances. Given the airflow that passes through the case, I think that doing so would probably do more harm than good – but yes, it could be used for that purpose.
- Peripheral lock: There feature allows you to keep all of your USB peripherals safe by looping their cables through the locking system. An persistent thief could unscrew the lock – but that takes time and effort and increases the risk that they will be caught.
- The cornucopia of grommets: cable management is such a breeze that even a sloppy cable organizer like myself can keep the interior looking clean.
- Great dust protection: There are plenty of easily removable filters, which should make it a lot easier to keep dust outside the computer.
- Rubber feet: This seems like a weird thing to like about the build, but I’ve scratched many an apartment’s floorboards with the hard plastic feet of lesser cases.
What I Would Change
- One uniform fan size for every fan in the case. Aside from saving on the waste, it makes ordering aftermarket fans that much easier.
- Make the top a tiny bit higher. My top mounted radiator just fit. A little extra room would have made accessing the plugs at the top of the board a lot easier. Seriously, it would only take an extra centimeter of space to make building pain-free.
- The factory-tightened thumb screws needed a screwdriver to open. I would have liked to have seen things a little bit looser. I have a fairly strong grip but they were too tight for me.
The photographs in the gallery are high resolution images which were provided by Cooler Master. To see the case in action, be sure to stay tuned for Building the UberBeast, which details the component selection and construction of our latest PC build. I would love to have shot this myself but the lighting situation in my study is less than ideal.
What Others are Saying
Guru3d: The CM Storm Trooper was an excellent combination of features, requirements, looks and offers decent value. The CM Storm Stryker continues on that trend, it’s fairly similar .. yet then so very different. if this sort of chassis is something you like, then we have absolutely nothing to say to you that should keep you away from it. I certainly adore it and as such Guru3D.com can wholeheartedly recommend it.
Tech Reaction: After looking over the Stryker, it turned out to be another great case from Cooler Master. It gave us everything we want and more.
Tech Kings: If you want a highly dependable chassis that can deal with the harshest of conditions, the CM Storm Trooper is the battle-hardened foot soldier that will get the job done. The CM Storm Stryker is that same soldier in his dress uniform – well-groomed and dignified, but still a warrior at heart.
We don’t give away many five-star ratings here on UberReview, but I have no hesitation in awarding the Cooler Master CM Stryker five stars. Theoretically, we reserve the rating for perfect products. The CM Stryker had a couple of very minor faults – but they more than made up for by the very reasonable price tag. What is more the issues only come up when building a system and will soon be forgotten once a system is actually built. All said and done, this case is about as close to perfection as one can reasonably expect.
Score: 5 out of 5.